Wednesday June 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the art class.

Spent my time in the garden today weeding around our cabbage and broccoli plants. I'm pleased to say I managed to finish that section after dinner, which then allowed me to get an organic spray on them to deal with the cabbage worms that have been chewing on the leaves.

Just in time, too, as there are heads of cabbage forming out there. Might even be a few smaller ones ready for next week's boxes.

Genevieve is scheduled to return to us tomorrow (though I haven't heard from her yet to confirm that) and I'm looking forward to having the extra help once again.


Little Joey Stevens always submitted the same thing, no matter what I assigned to the class. Though it's been nearly thirty years, I have absolutely no trouble recalling each of his pieces.

Sometimes he used construction paper, in colours ranging from white to yellow to black, other times he made use of wood or felt or velvet. There was even that one time he brought in a chunk of aluminum siding.

And while his materials differed, the content never did. No pen or paintbrush or pencil ever touched those surfaces. And when I turned it over, without fail, I would find a plain white flash card glued to the back with the title of his piece printed in careful capital letters.


The first time he pulled that trick I kindly informed him that, while it was somewhat amusing, he'd need to hand in a proper piece of art. He gave me a confused look and resubmitted the exact same thing the following day.

Time after time this happened. I will admit to losing my temper at the end. Normally I adhere to my policy of never writing on or making any sort of mark on a student's artwork. I broke that with Joey when he handed in a black piece of construction paper with that same title on the back.

I dipped a fine brush into red paint and added a simple F in the top right hand corner.

He was some kind of upset. Threw a hissy fit like you wouldn't believe. When he wouldn't quit I threatened to send him to the principal's office.

He countered that I was the one who should go see Mr. Brown for punishment, since I had ruined his artwork.

Just goes to show how little he knew. I heard the other day that piece was sold at a fancy New York gallery for twice the usual price of other pieces in his collection...


Greg said...

That's a superb story! I really liked the ending as well, I wasn't expecting that :) Really well written, with just enough foreshadowing that the reader doesn't spot what's coming. Great work :)
Clearly all that garden work is good for your creativity too!

The art class
Geraldinium Holmes looked around her and frowned. A condition of her suspended sentence was that she teach art class at a community college two evenings a week for ten weeks, and her first impression of the classroom was that it was inadequate. Where were the oxy-acetylene torches? Where were the sledgehammers? Why were all the paints watercolours? If she weren't so angry she would weep!
A bell rang in the distance somewhere, reminding her briefly of a year spent living in a yurt on a Kansas dairy-farm, and the classroom door opened. A line of people filed in, and she found herself thinking of them as cattle, possibly because of the memories of the yurt. They found a table each, docilely, and sat down without prompting. As Geraldinium opened her mouth to insincerely say hello, one of them picked up a paint-brush and tried eating it.
"...put that down," said Geraldinium automatically, and slapped him. He was portly, whiskered, grey and looked to be about 52. He also looked shocked at being slapped.
She spent the next ten minutes slapping faces, tweaking ears, and generally bringing some kind of order to the class, and at the end of it most of her pupils were silently crying and she felt she understood why the classroom seemed so understocked.
"I think we'll focus on interpretive dance," she said, dropping her class notes into the bin. "Let us go outside, visit the motorway, and be inspired."

Marc said...

Greg - thank you for the very kind words on mine :)

Some great details in your scene. Particularly liked the reference to the dairy farm. And the ending, obviously :D