The 3rd sad story always follows the first two after a short pause and a moment to think.
I usually put a plastic bag from under the table. Students can't really see what is inside, but it is sort of a big bag so they know it is part of the last story.
When I was in 7th grade, not much older than you are now, I painted my first ever acrylic painting on a canvas. I will show it to you in a minute.
I had spent weeks perfecting the painting. Really, a lot of time went into it as I learned to use and mix the paint for the first time.
When I finally finished, I told my art teacher, "This is so terrible. I hate this painting." Partially because I was just sick of looking at it. Partially because I knew it wasn't a great painting. My students say that sort of thing all the time about their artwork, so I know why they say that....but it always makes me sad.
My art teacher was wise, he said, "Well, you don't have to hang it on your wall right away if you are tired of looking at it, you've spent the last few weeks staring at it, you are probably just bored with it. But it is a good painting. Take it home, put it in a portfolio or slide it behind a dresser so it doesn't get bent or crushed. Someday, you will be glad you saved this painting. It is special because it is the first thing you've made, and if you continue painting, someday you will be glad you kept it as it will show you how much you've grown."
So over the years, I transferred the old painting, and a couple of other things we made that year from portfolio to portfolio. As I continued making artwork through high school and college, I realized my old teacher was right. I did get better. I even won a couple of awards.
My best stuff I had had framed. I had all the good stuff from high school in expensive frames, it hung at my mom's house.
But then, the Joplin tornado destroyed my mom's house. All of the REALLY good stuff was gone. It was either ruined because of the wind and rain, or blown away.
"And now," I say, unwrapping the plastic from the old canvas, "All I have to show is this old painting. The one I hated when I was in 7th grade, now I love. It reminds me that my artwork is important and I am so glad I've saved it all these years because it is all I really have."
The painting is of a spider. One of those black and yellow garden spiders, with a big web over a dark green and blue background.
When the kids see the painting, they know that I once started out like them. I made childlike artwork too.
Hearing the 3 stories is a reminder that they should save a few keepsakes from childhood because it just might be special or meaningful someday to someone.
This is my 'slice of life' blog.
My Art Teacher Blog:
This Little Class of Mine