"My Hands"
18" x 24" Colored Pencil Drawing on Canson Mi-Teines Paper
Artist - Leticia Bernabe

I am blessed to get to teach amazing people.  I love working with my students and I especially love being a part of their lives and running into them long after they graduate. The past few days I have seen and heard from a lot of former students and it always makes my day to get hugs and smiles.

One such exceptional young woman is Leticia Bernabe who was in my class for four years.  She is not only a remarkable artists but also a really kind, beautiful person.  On her last day of high school she gave me this work of art.  It means so much to me.  This piece won her Best of Show at our biggest art competition and I was thrilled she generously presented it to me.  She wouldn't let me buy it no matter how hard I tried.

This piece came from an Advanced Placement assignment requiring students to use some sort of portal in their work.  Leticia really was baffled about what to do and asked me for some clarification.  I grabbed an old frame and stuck my hands through it to explain what a portal actually is and that it is a great metaphor.  I further explained that a window or doorway in artwork can symbolize private and public thoughts, past versus future, real contrasted with imaginary and blah, blah, blah.  As soon as I stuck my hands through the frame she grabbed a classroom camera and started taking photos of my hands.

She built from those photos a piece that totally amazed me.  I love the sleeping student (she told me her brother was her model) and my hands reaching through the frame.  Wow - this is all about being an art teacher!

DISCLAIMER:  Now I have to add that I NEVER mark or paint on a student's work.  Their work has to be created by them.  From time to time I've had art teachers take away my brush or pencil and mark on my work and it totally ruined my piece for me - it became theirs - not mine.  I will use a pencil or my fingers to point out proportions or suggestions but I make it a policy to never change a student's piece. 

Leticia is going to college next fall.  This is a photo of her this past year when she was crowned Fiesta Queen at a local festival which was quite an honor.  She received a substantial. collage scholarship to go with the crown.  Such a special girl - I really adore her.  


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