Artist Laura Fesser not only creates art but teaches art. My four children had the privilege of being in her elementary art classroom. In fact, I was thrilled because she had the uncanny ability to bring out the best in them.
Because of her, for the first time ever, my two sons wanted to sign up for art camp in the summer! For one son in particular, she provided a creative outlet that he’d struggled to find. It was a thrill to see the projects they proudly brought home, excited to show Mom and Dad.
So Laura is doubly talented. It’s one thing to create, quite another thing to inspire others to create, by giving them the tools, motivation, and confidence. No easy task! (I know; I’ve been there.)
How do you encourage creativity in your students?
Laura: I am so blessed to have the majority of my students for multiple years. I get to see what they are interested in and what they like to work with. I can give them a skill set in drawing, for example. I might ask them to mix up parts of animals and make it look like a real animal. Which animals and which parts are up to the student, but HOW they do it is letting them use and practice their skills.
If I ask for something specific, and the student has a different idea
that would change what I asked for, I will listen to their idea.
If they will learn what I’m trying to teach them with that lesson,
and not duck something they might think is “hard”,
I will let them change things up.
There is free drawing time when a lesson has finished. I let the kids draw what they want and if they want help, I’m there. I want them to stretch their wings a bit, relax, and just try.
I tell my students to remember what they learned from their “mistakes”
so they can use that “on purpose” another time.
How do you help students embrace the creative process and not just focus on the end result?
Laura: I think sometimes I give too MUCH information about WHY papers, media, lines, colors, etc. are chosen. I really want the kids to have the information so they can make the choices on their own. I let the class have a “practice/play” time, then we go to the full-on project. That adds extra days to the lesson, but sometimes I think the experiments are the most important part of the lesson.
I tell them what I want to see as a starting point and let them build on that.
That’s really to accommodate the different abilities
and ambitions in the class.
In my happy place, they all would go beyond my minimum requirements! I want them to use the process that we learned to communicate the content that I want to see. I’m even happier if they combine a previous lesson with the current one! For example, complimentary colors within a landscape, and not only paint but a resist as well.
Any additional tips for budding artists, young or old?
Laura: Follow your interests. Build your skill sets so you have a lot to choose from when tackling a new project. Try new things. Practice practice practice. Remember your “mistakes” so you can use them “on purpose.” Have fun.
Ask “What would happen if I. . . ?”
Get out of you comfort zone and stretch yourself!
Contact Laura on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lauraleefesser) or on Pinterest as Laura Lipke-Fesser.
When have you made a creative “mistake” that you were able to use “on purpose” later?
5 thoughts on “Artist/Teacher Laura Fesser, Part 2: Inspiring students”
Laura stated she has been blessed to have had the same students for multiple years. This is key, not only in generating creativity/intellect in students, but to life itself. On the microcosmic scale, it is because Laura has developed meaningful relationships with her students that this has had a positive effect on students’ creativity. Yes, it is true that she and many other teachers have helped students develop the necessary skills to create awesome pieces of art, but even above all of that superb instruction I am confident that it is the relationship she has developed with each of her students that has had the biggest impact on their lives. Personally, I have found that to be true in my 36 years as an educator! On a macro scale the same is true with our relationship with God. The more we get to know Him and develop a relationship with Him, the more we strive to be like Him, including our creativity and intellect. “By beholding we become changed” – this is true both creatively/intellectually and spiritually. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
You’re right. That relationship to the student is vital and turns the teacher from mere instructor to mentor. That mentorship can powerfully impact a life beyond just the subject matter.
Amazing the difference a teacher can make!
Knock him down, bore him? He’ll think the subject’s not for him. Inspire him with the possibilities, and he’ll love that subject forever.
Teachers like Laura Fesser open doors for kids.
Yes, the teacher makes all the difference! I never was a math person but my high school math teacher had us dropping our jaws at the amazing wonders of mathematical formulas and number patterns! I had a chemistry teacher who did the same thing.