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Dearest Drawing Students,

By definition, drawing is “a form of visual art in which one uses various drawing instruments to mark paper or another two-dimensional medium. … A drawing instrument releases a small amount of material onto a surface, leaving a visible mark..”

The trouble with defining art is that art is boundaryless. 

You have proven this basic truth time and time again. Although I know the thought of  “leaving a visible mark” on your paper sends all manner of uncomfortable feelings jolting through you, by and large I see that you, Eighth graders, prefer precision. You are meticulous, thoughtful, and you, yeah you, tend to get caught up in the idea of how a drawing ought to be. 

Gone are the days of proudly displaying your artwork on the refrigerator. You prefer your artistic expression to remain yours alone. I know that I ask a lot of you. I realize you are all experiencing your own unique transformations. I certainly experienced self discovery when I was your age. That self discovery is something that never really goes away.  What you lack in artistic confidence, you make up for in raw, undefinable talent. You are immensely gifted. Week after week, I have seen tremendous improvement in your technical ability as well as your compositional understanding and artistry. You may not yet know it, but you are artists. 

I find myself in awe of your visual perspective, as well as your comedic and written expressions. So for this reason, I am taking a moment away from curriculum planning and grading to give credit where credit is due. I applaud my young budding artists, and I’ve noticed how skillfully you spread your creative seeds. The way in which you view the world around you captivates me. You may not know it, but I stare at your artwork often, amazed by your growth.  And sure, I might have taught you a few tricks, but it is you who have navigated your way in spite of  your complicated, sometimes overwhelming, yet beautiful lives. Thank you for generously allowing  me a view into that world. From palm trees, super heroes, comics, and your incredibly vulnerable self portraits, I am completely inspired by you.

Thank you for motivating me to pick up my pencil again. And believe it or not, I am practicing right alongside you. Because at the end of the day, I, like you, have doubts about my artwork. I too erase, toss, sketch, and erase again, ever doubting my abilities. But it’s important to remember that the art process is as fluid as you are. So please be kind to yourself. Art is a reflection of the self. 

Now go make your mark!

With much adoration,

Ms. Monteiro