What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for more than twenty years. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 February 2011 Journal Page and Getting Some Stuff off my Chest

I've experienced a lot of things in my 14 year teaching career (some bad, but mostly all good). I've learned an awful lot in that time period, too.

One of my biggest lessons is that I've learned to let go. I've learned that holding onto things that you can't control doesn't help you or those around you.

I've learned that the number one priority of a teacher is to
teach. You can't worry about what will happen to the material once you've let it out into the world. Besides, nothing is original. Really. There, I've said it! NOTHING IS ORIGINAL. It's how you present it that makes it original.

There is a huge difference between wanting to make art to sell and display and wanting to teach. If you want to make art, make art. If you don't want to worry about people "stealing" your ideas than DO NOT TEACH. You don't want to teach if this is even a glimmer of a thought in your head. You want to be a professional artist, DO THAT instead.

If you want to teach, you had better think about it pretty damn hard and long and figure out if it's really what you want to do. People pay you their hard earned money to learn
from you. You had better have your shit together before you jump into the pool. LEARN EVERYTHING that you can. LEARN THE RULES-yes, I said that, too. THERE ARE RULES with art. My attitude has always been, "Learn the rules and then learn how to break them. Once you do that, YOU CAN DO ANYTHING." That being said, if you teach you can't worry about what is done with your material. Really. Yes, it's one thing to be pissed (and I would be pissed, after all, I'm a redhead) if someone took your handouts and taught in your style and claimed it as their own. It's another thing if someone takes the ideas you show them, works at it, and pushes it to another level. Remember that Picasso quote, "Good artists copy. Great artists steal." Translate that to take the ideas and make them your own. See how far you can push it. That's what a good teacher does. A teacher teaches and lets go of the material.

Nothing is original. Nothing is unique. I don't believe in copyright (I don't believe current
copyright laws benefit everyone in the way that they were set up to. Instead they benefit a small handful of people and those people are the ones with the most amount of money and power who can change the laws to benefit themselves). All that said, I work very hard to make my classes top notch. I may not make much money at it compared to the amount of work that I do (I make at or below minimum wage every year) but I teach because I LOVE IT. I love seeing what my students do with the ideas. I love how what I share with them translates in their own mind out onto their pages of their books. I always say what I mean and mean what I say, and MY STUDENTS ARE THE BEST!

I'd add more to this, but these are my feelings in a nutshell.

Corita Kent sums it up better than I ever could


marianne said...

Well said Kelly..everything you wrote totally rings true for me..

marianne said...

PS..I thought of this after my first post..:)After over 15 years of creating original art projects that I then teach to children, teens and adults ( for a fee), I decided to take an art class. I had never done this before ( I am a self taught artist/teacher), but I felt that I needed to stretch out of my comfort zone and try something that would potentially scare and intimidate me silly in creating art. I took a class with Jesse Reno in North Hollywood and for 3 days I sat there totally immersed in his life story watching him create the most amazing paintings. After the first day it was obvious I was sooo over my head, and totally frustrated because I COULD NOT paint anything like him. At the end of the weekend I had some really pretty painted pieces of rosin paper( lol)but more importantly, I had learned to let go of my expectations and enjoy the process of trying something new and watching an artist create. And boy was he inspirational! When I got home I created a project inspired by Jesse Reno. I shared with the students his life story, how he is self taught, that he paints everything with his hands and that for him the process of painting was more important than the finished product. When I asked Jesse for his permission to teach this project that I had created he said to me "Cool..TEACH IT FORWARD"" that was 3 years ago and today over 750 adults and 15,000 students in public and private schools grades pre k to 12th, have been turned on to the art and life of Jesse Reno.
( yes, those numbers are very real) I always share with my students my personal experience, frustration, and what I learned taking that class with Jesse..and you know, after all is said and done there has not been ONE painting that even comes close to what Jesse does. And there never will be..that is Jesses gift and only he can create like that. But every one now knows who Jesse Reno is. And I know of several people that have purchased original paintings from him after taking my class and have signed up for his workshops! There was absolutely no financial windfall or gain for me with creating and teaching this project, but there was great satisfaction in knowing that I have exposed ALOT of people, in all ages, from all walks of life to an artist they probably never would have heard about..and all because this artist was secure enough in his work to say " Teach It Forward":)

Lost Aussie said...

I could not agree with you more Kelly! Bravo for your comments. I believe one's mission as a teacher is to "teach", to share and gift others with the benefit of our knowledge. There should be no caveats or restrictions and the reality is that once you put information in the public domain (in any way) it will travel without regard to "fine print".

