from a dad's view

Going Old School

Back to the basics, and back to one of the first things my high school art teacher would teach us… sketch and sketch quickly.  Well, after thirty years or so, and very little contact, my once art teacher and now friend visited me to get help on printing a book that he had written, following the trails and history of a tomahawk, now owned by a museum, but once owned by his Native American family.  Hopefully soon, this story of his families tomahawk will soon be printed in a wonderful embossed and foiled hardback book, with his own written words, with sketches and drawing from himself, family and possibly by me.  As soon as the book is in production, it is my hope that I can offer a few to the readers, that visit my blog.

Actually, this post is to tell you a little about Mr. Morrison, that I now call by his first name and friend.  Even though I have seen him just a few times in the last 30 years, his teachings and guidance has given me the wonderful career that have today.  Mr. Morrison has told me several times that he isn’t a very good artist, and I would beg to differ, but I think we would both agree that he was an excellent teacher.  A matter of fact, after 30 years of being in the graphics field, an art director and one that have seen other teachings, I would say that he was the best art teacher that I’ve known.  I have seen so many college students come from Purdue, I.U., and so many other large universities with bachelors degrees in art or design, come out with less knowledge and how to use their creativity, than I did in his high school grads.  With very little funding from the school, with very little respect from administrators and teachers (because he was an art teacher), he seemed to get the most out of some of us, that other teachers couldn’t.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this until after I had graduated, but soon into the first and only semester of college that I had attended, I was soon to understand how lucky I was to have him as my teacher.  Some will be giving  me a hard time for writing this, saying even after 30 years, that I’m still brown nosing, but I didn’t give him the respect then, and so I have no problem giving him and others the respect they deserve, now.  The only thing that I feel cheated on, is that his last few graduating classes before retiring , had received 30 more years of his experience as not just a teacher, but a student himself.  Mr. Morrison was always learning and growing from his students, and using that tool to teach others in his future classes.  He taught me to paint, air brush, watercolor, pen and ink, the wonders of Frank Frazetta and other artist, pottery, three-dimensional and of course, to sketch and sketch quickly.

If you have or had a teacher or mentor that has guided you, take this post as an opportunity to honor them or show respect to their teachings, by listing how they effected your life or just mentioning their names in your comment. They may not know that you did so, but it will give you a good feeling knowing that you did.

12 responses

  1. Rick

    Lil Bro,
    I totally agree on your ‘blog honor’ to Mr. Morrison. I too was a part of his class for 4 years of my high school, and learned so much. He had a way to teach students that I admired. Mr. Morrison would give direction with a stern and dedicated look, and would expect the same from his students. At the same time, he would allow the students to find there inner creative talent without interruption.
    I can recall how through him I found a talent for acrylics. My Senior year he gave me the freedom to focus totally on painting – and you would even find me during my free time at school in the art room painting. Because of Mr. Morrison, I begin making ‘extra cash’ by painting ‘album covers’ for other students.
    Thank you Mr. Morrison, and thank you lil bro for giving us the opportunity to reflect on those who have made an impact on our life path.

    July 15, 2010 at 5:14 am

    • I remember those, everything from Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my nightmare, Elton John and every KISS album made, watching you and Emmons (a friend of my brothers) paint was also a huge inspiration for me to pick up the brush and begin to paint. Thanks for your inspiration also Bro!

      July 15, 2010 at 5:52 am

  2. I like the drawing, above of the tree sheltering the house. Wonderful that you honor Mr. Morrison. My teacher was a lady by the name of Carol Bradley. She taught me to “SEE”. It was more than just a drawing class. She never put her pencil to my paper, choosing instead to inspire my crooked lines and mold me into someone who was not afraid to put nuances of self on paper. I owe her for giving me the tools I needed to remain inspired for a lifetime and the initial praise that gave me confidence to keep trying.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:52 am

  3. Growing Up in a Town called Richmond Hill I went to a high school that offered commercial art fine art architectural drafting and photography. It was the best four years for my burgeoning artistic abilities.
    Thanks for the memories.

    July 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

  4. Love everything B&W you do!

    July 16, 2010 at 5:29 am

  5. Another beautiful drawing Ryan. And what a wonderful post to honor your high school art teacher.

    July 17, 2010 at 6:47 am

  6. Wonderful drawing! It is inspiring that you honored Mr Morrison. I really did not have a teacher that inspired me but my mother did. She was full of curiosity and courage until the day she died. Thank you for reminding me to acknowledge those that have had such a positive influence on my live.

    July 18, 2010 at 4:20 am

  7. Tasneem R

    I still remember my piano teacher at school .She’s no more but I still remember the way she used to teach us singing 🙂 Her name was Mrs D’suza .
    How were you described in high school?

    July 19, 2010 at 4:17 am

  8. Francis

    Wonderful drawing Ryan, I like the composition of the tree in front of the’s like shilding the house from any harm. Yup your story also reminds me of my art teacher..actually he’s my uncle. Inspired all of us to push ourself creatively..all direction. Funny thing is i did not take up art eventually but still keep as my biggest interest till today.

    July 19, 2010 at 6:44 am

  9. Your drawing is beautiful, Ryan!

    Your tribute to Mr. Morrison is great! I moved so much when I was young that I don’t remember many of my teachers. Now, so many public schools are having to drop their art programs. I find that very sad. I am proud that our local arts council tries to take up the slack a little with free art programs throughout the year.

    July 19, 2010 at 7:20 am

  10. Hi, I have been searching for a simple, peaceful sketch of a barn to use on my homemade product labels (I have a farm. My barn isn’t pretty.) and I ran across your sketch here. I would love to use it but only with your permission. I don’t agree with “stealing” images. I wish I could offer you oodles of money in exchange but if I had oodles of money I wouldn’t be trying to sell my homemade items lol. Please do not hesitate to say no if you are at all uncomfortable with It 🙂

    August 11, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    • Oodles of MONEY!! I love oodles of money!! or a jar of homemade anything would work fine. LOL
      Feel free to use this drawing for your items and I appreciate you asking other than just using it without permission. Just remember when you become rich and famous… or just rich, the smalltowndad is still broke! Best of luck!

      August 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

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