Are Outdoor Arts Festivals for You?

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I am re-posting a blog from the past, the season is upon us for outdoor art festivals. Had one last weekend, one coming up this- Are Outdoor Arts Festivals for You? Here is some insider information- show1 show2 show3

Did you ever visit an arts festival in the streets of a town, or stretched out over a park or field and think it might be fun to participate? The venders display booths featuring vast diversity of hand crafted wares, fine art in many styles, friendly people waiting to chat with you about their creations…music, face painting, enticing foods, performers- This artist has been showing in such festivals for many years, and I will fill you in on just what to expect if you want to give it a try for yourself.

~Equipment

Visit a show and first look at the vender displays. You will need some items appropriate to display your wares. Painters will need display racks. Jewelry, ceramic, fabric, and wood artists will need tables. Prints may need browsing bins. In fact every item you wish to sell will need an attractive way to hold it- even business cards. Most artists cover their display with a canopy; a temporary shelter from the sun and rain. This will need some weights to keep it from taking off in the wind as well! Art Display Art Display here is a link to a rack display source:

http://www.graphicdisplaysystems.com/accessories.htm

~How will payment be accepted

The easiest sales are made with cash. However, you must decide if you will accept personal checks and your criteria for them. I have never had a bad check from a customer. Credit cards and paypal are a tremendous convenience for your customers; they allow for an unplanned purchase if your customer falls in love with your work but has no cash or check. But you will need a smart phone and an account set up in order to accept such payments.

Your state may require you to take sales tax on each purchase as well, so you will need to set up an account with your state office of taxation. Most festivals want your tax ID number. Of course you will then have to file your taxes in your state’s required manner.

~Entering a show

You will need to look ahead for this. Many shows require you to apply many months in advance. The bigger the show, the further ahead is the deadline. Many shows charge less money months ahead of time; the cost goes up as the show application deadline grows nearer. The cost will be from very minimal to over $300 dollars. Or more. This depends on the size and projected crowd attending the show. Obviously the more people who attend, the better the chance you will have of making a profit. This cost covers the business end of running an arts festival- publicity, entrainment, staff, administration, etc…

~Jurying

Some of the finest arts festivals have the highest standards. You may be required to submit images of your work as well of your show display in order to be accepted. Quality shows are run well, assure a good turn out and a fine event; they wish to present fine work to their audience. Jury fees may apply for this. Many shows are not juried though, anyone will be accepted. These shows can be very good too!

~Planning

OK, you have a letter of acceptance from the festival- mark it on your calender and start to plan. How will you pack to transport your items? What kind of vehicle will you need? Where will you put the racks or tables- on the roof racks? If you have to carry your items a distance to set up, will you buy a cart to carry it? Price your items ahead of time. Clean everything. Make it handle proof- wrap your matted work in plastic. Bring water and food, you will get hungry with all the work. Plan your display to market it attractively. Will you need table clothes? A pretty flower bouquet? Even an outdoor rug to cover the ground? Some artists cover their racks with cloth, to hide the wire. Will you hang a sign with your name, craft, location on the front of your stand? Or a plastic banner? Buy some curtain hooks to hang your work on the wire racks. Buy some clips and don’t forget the weights for the wind!

~The weather

Oh my! The worst thing I have seen at a show was a high wind strike a stand head on and blow over the stand, breaking all the glass and destroying the framed artwork. Luckily no one was injured- but you do not want this to happen to you or your work. Bring weights and stakes if you will be on grass. Plan for the weather. Pray for a warm and sunny day. A surprise rain shower found me unprepared- watercolors do not fair well in the rain. Bring a lot of plastic to cover your work as you transport it to your car to go home. Bring shade and water for the possible heat, sunscreen and bug spray. Bring a jacket for the coolness. Bring tarps against the rain. Some shows are held rain or shine, and if you have laid out the cash in advance, it hurts to not attend. Plan ahead.

~Just before the show

Finish up your product preparation. Make a check list. Look at directions to the show, times of check- in, show requirements. I suggest you pack your vehicle the day before the show. You will be getting up early to arrive on time; festivals are all set to go before the crowds arrive. Arrange for pet care, if you are bringing your children with you plan on activities and their occupation during the long day. Kids do find it long!

