Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine


My best teachers in drawing, watercolor, design and art history were all at Santa Monica College in the late 70s-early 80s. Each was an exceptional artist. Each was an exceptional teacher. I was so very fortunate to learn from all of them.

Jim Urmston taught two survey courses in art history. I could hardly wait for each new class. He taught in such a way that I was easily able to commit to memory each painting, artist and date in the survey class. Part of it was the technique he used for review before each exam. Whatever that was, it worked for me.

Part of it was that he taught from within each work as a living artist, not as an academic dissection. He asked us to consider what would remain for future historians if our civilization were destroyed today. He helped me grasp the ephemeral nature of painting, the unpredictability of what survives to represent an era, a culture. I felt that he truly wanted us to learn, understand and remember.

One day, at the conclusion of I have no idea what, he said
"It all boils down to love and trust." —James Urmston
That sentence has stuck with me through the decades. Probably because it's true. So, I'm passing it along to you on this made up holiday. It's better than chocolate.
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