01 02 03 Eleanor Greer: college grads and the learning process. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

college grads and the learning process.

I have been condensing the 8 boxes that I left at my parent’s home into 2 or 3. It has been slow going, as digging through memories often is, and I sat down with two journals from a trip through Baja, Mexico, CA I took my freshmen and junior year at Biola University. What I have discovered in myself these past two years after graduation is a passion for the process of learning and in that first journal, that first trip, I think I have located when I began to recognize of that development. Allow me to share a bit:

Page 1; 1-2-05: “When you wake up in the morning, you need to begin observing.” This is what I hope to gain from this adventure and this trip. I want to learn to observe. To take mental note of things, faces, places I go without really knowing it, I want it to become a natural occurance…my expectations are namely on myself. I need to learn to think as an artist.

Page 10; 1-5-05: I had slept in a cot on a patio above the shore of a huge bay ringed by the Baja peninsula and various islands. There was a large mountain range in front of me behind which the sun was rising. The clouds were all hues of red, pink, purple and light gray and the sun was not up yet. I feel I am at an awkward stage. I don’t see things as my teachers do, in colors, shapes, lights and darks, textures, etc. And no poetry springs to mind. All I feel through my senses is music when I see such things. I hear singing. I wish I saw as an artist. I am awed by the colors, I’ve never seen such color.

Page 21; 1-7-05: I was given a first chance to paint, and I simply blew it. I was unable to see the colors, nothing was looking correct…I am frustrated.
I sat down again, a different place this time, and decided to begin again. Though I did not get much accomplished due to lack of time, I actually had fun with it…It’s needed that I get out on my own and experiment, to get things wrong, but to practice all the while. J said that the point of this class, and of painting in general, is not simply to make attractive paintings but to reveal whatever it was that attracted us to paint; then we are learning to look. And looking and seeing are our goals.

Page 26; 1-9-05: I feel that my eyes are now just beginning to open, and like in Annie Dillard’s writing, I am learning to see for the first time. Granted, I still cannot see very well, but things and color and light are slowly revealing themselves to me. The process is almost painful and I have to force myself to think. My thoughts need to escape but I do not know how to put them into words.

Page 67; 1-21-05: How is it that I’ve been here but haven’t really been here? Does any of it make sense? Is it supposed to make sense? Me and my childlike mind. I long to know so much more. How do I ask? What exactly are the right and wrong questions? So I breathe deeply. Sometimes I just want to scream, am I still allowed to cry? Is there an age limit to voicing and showing frustrations? There must be. There is human weakness, emotion. And at the same time that is what makes us so good, so able.

Page 68; 1-21-05: Am I frustrated with myself? My mind, my hands…so many thoughts. Too many, where do I put them all? There’s enough room in this violet/pale blue sky I’m staring into. Perhaps I’ll throw them there.

Page 69; 1-22-05: I have been worrying far too much without even realizing it. The joy of being an art major and an artist comes from the fact that I will always be learning, I will never fully know everything. Both my professors and this trip made me say this: My mind and my hands are connected, they are one. I am going to do this, to stretch out my abilities, whatever they may be, and to widen my mind. I have a hard time including others in my art, allowing them to see, to help, but I am proud of myself when I learn something new or make something work for me that hasn’t before.

LEARNING IS DIFFICULT. It is never easy to admit that we do not know something that we dearly wish we did and to start from scratch. We produce a large number of bad results and the process is never short and sweet. But I think that the desire to learn, to try, is essential and then the courage to stick it out must be fostered, encouraged and grown both by our selves and by our teachers. So, keep chin up and get to work.
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