Forget the Oak Tree

 I have set the Oak tree aside this month.  Why?  Is that just a nice way of saying that I have given up?  No . . . yes . . . let me explain. . .

The Oak trees, as I have shown you are leafless this time of year and though that might seem easier, it actually presents new problems.  The amazing texture of bark and branches stands out even more and as they do I get more and more intimidated.  I quit drawing them altogether last month.  That is until last week, when I watched a pair of my students work on a rather large painting of two trees at sunset. . . . the paint strokes on the trunks of the trees were really heavy and I was thinking that it didn’t look very good, but thank goodness I was keeping my mouth shut as one of them began to crush tea leaves over the trunks and allow it to fall over the thick brown paint which grabbed it easily.  The effect, of course, was bark – dry, rough bark.

I asked her how she had thought of it and she just hummed a moment and said I thought it needed something.

Well, I thought it did too, but that’s where I stopped.  I just gave up.  She had not only not given up, but by simply reaching for a possible solution close at hand tried something that worked beautifully.  I know, because I have been watching her for months, that if that hadn’t worked, she would have painted over it and tried another effect or asked me for some advice (like I had a lot to give).  I know that because she is just that kind of industrious student, the kind that doesn’t give up.  I had.

I was a little frustrated with myself because I also know that when I run into a problem, my students usually have an answer and one that will work.  Whether that problem is how to help them understand a concept or how to create a more real experience in the classroom, they are in the trenches and see things so much more simply.   I had forgotten my first rule of teaching, when in doubt – ask the students.  And Esme reminded me.  Thanks.

Anyway – my brief respite from the Oak tree led me back to my beloved huskies and I have one to share with you tonight that I hope you will like and think you will recognize as the season moves on.

Are you getting excited?  I sure am!!!

Still on the trail with Rookie,