Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sad News for me

I heard yesterday, that my first art professor at college, died yesterday. He was 72. They did not state the cause of death. Tomorrow there should be more information in the paper about the funeral, which I intend to go to. For he is the man who got me started in art school. Let me explain. His name was Derek Myers. I was a psych major, having previously being a political science major. I needed an easy "humanities" credit, so I opted for an Art Appreciation class - that sounded easy enough, so I signed up for that. Prof. Myers was teaching it. I figured it was going to be an easy A. After all, I could memorize who painted what picture, and what could be hard about that? I came to the first class, and was immediately intrigued by the slides that Prof. Myers showed us, pointing out techniques and why they were used, and who copied who. I was struck dumb and numb. I was totally taken in by what I was seeing. The sculptures I saw were incredible and made me want to stroke them each. The paintings made me want to get up nose-close to them, to see how they were done. Derek asked for helpers to hang the Robert Indiana show that had come to town, and I immediately volunteered (google Robert Indiana, and you'll remember what he did), and so I was the only one to help that Saturday, hanging the show. When we were done, Derek said to me - "What is your major?" And I said "Psych". He said "you need to be an Art Major". And I laughed at him and said I cannot even draw a straight line. He said "Nonsense! I can teach you how to draw!" So I thought about it a long time, and the next semester, I signed up for his drawing 101 class. And was given a supply list to purchase before the first class. It was fun to pick up the supplies (my most favorite thing to do nowadays!!!)
And I went to the first class, and he taught me how to do blind contour drawing, and I was shocked at how good it looked. And we went further and further into drawing. I got an A in the class, and signed up for his drawing 102 class, and learned more about drawing, and realized that I had my own "style" of drawing - that we each have our own styles. And then I changed my major to Art, and it was never the same after that. I took art courses from then on, having gotten the core curriculum done with. And I got straight A's in every art class I took. And Derek was my adviser, and helped me pick out which course to take next and next. Then he got promoted in the art dept. and had to pass me off to another art teacher for my adviser.
But the consequences of meeting Derek Myers is that he changed my life. My life now is surrounded by art, it is consumed by art in all its forms. It is what I think about every day of my life. My screen saver says "Create Something Daily" as a reminder to me to work in my studio. Never in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I would call myself an artist. Yet here I am - an artist. All thanks to Derek Myers. Who believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. Thank you Derek, you changed my life. You will always be remembered.


Carolyn said...

What a great story...and what a great influence he had on your life. People like that are very special. Thanks for sharing it.

Mar said...

how wonderful that you met your 1 person who cared and to help mold you into the artist you are today
always you will have him with you

and always you will remember the amazing skills and challenges he shared and gave you...

everyone has this person in their life..some are fortunate enough to realize the moment and some not

it is always sad when a special person has to leave earth
but it is always amazing how their stay gave..meaning

Sharon said...

What a wonderful story, Annie. Teachers like that are rare. I'm sorry for your loss.