Only 8 years old and quite shy, I was intimidated around these older, more accomplished art students. While embracing my intimidation, I was struck by the realization that there was a beautiful nude female model in the room, and that she would be the subject of our efforts for my first day...
Being the only child in class seemed a source of amusement for many of the other students, and I found myself trying to execute a rendering of the aforementioned nude woman with strangers looking over my shoulder to see what the 'kid' could do. After a while, our model took a short break and came over to see what the commotion was all about. Leaning in to look closer at my sketch, she turned fully frontal to me and said ‘nice work kid’. Not knowing where to address my eyes, I just kept my head down and continued drawing.
This awkward moment left me in what I can only describe as a Heightened State of Awareness.
Break Time! Not knowing what to do with a 15 minute break, but grateful for having one, I followed a couple students down the hall into an empty classroom where they had been apparently studying the art of Vincent Van Gogh. Prints of his work were hanging on all the walls, and in my new Heightened State of Awareness, I found myself being drawn to the emotive colors and lively brush strokes of imagery and expression I’d never seen before.
A Heightened State of Awareness contributed to my receptivity then and I’m sure informs much of my best work today. I am eternally grateful that Vincent was at the school on that day as well as our nude model, whoever she was.
-- Michael H Mckee