Jean said...

It also takes courage to teach - to see yourself and your ideas reflected back to you. You put so much out to your students, Kelly, and I, for one, am grateful. You could charge me a lot more and I would pay it because your classes have been worth every penny. Thank you.

Jean (WildRumpusing)

Nicole Austin said...

well said. i couldn't agree more! it makes me sad to see other artists who feel they have been copied to post other artists' works on their blog saying, "look, this person copied me!" and then a public shame-fest ensues. i've seen it happen several times in the mixed media art world. (one was so bad, a woman was attacked on her blog and her youtube channel by the other artist's followers to the point where she took down both. she went from having an average of less than 10 hits/comments on her blog/youtube to suddenly being barraged by over 100 comments all angry and accusatory by people who didn't know her or her side of the story). i like that saying: teach it forward. love it.

Emie58 said...

Great post.
Thanks for sharing your views.

Mary Dean said...

Right on, Kelly! I totally agree with everything you've said! I've kept mum on this whole topic, but you tell it like it is! Bravo!

Sandra L. said...

Have you seen "Rip: A remix manifesto"? It's an interesting view on copyright laws.

I totally agree w/you on what you said about not worrying about students stealing from you. If I learn something at an art retreat, I expect that I can then use that same skill to create my own work. That is not stealing.

Monica said...

As a restored redhead I too blow up when mad. our attitude is refreshing and shows confidence in your work and your teaching. Your class J.O.Y. is opening up my mind and attitude and it has provided new insights into me. Thank you for expressing your thought on copyright. There is nothing more annoying than buying a pattern/stamp/stencil and finding the person has copyright assigned to it when you know that design was around for centuries. Anything worth doing involves knowing the rules. Only to often in my crazy quilting days I would here there are no rules spouted by neophytes and sales people anxious for you to buy their wares. Sewing has rules and if you made thick ugly seams no amount of embellishment covered it up. if a teacher tells you there are no rules, you are in the wrong class.

Arika said...

Kelly, I love this post, I love the list of art school rules, and most of all I love your spirit of giving. I remember reading one of your class descriptions earlier this year (I think for the 365 prompts) and it sounded SO awesome, and I was just waiting for the price to come up. I was sure it'd be way out of my range, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was MORE than affordable.

I can't say how much I appreciate your generous spirit, not only in sharing your pages, but in sharing your ideas, your thoughts on products, your book recs, all that.

And now I will label myself your #1 fan, and go buy a red wig to prove it. Okay, I'm kidding about that part. I promise. lol

Melisa said...

Students always appreciate a really good teacher and there is so much more to that than being good at whatever it is you are teaching. Some people are good teachers and some aren't. I've found that good teachers, like yourself, want to share everything they know. They want to see their students excel. They are thrilled if the student produces something even better than what they were shown. You have to have a very generous nature to be a good teacher.

Melisa said...

Students always appreciate a really good teacher and there is so much more to that than being good at whatever it is you are teaching. Some people are good teachers and some aren't. I've found that good teachers, like yourself, want to share everything they know. They want to see their students excel. They are thrilled if the student produces something even better than what they were shown. You have to have a very generous nature to be a good teacher.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kelly,
was just reading Corita's book last night....thank you for your message. I am tired of other artists with blogs that teach then post a lengthy rant after their classes about how others are 'stealing' their work. The whole 'have my cake and eat it too' is just ridiculous. I so enjoyed taking your recent class and when I showed my results to a friend I told her first that this was your 'style' of working and that I know it has helped me look at composition differently in my paintings. You taught me something new about composition that I will use to grow my work. thank you for all you share and teach to help others grow in art.Missy from the bayou

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I completely agree. You are an amazing teacher, Kelly. One of the best I have had! That includes other art teachers, my music instructors as well as academic instructors. Your gift of putting teaching first is a rare one. You have taught me that EVERYTHING IS ART - that I can create. That freedom is exhilirating!! And the things that have come from that have been amazing as well. Your encouragement, enthusiasm, creativity, insight and artistic character are contagious. It takes a great teacher to inspire their students to stive for those same ideals.

I completely agree with your comments regarding copyright. Now if we could just find a way to change that law or start a grass roots artists' movement that would overwhelm legislators.

(Hope to see you in Colorado!)

Kelly Kilmer said...

Thanks, everyone.