Next to come: Festival Day and The Rewards of participating in outdoor arts festivals-

Festival Day We awaken early- 6:30 am for a local show. Get dressed in clothing suited both for function and artsy-ness- lol- grab a cooler of snacks and water and get into the car packed up to the roof. Arrive at the festival by 8;00 am check in time, wait in lines of cars of other artists to get to our assigned space, usually 10 x 10 feet. Unpack the entire car and take it off to park while the other starts to set up. Up with the canopy, up with the racks, unload and hang the paintings. Arrange the matted work in the bins, hang all the signs, set up box tables with browsing bins and card rack. Tidy the stand, set up two chairs and say – ahh- We meet and greet the artist neighbors we have, fuel up with a snack, then greet the people who arrive to look at the work. And greet and chat and talk about art and answer questions for hours. We take turns leaving our stand, strolling the festival grounds to chat with artist friends, find lunch, look at art and take photos. If there are many people the day flies by! If there are few people the day draaaggggs. By 5 or 6 pm we are allowed to take down our stands,wait in lines to get our cars to our spots, re pack and go home. It’s funny, setting up takes over an hour; tearing down only half the time. If sales and contacts have been good, we arrive home tired and happy. If not so good we arrive home just plain tired.

The Rewards of participating in outdoor arts festivals-

So why would you even think of participating in an outdoor festival of the arts? It is fun! When the weather is good there is nothing quite like it; you get caught up in the carnival atmosphere, with the colors, sights, music and crowds. There is so much to see, and so many people looking at your creations, exciting stuff! ~selling your art At a good festival day you can make many art sales. This is something that most artists need to keep them going! ~talking to customers There is direct contact between you and the people who want to purchase your work. They may have questions about a piece, want to hear the origin of your creation, discuss other work of yours, get to know what makes you as an artist tick. I think most artists enjoy talking about their work, the very nature of creating is an exciting process, and fun to share! Even if your customers do not wish to make a purchase, many are fascinated by what you do; students of art want to learn from you, children love art, and some will make a future purchase.

~fellow exhibitors

Some of the nicest people participate in these shows. They are so helpful and encouraging to each other, it is heart warming. Artists mostly support other artists just about everywhere and outdoor festival are no exception. They will lend a screw driver, help put up a tent, tend your stand when you must take a break, and admire your work. Sometimes they buy work from each other too! Galleries and other venues regularly attend art shows to seek artists for their events as well. The rewards of outdoor art festivals are many; excitement, customer contact, artistic support, great conversation and ultimately the sales. Direct sales at shows and connections for the future keep you in art supplies, pay the bills and keep your creative dreams alive.

My painting here is titled Art Faire Questions and comments are welcome! Have a fine day~

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Art Show, Dragon Man and Karma

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drago-3-fbFlying Dragon

It was a fine festival weekend, a local Renaissance faire, and I set up my stand in the “castle” barn.

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At shows and festivals it is always a great idea to befriend your vendor neighbors; encouraging and helping each other out is so beneficial and making new friends is a bonus. So my fellow vendor author Patricia Hughes and her friend Roxanne listened as a man in a friendly group entered my stand. He was an enthusiastic guy, told me how much he loved dragons, and even showed me the site on his arm of a future dragon tattoo. The happy guy made a big effort to tell me how much he loved my dragon paintings and that he planned to return after touring the faire to make a purchase. Yay, thought I! I love dragons too, which is why I paint them!

My neighbors heard the entire exchange, and we all hoped the “Dragon Man” , our assigned nickname, would return to my stand later.

The faire went on, recorder music playing, knights and ladies strolling, entertainments ensuing, and later the Pyrate sword vendors next to us set out to have their big event- a prize drawing and auction. The rowdy group began with an ARRR! then drew tickets, made pirate quips and put on a crowd drawing show. It was fun to watch, till my friendly neighbors Pat and Roxanne noticed “Dragon Man” in the crowd there. They gave me a detailed report as “Dragon Man” proceeded to pull out a roll of cash and buy a sword, two swords, …eventually Seven Swords! We feared “Dragon Man” had spent all of his discretionary funds, confirmed when Roxanne saw him leaving the faire. The Pyrate auction went on.

Oh well, ya win some, ya lose some.

I busied myself with something else when Roxanne yelled- Pat, that’s your ticket! I threw down what I was doing and hustled over to the rowdy front- yes, they’d pulled my ticket for the drawing!

There the head pirate was waving a large sword about and he peered at me and told me to say ARRR! So I Arrred. Again, he yelled- So I ARRRRRRED! He handed me a very large, heavy carbon steel and brass and leather handled sword, and I turned to leave with a stunned Thank you!

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Now, I wish “Dragon Man” had made a dragon painting purchase instead of spending all his money on swords, but it seemed the fates had decided to give me a reward for that loss, a beautiful sword- LOL!

