A Peek At My Art4Educators Poster Collection!

I’ve squirrelled away for the first half of my summer vacation, and it has been so amazing for my spirit, my family and my art.

Have you ever been working away when it hits you? This is where I am supposed to be.

That just happened to me. I took 1 and a half days a week this summer to focus on building my business, and figuring out what that even meant. Uh – I still don’t know, but anyway. I’ve been planning for a line of art for educators (aptly called “Art4Educators”), and working on collections of surface designs that could be licensed, and profiled for companies seeking licensees. I also launched a new service to illustrate people’s kids.

I thought I might get 1 or 2 interested buyers, but within 3 days, I sold out. Sold out meaning, I had 20 clients commission illustrations – and that is more than enough to keep me drawing and painting until school starts again! I am overwhelmed with the reality of how opening up space to create has translated into more business than I’ve ever had before.

One of the new products I’ll be offering in, I hope, September, is a line of updated inspirational/motivational posters for the classroom. As a teacher, I know I’m sick and tired of walking the halls and seeing the same outdated, tired, cheesy and frankly – tacky – posters in the halls and classrooms. But there aren’t many options for good ones.

That’s why I’ve created some with quotes that are relevant to today’s learner and today’s teacher – and are simple, beautiful and classy.

It was in the moment of reviewing these this evening that I was hit with that “You’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing” moment.

And so – I’ve got to share some peeks at what I’m working on! These posters are created digitally, and are one side of my Art4Educators collection. The other side features hand-painted acrylic and mixed-media illustrations with quotes, and I am very excited to share those – when they’re ready!

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“I can’t do this!” *Mr. Patrick directs student to this poster*
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THIS is what I want my students to leave my class with – the understanding that it’s up to them, and that curiosity is the key to a life worth living.
I made this one for my family, but it will make its way into my classroom, too. This is our family’s motto, our “golden rule” – and now it’s up for us to remember every day.
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I also made this one with a turquoise brushed background, and it is, dare I say, delicious.

Process Post: Every Child Deserves A Champion

When a fellow educator asks you to make their art, it turns out that it is actually really tough. It’s one thing to think about education from an outside perspective: desks and text books and smiling teacher, oh my! But when you’re deep in the trenches and have strong (very strong … like, REALLY powerfully sometimes to a fault strong) beliefs about learning and education, it makes it more of a challenge. Add to that, I know – and admire – the client. I had my work set out for me.

After much discussion around imagery, purpose and intentionality of the piece, I set to work implementing a quote that she wanted to use, and I sketched out a few samples.

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We agreed on this image – the teacher is helping the student up, but is not entirely supporting the student. Learning is about the right supports, not entire support. The student is climbing this mountain of books – knowledge – all the while, gently and lovingly guided by the teacher. In the background is the quote, and on the books is a second quote from the same TedX Talk by Rita Pierson. Oh, how I love Rita Pierson’s being, words, and light.

Next, I set to work on the background, drew in the basic structure with chalk, and got to painting. For the faces, I blocked in the colour and set to work on shading and blending later. The text popped in quite nicely, and I was so in love with this piece by the end that I actually had a pretty tough time letting it go! However, it now lives in the Vice Principal’s office at a school in my board, and I’m so proud to be part of this new VP’s journey.

I take commissions! Check out my Facebook page for pricing, and get in touch! www.facebook.com/patrickguindonart (Pricing starts at $0.40/square inch, with uncharges for complexity or intensity needed for each individual piece! This lets me price it out for you fairly, but still adjust to your specific piece. Pre-made originals + prints are priced differently.)

EdPost: Debilitating Creativity by Offering Creativity

It’s ridiculously important to respect that the creative process, cycle and experience is different for every single person who engages in it. This includes both children and adults, both experienced and newcomers.

For myself, I can’t just DRAW you something. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of studying, exploring, and trying. I often hear at workshops, when the presenter suggests, “You can DRAW what you think!”, which is supposed to engage the creative people in the room, that it’s perfect for someone like me. In fact, I should be the person to draw and design the ideas that the group is working on! People sometimes argue over having me in their group.

And then … disappointment!

Because – I can’t draw on command.

There are major issues with assigning roles like this. I think it is time we start asking ourselves what our intentions are. If the intention is just classroom management, it’s time to dig deeper and consider why the students aren’t engaging.

I wish I could, but I can’t.

And, just like I can’t draw on command, I also can’t draw every single thing in the known universe. Kids? I’m getting there. Animals? Depends on which one. Houses? I can do them in a variety of very whimsical approaches.

There tends to be this myth tagged to creativity and creative, artistic people, and it can be debilitating. This is something we need to remember with our own children and students.

It is important to push (and be pushed) outside of comfort zones, but it is not okay – in my mind – to label someone as creative and expect them to create on command. Sometimes, it won’t come. Sometimes, it takes hours. And sometimes, it comes in a flash.

chalk-girl-1432392.jpgThis is an issue with many of … no, most of … our art classes. We give the kids 30 minutes to do a predetermined project on a Friday afternoon, we pray they will behave appropriately, and we threaten the art period. Conversely, we might offer an “open ended” project, but then add a timeline, and for some kids, this just won’t work. So they get a C, and they stop loving art, and they’ve lost one of the most powerful tools to express themselves. This isn’t really okay, is it?

I think we need to build a greater culture of respect around creativity. It isn’t some kitschy thing that we can pick up at the dollar store or on Pinterest. My artwork shouldn’t be created from a menu: you pick the style, the medium, the colours, etc. That’s not me being creative. That’s me filling an order.

The pressure to perform on command can be a terrifying, stressful, disengaging experience for students and for our own kids. We need to keep this in mind when we present them with creative opportunities.