“It is only when we face experience as it comes and do not avoid disturbance that we keep intelligence highly awakened; and intelligence highly awakened is intuition, which is the only true guide in life.”
–Education and the Significance of Life, J. Krishnamurti
- Art lessons for fearful Beginners Ongoing Lessons for fearful beginners in drawing, painting, sketch journaling and visual storytelling.
- Sketch-Journaling A fun and technique-supported exploration of the world within us and around us. Taught as a daily practice or as an enhancement to a vacation experience. This course is specifically targeted for those who are fearful of creating anything “artistic”. The course is a vehicle to help an individual connect to their own deep experience.
- Picture Book Course A year long, hands-on in depth course on the “how-to” of children’s picture book making.
- Tools for Illustrators Ongoing courses for beginning illustrators
- Individual consultations For those who have a project they are struggling to complete, in need of critique and specific direction.
- Presentations to all ages on a range of subjects involving the creative process and the bookmaking process. Informative, theatrical, stimulating school appearances to Kindergarten through college.
Have an interest in any of the above classes? Contact me!
The significance of teaching
Teaching is another way for me to communicate gratitude and respect for life; the life of my student and my own. There is nothing quite as exhilarating as seeing the “light bulb” go on in the eyes of a learner, whether that person is a curious child, a cautious teen, a determined adult or an experienced teacher. Nothing as exhilarating except, perhaps, as what I learn when my students ask questions from their own deep intelligence. No matter what their age, they always bring me the gift of a question I don’t know the answer to, an insight I never saw previously, an experience that heals. Together we carefully, persistently, intuitively, uncover answers and find new questions.
My expertise is in visual storytelling and specifically, in the melding of word and picture together in a sequential pattern. Twenty-eight years of picture book making give me a keen sense of pacing and visual literacy. Communicating the pleasure and power of the creative process whether through teaching, school and library presentations, or conference engagements lets me extend the life of my books and projects and encourage others.
A bit about my teaching philosophy
As a picture book maker, I have a responsibility to ensure books–the kind you hold in your hand and turn the paper pages with leisure, or study in detail, or pass down to an emergent reader as a treasure–don’t disappear from our lives. The trend toward changing “hard copy” school libraries to a digital format is a dangerous and devastating precedent. With literacy comes freedom. If our access to literature is limited, manipulated or controlled in any way, particularly in a way we are unable to detect, our ability to critically think is unsupported and hampered.
There will always be tactile learners who need to physically experience the weight of a book, the smell of the paper, the turning of pages while under the cozy arm of a caring adult. Those same learners that later on, need to sharpen the pencil, scribble a first thought, wad up the paper and begin again, pull the old paper out of the trash and reconsider. Whole body action as a tool for learning is not just about a physical experience of a physical world. It is also about our sense of ourselves in relationship to that world. A completely digitized experience of teaching and learning leaves us void of something deeply human. As educators we are called to doggedly hold, and teach, the ability for people to create things with their hands. As artists it is our calling to nurture and protect this part of our human spirit.
“Susan consistently conveys a genuine concern and understanding of the academic journey of her students. Creating a classroom climate that fosters risk taking and open discussion is essential to building a community of learners. Her ability to do this creates a supportive climate in her classrooms which helps students realize their educational potential and assists them in understanding the value of being a life-long learner.” T. Wanic, retired Special Needs Teacher