I didn't write this to toot my own horn but to voice my own opinions on something that I've been stewing about for some time that only seems to be getting worse lately.

I hope that this post encourages more dialogue and less finger pointing.


Tricia said...

Kelly you are an awesome teacher! In the short time ive known you you have never held back in your classes from sharing your materials, your ideas or your thoughts. You have taught me that there are NO MISTAKES ONLY POSSIBILITES! You make art fun yet continue to push us to go forward. Challenging ourselves with more possibilities, more tools to use, more color, more everythihg. Now thats a damn good teacher and one Im happy to know!

Susan Stokinger said...

Right on little sister. Do you remember the woman who looked at me in my first journal class and said, "You're doing it wrong."
I was so overjoyed with what I was doing. I had never painted and I was enthralled by the color layering and using the masks. I was then off to find paper and collage materials -- phase 2 of the terror. I walked by you and you muttered, "Don't let anyone tell you what to do." When I went back to my table the woman started again. Even though I am in my fifties, I said, "Kelly told me to do my own thing and not to listen to anybody." Hahaha, it was like I was saying, Mom said I could. I have a million books on techniques but I never got near the results I got from taking classes with you. I love my journals.

I am so happy that I was able to learn from you. You know how afraid I was to collage (and still am a bit) but I do it and love it. BECAUSE YOU TAUGHT ME TO. I am now connected to a whole new part of the universe.

xxoo Susan

Marylinn Kelly said...

It has been more than 10 years since my regular teaching of rubber stamp-related classes yet the intention is clear and strong: for me, it was and is about communicating the passion and letting students know that creating is not a mystery, a secret which only a few are allowed know. There is a generous, open-armed enthusiasm to your blog (since I have not taken one of your classes), no sense of stinginess or conditions. We teach, as Marianne says, to teach it forward. There is no line between life and art: both are about acknowledging gratitude for all we have been given and sharing those gifts in whatever ways are indicated. We have control over almost nothing, other than ourselves. You are a wonderful model of kindness as one of our highest purposes. xo

Kitten said...

I totally agree, Kelly. I gather inspiration from all around me & try to interpret what I've seen in my own artwork. At times I've had people email asking if it's ok to copy my idea...and I figure if I've put a pic out there into the blogosphere, it ceases to be mine alone & might even inspire someone else.

There really are no original ideas...just original ways of making them your own.

I don't take many classes as I'm a loner when it comes to being creative...but one day I'd love to take a class from you...you seem to be so open & sharing in your blog & I'm sure that translates into your classes.


stamping bella said...

Kelly, something must have happened to piss you off and I am so sorry for whatever happened. You have been my inspiration from the first day I ever "saw" you. Your techniques, your knowledge, your resourcefulness are dumbfounding. You are really incredible and special to me. And having actually met you in January was the highlight of my trip. I will always sign up for every class online as I think you are brilliant. Sistah, you are brilliant and I sincerely believe in KaRMa. Actually I believe in it so much, that I tattooed it on my wrist. You continue teaching with integrity. Everyone else who steals ideas without crediting the source have to deal with theirown tainted conscience. Keep going, keep your head held high. I would pay to read your current journal page..lol

Mary Dean said...

I think we need a little "badge" to wear or post that say "We make the rules and we break the rules." lol! You're an old soul, my friend. The wisdom in this post speaks volumes! :) I want to be taught or take classes from those like you, whose first commitment and priority is to being a teacher. No one has a monopoly on art!

Sandy said...

Well said. I remember starting in art journaling and not knowing a thing about how to start. I had just given up a hobby and was sad because I'd done only that for so long and it was almost like loosing a part of me to have to stop. I searched, found blogs, photos, yahoo groups and then I found your blog. I started reading and looking at all of the photos you posted everyday. I remember wondering who is this woman and where is she at? The colors are what caught my eye first. Wanting to learn how to put it all together made me wish I lived close enough to take one of your classes. When you started offering online classes I was so excited. I've learned a lot in the past few years and I'm so glad I found your blog and classes. I believe I am a red head deep down. ;)

Antares Cryptos said...

I didn't realize that this was an issue.
Fine arts has always taught by teaching the techniques or copying the old masters. How else are students supposed to learn?
Once techniques are learned students develop their own style.

Ideas cannot be copyrighted, but I do believe that artist's work should be. Current laws fail to protect individual work.

I remain confused, the movement of art journaling is mixed media in a journal as opposed to canvas. That "idea" has been there for centuries. How can something be "stolen", that has been around for years?