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Artist Thoughts & Musings on the Art of Being Artistic

An Art Teacher’s Thoughts

by Esther M. Tubbs, TaWS

© Copyright 2014




Teaching drawing and painting is one of the favorite things I have loved to do. There is something that happens when I see a student get that “Oh, that’s it! I’ve got it!” look on their face and then see them begin to create a successful drawing or painting project as they apply what they have learned.  Can any art teacher see that result in their students? The answer is a enthusiastic, yes!” So thought I would share some guidelines I have used with you that I have learned through the years. They may be points that you have utilized in your own teaching or maybe you will see some ideas you can develop that will help you move forward in some new ways.


How much of this information that I have gathered should I share with my students? That is a valid question. All of us have been so excited about our subject that we end up of giving so much that the students either tune us out or get confused. I had to learn to be careful to keep in the parameters of what I was to teach and exclude things that are not a part of the subject matter for that day. Making another list of what you want to share for another time will help you focus in on what you are to teach now plus give you a resource of ideas for future classes.


Here is where formulating a teaching plan comes in. My goal is to keep my outlines simple, precise and to the point.  I always list a purpose and goal for each class, outline the material pertinent to the subject I am to teach, list the teaching demonstrations plus the student hands-on projects that will put what is learned into “real time” for them. A list of handouts given in each class is also listed. I have often found as I get up to teach and stay in the outline and notes of my assigned instruction, that the Lord begins to highlight what He wants me to emphasize and I go ahead and bring that forth.  Doing that as a Christian takes faith and growing in the teaching anointing for me.  Often I have taught the same series of classes to another group but different things are brought forth so that those who listen receive new insights. Other times the class as a whole does not move as fast as I had intended. So there is room for flexibility in that I have to go back and adjust my teaching plans for the next class to include review as well as to go ahead introduce the next project without crowding things for them. A challenge? Yes, but it can be done.


It is not wrong to keep track of time as we teach. Usually art classes are 1 ½ hours long so it is very important to both the teacher and the students to keep all instruction and demos, plus the student projects within that time frame. When we follow the above instructions we will not bring confusion but clarity, which will result in a positive student response to the learning process


Last, but not least, there is the all-important issue of interaction between the teacher and student(s). An enthusiastic, caring instructor will strongly impact and connect with those they are teaching. One of the things I do at the beginning of each class series is what I call my “sermonette” that always gives rise to chuckles from the students. I simply tell them that I did not want to hear: “I am not good at this, or so-and-so is better than me, etc. ‘ad nauseum’ “ I add that being negative shuts down their creativity and I do care for them therefore I will kindly remind them by speaking life to them when I hear those negative remarks. Saw changes in students who quit their negativity and saw their work begin to improve. I spend lots of time walking around the student tables speaking positive things in their work that I see and then offering corrections along with the encouragement that they are doing well.


Finally, in order to see their students move forward, it is imperative for an art instructor to realize that it is truly not all about them, showcasing their work or expertise but it is all about building the creative wonder of the visual arts into the lives of those we teach so they can multiply and grow in their craft. In this way I take my responsibility as a teacher from the Lord seriously and the results are freedom, and joy as I saw students discover and develop their creative talents that will, in turn, bless and give beauty to all those around them. Those who love teaching love to build what we have learned in our students and that fulfills the mandate to pass on to others what we have so it can be multiplied in future generations.

Artistic Giftings And How Those Giftings Are Related 

by Esther M. Tubbs, TaWS

© Copyright 2014


It was exciting to discover that gifting in the arts is placed in each of us like bunches of grapes are found in clusters.  This “grape cluster” of the arts include drama, dance including choreography, expressive worship/sign, and mime (which incorporates drama and dance movement), music (playing instruments, singing,) writing (literary arts, writing music) and the visual arts (painting in all media, sculpture, photography, fiber arts – banners and flags- and fine art crafts).  Film and video production fall into the visual arts as well.


I have observed that one or two of the grape cluster of art gifting is dominant in an individual. But the other arts are resident in them in various degrees as well.  For instance one of the visual art expressions may be the strongest with drama a close second. In me painting (visual arts) is strongest with both my singing (music) and writing as close seconds.


How does one know which of these art expressions are dominant in them?  Being drawn to a portion of that “art cluster” as a child is a strong indication. Even as a child I loved to draw so much that my mother became concerned about me. After starting out as a science major, I realized I was out of place and quit school.  Years later I took voice lessons, took writing courses and pursued the visual arts that I loved.  For over three decades I have the joy of working and teaching in the art field. It is sad that many never fulfill their destiny because they are hiding their rich talents in the arts due to the fact that they are afraid they are “not good enough.”  So it is important to ask the Lord to reveal to you who He is and who you are in Him.  Ask Him to show your main gifting to you and then pursue it.


It is also very important to explore the other art disciplines in order to broaden your main gifting.  In the early 90’s I began to step out in a whole new area as I auditioned and got a singing part in the street scene in Oliver.  From the first time I saw Sound of Music I had a dream of singing “Climb Every Mountain.”  When I heard the auditions in our area were scheduled for parts in the stage play, I knew that I was to try out for that very part.  To my surprise the director casted me as the mother superior in that production  – a person that had never done serious drama or sang a major part in a musical before.  It stretched my voice training to the max!   But that experience resulted in a major down load in the dominant talents of the visual arts, music and writing as well as in my teaching gifting.  Later I was casted as the mean old aunt in a production of Little Women.


To move in your art gifting it is essential that you take classes and workshops in order to increase in your technical skill in your main talent area as well as expose yourself to the other various art giftings.  In that way the richness of the other parts of the “art cluster” in you will flow into your strongest talent that the Lord has placed in you. The fulfillment of moving in your gifting cluster will give joy and blessing that will please the One who loves you so much.  You will experience a creative multiplication of the talents within you as the Lord opens your inner being and pours those giftings through you to many others.


The world is crying out for the true beauty that can only be expressed through the arts.  Spirit-filled artisans are again being called to “build the tabernacle” through their creativity.


Personalize these scriptures in your prayer time:


Exodus 31:2-6:  See, I have called you by name...and I have filled you with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge and in all craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work…and all manner of workmanship to design artistic works …that you may make all that I have commanded you..  35:30-35: …and He has filled you with the Spirit of God…and He has put in your heart the ability to teach… Substitute your main art gifting in the “design artistic works” in terms of drama, dance, music, visual arts or writing.

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