Karma.

 

 

 

 

For my Canadian Geese Friends

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Who would have thought I would ever write a blog about Canadian Geese? (you may call them Canada Geese more properly, but I’ll stick with what I know)

This is about mourning for a friend.

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We moved to our dream home a year ago; a small house on a beautiful big lot bisected by a creek. The house needed much repair,but the setting is a dream. Along with our new home came a plethora of wildlife to watch, interact with and learn about. Two Canadian geese were among them.

The first spring we watched them nest, hatch and fiercely protect a passel of fluffy yellow little goslings. We were enchanted. We watched their devotion to each other and were reminded that these birds mate for life. So this spring I watched with anticipation as they returned- announcing their return with loud trumpeting.

The couple looked about the place, reminding themselves of where things were, and then began to build a nest in the middle of the stream on a small island. Oh no! That island flooded out totally during heavy rainfall. I walked down the hill to speak to them about it. Mrs and Mr Goose, this is not the place to build! Please chose another spot, on the bank, ok? They ignored me. I hoped for the best. The next day, April 1st, the Mrs laid her eggs and the vigil began. Geese eggs take about 25- 30 days to hatch. That night it snowed.

DSCN9282  The pair sat through snow and rain, high winds, switching off and taking turns to eat and sleep; they slept in the middle of the stream on one leg. Some goose was always keeping those eggs warm. This has been a very cool spring. I found their devotion to be endearing.

Then the weather really threatened. Heavy rains were predicted for the 15th of April. I worried so about them, and woke early to check. Sure enough, torrential rains had fallen all night, and the stream was flooding. At 6 am the island was only barely above flood waters and rising.

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And there sat Mrs Goose, holding on for as long as she could to her spot on the nest…until she could not. The next time I looked the island and nest were submerged. She and her mate stood on the edge of the flood and watched, and waited.

At 11 am and three and a half inches later the rains slowed to a drizzle and the floods began to recede. The gooses moved a bit closer. At time Mr Goose would raise his big wings and flap, honking loudly all the goose curses he knew at the flood waters, at the fates. They were obviously so upset.

30727688_10210574330905241_64236523016421376_n  They waited and watched again.

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The island slowly emerged and Mrs Goose went right to work. She began to dig with her beak. The big bird covered every inch of the island as it emerged, over and over, digging holes. Then she swam about the island submerging her head to look into the rushing waters.

DSCN9476  The geese searched for hours. To no avail. Their eggs had been swept away. Next the Mrs dug a shallow hole and laid down in it, with nothing in it. She arranged her feathers just as she had on her real nest. Mr Goose walked around and looked upset. Occasionally one or the other would honk loudly, in pain and frustration I think. This must be how geese mourn.

DSCN9479  Eventually they both left. They returned many times and dug and dove some more. As they frantically searched their island their pain traveled up the hillside to me. Geese flying overhead honked down in sympathy. It was a dreadful day for them. Me too. About 7:00 pm tonight they finally left again.

So I am writing this for them, my unlikely friends, in sorrow for their loss. Though they are only birds, they suffered today, and I am sorry my friends.

Peace to all.

 

Is My Painting Done? Some Ways to help You Decide.

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Splendid Peacock

I so enjoy painting this beautiful bird in watercolor! This is the fourth one I have created over the past 25 years, and I have reached the point with him, as I often do, of asking

Is It Done?

As you work on a new painting, you become very enmeshed with it, intertwined with its creation, its subject, the process…you can lose almost all objectivity. You can take it to the pinnacle of perfection only to look at it the next painting session and say NOT THERE. And worse yet, you can add a bit more, a little bit here and there and Ugh! It is overdone!!!!! In watercolor this is a special danger, as all water colorists know.

Through research, talking with other artists, and my own ideas, here are some ways you can access if your painting is indeed done.

