Creativity and Teaching

ink drawing of old fisherman I decided to be a teacher the same day I decided to be an artist. These two vocations have always been inextricable for me.

    I was 16 years old when after seven years of practicing the drawing of faces, I could suddenly draw whatever I looked at. It was Christmas day. My mother had given me a pad of good paper, a bottle of india ink and a pen holder with points. I cut two small photographs of Nova Scotia fishermen out of a magazine and began to copy them with pen and ink.

They turned out great!

Almost immediately I decided that I would be an artist and that I would also teach at the college level. The latter decision was certainly influenced by the pressure I felt to be able to earn a living and "be a good provider." But I had always loved teaching: "Pointing out to others the world as I saw it." Defined that way, teaching and art are very much alike.

As I look back on my 40 years of teaching and art making, it is very apparent to me that no matter what the specific content was of whatever I happened to be teaching at the time, and no matter the level of experience or age of my students, the true substance of what I have always taught is creativity.

    To be creative is to be in touch with the ineffable, perhaps the divine. I am never so at peace with myself and with being alive as when I am being creative. The life force that informs all things is the essence of creativity. To be truly creative, is to be aligned with and at peace with that force that is the very core of our being, our very nature.