  1. Take the painting way across the room, walk away, turn around, wait a few minutes and then turn and look at it. You may see it with a different eye, see perfection or see a glaring area of need.
  2. Turn the painting upside down and then repeat the above process. This can help with compositional flaws, dark/light balance problems, color needs.
  3. Take the painting into the bathroom or any area with a decent sized mirror and hold it up to the mirror. You will see it reflected backwards, and be able to look at it with a new objectivity. This can really help.
  4. Put the work across the room, walk away and block out the left side with your hand. Analyze what you see there. Bland? Too busy? Not enough dark, light, detail, etc…? Then do it to the right side. This can help too.
  5. Use your camera to take a pic, then adjust it to a black and white image. b-and-w-fbDoing this can really help you with color values; you can see where it pops, see where it is boring, see how the dynamics match what you want for your work.
  6. Ask a friend or family member for an opinion of your work. This is really helpful at first, people who care for you will offer their genuine ideas about your painting. Unfortunately after the first 50 times you ask them, it gets old, they get less objective too, this is your thing, ultimately, not theirs.
  7. Set up an alliance with a fellow artist. This is a biggie. You critique for them, they critique for you. Invaluable! Of course you will differ. Of course you may not agree all the time. But a person who knows artistic principles and what you are trying to accomplish and convey with your work can be exceedingly helpful. Be a good art friend to have one.

So there you have it, my best ideas to help you help yourself. I have been through 1 – 5 already, time to bounce this one off of my friends and my artist buddy.

Hope my blog writing helps you!

 

 

 

 

I Know I Can Fly

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I know I can fly,

just sometimes when the wind tugs hard

and I stretch out my arms so tight-

On the beach on a sidewalk hill in a field,

when the elation pulls harder

than the law of gravity and the beauty of what I see

makes my soul lighter than air

I know I can fly.

I have looked down on treetops in my dreams.

I have felt the terror of my breath torn from my body by the wind soaring so fast.

So I know

I can fly.

Lifetime

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Time goes by I blink my eye,
my baby girl is thirty-five.
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Time goes by so much to be done,
my baby boy is thirty-one.
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The years go by they run they race,
etch themselves upon my face,
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You dance, you run, you jump you hop;
there is no way to make them stop.
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I make a vow to find a way
to make a mark upon each day,
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then lose the vow as things arise,
complications, lost sunrise.
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If I could make the time to see,
the world I live in all round me-
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even hold a butterfly,
raise my hand and see her fly-
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There must be a path, a better way,
appreciate every passing day.
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~
Time goes by so much to do,
I blink my eye he’s thirty-two.
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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day! Some truthful quotes- to me as a mother-

“When your mother asks, “Do you want a piece of advice?” it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”― Erma Bombeck

“Think for a minute, darling: in fairy tales it’s always the children who have the fine adventures. The mothers have to stay at home and wait for the children to fly in the window.”
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
David C. Gross, Dictionary of 1000 Jewish Proverbs

“There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.”
Stephen King
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Becoming a mother changes exactly everything. Being a mother means you become the world for a little one, even as you lose your own world. It is…

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The Old Bridge

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The stream meandered through woods and fields, came to a place with gently sloping hills and lush growing greens. Life was abundant there, and was drawn to the place. Animals played, had their young, and birds nested in the tree limbs and hollows.

Storms brought flooding brown waters and dropped their silt on the bottom as the ages passed; the silt layers deepened and became shale layered with the many colors of the storms.

People came and found the place good; food was plentiful and the hills rose above the waters when they rose in flood, fish idled in them when they gently flowed. Transient camps with quickly erected shelters were perched on the hillside, fires glowed at night. Children and hunters, women gathering food crossed the place on the rocks above the waters.

The place by the stream took in the life, the energy, the light of the sun and the rage of the rain, and slowly became imbued with power.

Years passed and war came to the people who had settled there and to a nearby village where hats were made and sold to provide a living for the villagers. A huge conflict between two nations had risen in the affairs of man, and soldiers marched by with their weapons, camped by the stream to rest at night and on their way to battles. The village was the unhappy host of a grand conflict, and lives were lost, perhaps the stream took their blood into its flow.

The war  ended, the victors had their own rule and time passed on. New families came and built homes by the stream. A small house was completed atop the hill, and others joined it. The people of the small community sought the place to build a bridge to join the sides together so that they could pass over the waters on their daily pursuits.

They found the place where the stream gave a rare charge; the energy of the years had concentrated there and it felt special. The bridge was built, fine and sturdy and many passed over it in its time.

When the rain times came and the waters rose, they gathered on the bridge, umbrellas in hand, to see the rise of the waters, feel the energy of the floods charge through. Laughter and excitement from witnessing the drama of nature rang through the roar of the waters. Those who built too near the stream found the waters inside their home; the bridge was strong though and withstood the flood times.

Time passed, new families came, some houses were taken down and bigger ones on divided land were built. And the bridge was taken down. The new people did not know  of the energy, the special history of the place, nor did they cross the waters on their daily paths. The waters were now crossed by car on the service bridge of the road.

But the bridge has its memories, its own power that it has gathered, and it stays by the stream and dreams in sun, shadow and falling rain.

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I am a wheel ; are you one too?

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I am a wheel; I like to make things turn.I spin ideas. I love to affect change and movement. Set ideas and actions into motion, spin life forward and dream backward through time.

I can be  the horse who pulls the cart; I will work hard and persist with all my strength to move the cart forward. If needed I will bear the weight of many and much upon my back. This is the way that I am built, the way that I am.

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I am the cart. I will load up the carrying place, help you load up your things you need to journey with, and ask for help to load up mine. But I will carry my needs and yours whether you help on not. And I must move them all forward to be right for myself.

I am the harness- but may be an uncomfortable one at that! I tug  hard, can bind too tightly, and sometimes , most unfortunately, jab those I try to hold together. But I am a tenacious one; will hold on, as hard as I can, to unite together what I am able to unite. To to move the whole rig forward, horse, wheels and all toward better places.To the places where I see dreams coming to fruition, and adventures waiting, dreams to be realized.

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I am a wheel. I keep turning and turning.

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Thoughts on Art, a Sketchbook for my BFF

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blg6My friend, you have said you would like to study drawing and art when you retire.

How wonderful for you!

Art is a a living, loving, evolving  auto biography. What you draw reflects your life, your loves, your irritations and your very unique perspective of life.

Art releases your deepest feelings, expresses and helps resolve your problems, reveals your dreams.

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It creates a statement, saying I am here- I was here- I imagine this and I see this sight just this way.

Just as a writer overflows with words, a composer fills with song, and a dancer moves to express, an artist creates and shows and meanders through her medium to the rhythm of her soul.

I encourage you to daydream and doodle with a pencil in your hand. Practice and seek and learn to show what you alone want to show. Draw and draw and sketch as much as you can, and when you hit a wall in your need to express, do research from teachers and from all the beautiful creations you can find to see.

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Develop an aspiration and practice toward it.

Challenge yourself to try new things.

Add some colors, a marker pen, a watercolor brush to your expressions.

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Surely you will find some things you enjoy in art that you will feel good about, and are good at.

And know that you have a lifetime of free lessons and information from me, your twin sister from different mothers, waiting for you to utilize when you wish.

Take your sketchbook camping, take it to work. Leave it by the phone call center, take it to a place where you have to wait.And draw, draw, draw-

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Once you have taken off, the more you will seek this fine form of self expression; may it lead you to a journey of enhanced self discovery, and personal celebration of your beautiful self!

How to Encourage a Teen aged Artist

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I heard a tale from a 16 year old art student recently, and it disturbed me. He said he’d brought an artwork of his to class to show his art teacher at school. The teacher gave him very little reaction; nothing negative nor positive. Just the barest acknowledgement that he’d shown her his work.

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I asked how this made him feel, and he said ,causally, not so great.

What he did not say- it hurt him badly. He had created a work that he was proud enough to expose himself to an adult opinion. This made him extremely vulnerable; a turtle out of his shell. The teacher’s lack of response was like a harsh wakening. It said you are not a good artist. You stink. And many other things the teen made up to himself.

This is not what you want to do when a child shows you his creations. Absolutely wrong.

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This age of a person generally holds a secret self, one guarded carefully to not appear unacceptable and “normal” to others his age. Talents and intelligence are sometimes covered up just so as not to stand out. But the secret self dreams of being successful and fitting into an adult world someday because of those talents and dreams.

Teachers, parents, trusted adult friends all have a duty, an obligation to support those dreams. To uphold the hidden secret talents and support the talents as they emerge. If the adult is too busy at that moment, he should say so to the teen. And to state that he is very interested, could he see later? After class or other time? And follow through.

If the trusted adult is indifferent to the very vulnerable teen, it can have devastating consequences to the child. A more confident child can fall back on his own core; while the most fragile can just give up on a dream as a result.

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But what if the presented work of the teen, is apparently of poor quality? Find something in it good. A thought, a line, a color combination. An original aspect, an interesting point- find it and tell the teen.Then give him some ideas to improve the work. And thank him for showing you.

I believe this is a more general position as well. A talented dancer, an invention presented with some thought and planning, a technical skill or handcrafted item, a story or poem; all deserve the attention of the trusted adult they are divulged to.

Across the ages as well- a young adult or an older one learning a new skill both deserve attention for their aspirations when presented to an instructor. Opening yourself up to scrutiny for an other is always a difficult position to place yourself in, and consideration is a kindness that is much needed.

 

Putting yourself in the position of a teacher or mentor brings this responsibility. And that is that.