The Picture Behind the Picture



Urkunde für Fantasie/Certificate for Fantasy


You might have wondered why my drawing for the joined blog post “Fantasy” (The Strix) that I´ve just reblogged, shows the word “Fantasy” in its not so different German spelling “Fantasie”.

That´s because there´s a picture behind the picture. 😉

When I was in school – which is a terrifyingly long time ago now – we students were asked to come up with different kinds of certificates for a project. Most students chose the classic topics like sports, good grades, etc.

But I always thought that fantasy should be rewarded and so I designed this certificate for it.

When my friend Patty asked me if I would like to contribute more regularly to The Strix for the next months, she emphasized that it would be possible for me to use older drawings or paintings as well, as long as they fit the theme.

As it happens, I came across my old art projects for school a couple of days before she asked me, and I  immediately thought: “That´s it!” when she told that this topic´s theme would be “Fantasy”.

So that´s why, it is “Fantasie” instead of “Fantasy”. 😉



Side note: My art teacher gave me a “B” for my effort. Somehow that still makes me sad ´cause I rather liked it as it was so different from everyone else´s…



47 thoughts on “The Picture Behind the Picture

  1. This emblem is perfect in color, shape, design and content! Sarah, there are several here who would agree, me included: You deserve an “A!” I especially liked how you captured Fantasie in several genres. Exceptional and beautiful, Sarah! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww – thank you so much, Ann!! 🙂
      To be honest, I don´t really no either but I think there´s more to a piece of art than the way it has been executed. There´s the child´s imagination and joy that should also be reflected in the grade I think which can only happen if the teacher pays attention instead of just reading his newspapers…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. well truly an A plus on my scale.
    the way you used the four corners, the organic center shape – holding the fantasie – and the beautiful yellow peach against the black – and you left the stars not too glowing – which has a nice feel and allows other elements to pop.

    sometimes i think art teachers are tough graders for the wrong reasons – and even with using a rubric – they sometimes miss the point….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww – thank you so much, dear Yvette, for your wonderful comment and uplifting words!! 🙂 Wish I had you as my art teacher!! 😀
      There are not many teachers around I believe who encourage children as much as they deserve to be encouraged but who rather have a look at the grades the student gets in other subjects and simply copy them… But then I think it isn´t easy to not get disillusioned in this job over time, especially when it is all more or less about the money and finances in schools than anything else…
      I don´t want to even start imagining how many kids have been discouraged by listless teachers, it makes my heart weep for all the talents that lay hidden under many layers of disappointment in this world…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe you are so correct about the encouragement being lacking.
        I also see that many teachers – across the subjects – do not know what to do with strong leaders – they demand conformity at any cost – and sometimes behavior problems come from wounds – or from being mismanaged as a needy kid.

        the topic of teaching art might be different here in the States than where you are….
        but in most public schools here teachers “manage” and “organize” more than they actually teach. So this is one of the reasons I stayed teaching at private schools – and then did my own weekly workshops for two years – I was able to approach art in a fun way with small classes and longer sessions. However, it would not be realistic to expect public schools to do this.

        and I had a friend who taught art – to more than a thousand kids each week. another friend of ours – taught at three different schools and wheeled in a cart to give short lessons.
        those short lessons were potent and many students did a “make and take” project –
        and so there are many ways art can be taught.
        how many kids do you teach?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it´s just the same principle here in Germany, teachers are more or less managing and organizing than in fact teaching, or inspiring.
        I can imagine that the situation will be different at private schools.
        In my pottery class there are 12 kids. That might not sound many but imagine them throwing clay all over the place and trying to “kill” themselves with instruments lying around – than it is quite a lot! 😉 But I’m very luck indeed: my kids are all so nice this year and really are interested in the material. Quite ambitious too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh that is great – and a dozen kids doing clay – whew – I bet it does keep you on your toes.
        and what a gift to teach this subject….

        oh and glad they are interested. when the kids soak up the lessons it makes teaching so much better.

        I went from teaching science classes (for about eight years) to teaching art (for about either as well) – and the subjects had different perks – but my students always seemed more interested in the art – whether it was art history – bios- painting – etc. and it makes such a difference.
        do you teach any other classes besides ceramics?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s funny, I always enjoyed sciences as well! Even considered studying it for a while…
        No, I only teach ceramics since unfortunately I don’t have an educational degree, merely a master in art history and archeology. Wish I could do though but the German system is very rigid when it comes to rules…

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh I am so sorry – but sometimes these limits end up keeping us right where we need to be – I seriously believe this. so keep that in mind with “circumstances” they can be the better path than what we might have picked.

        and for me, I was premed in 1993-1994- and did well – but left (escaped) because I started teaching bio labs for my professor and feel in love with teaching….
        I then altered my career to stay home w kids – but usually worked and found ways to make the most of “circumstances” 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your uplifting comment, Yvette! I do try to see things exactly like you’ve described. As John Lennon so cleverly put it: life’s what happens while you’re busy making other plans. 😉 Wish you a very lovely week dear! xxxxxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a brilliant idea Sarah. I’ve always thought we reward such a narrow range of skills/behaviours in schools and ignore so much. Fantasy is what kids do! And usually so much better than adults. I’m going to tell my niece about this. She is a teacher, and seems to have a very open mind to new ideas that will engage her class. xxxxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your wonderful comment, Su! 😄
      I totally agree, school systems can be very narrow minded that way, at least mine was. Picasso once said something in the line of this: “all children are artists – the problem is how to remain one once you grow up.” I have often witnessed how unable teachers could destroy a child’s fantasy with their thoughtless comments and snide remarks. They stopped the seed of wild imagination before it could grow into something even more beautiful. I’m happy you want to talk about it with your niece and that she seems to be one of those rare teachers that actually encourage their students. xxxxxxxx

      Liked by 2 people

      • I love that Picasso quote; it is so true. All teachers (and parents) should be forced to recite it first thing in the morning every day! My boy-child loved to draw and make things when he was little. His Montessori preschool was very encouraging and we always had space and time for him to make art at home, but when he went to mainstream school, he began to doubt himself and stop creating. He only really started again when his photography teacher at high school encouraged him. My niece loves art and puts lots of energy into doing fun stuff with her class because she enjoys it too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I´ve heard many good things about the Montessori schools and this only confirms it. And I´m so glad that he found his inner creative child again!! A “hip hip hurray!”
        for that teacher! I went through nearly the same process: always enjoyed making art, but was never really encouraged by teachers. Then at university I had no time or convinced myself that I had none and that it was “childish” anyway as none of my friends had any interest in that. But after I graduated I suddenly felt that I really had to get back to it, and that´s what I did and I´m so happy I did! 🙂
        In my pottery work shop there´s also a picture of Picasso surrounded by his pottery and it always reminds me of his beautiful sayings. The kids live it too, because they thought that he “only” painted, and are amazed to find out, that they´re doing the same as he did. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Montessori was the best thing — educationally — we ever did for the kid. The philosophy is based on observations that children learn at their own pace, but following general patterns. The role of the teacher is to recognise when each child is ready, and make it possible for them to learn by providing the right materials. They allow children to “play” with whatever they want to, for as long as they want to; understanding that once a child has mastered a particular set of skills, they will move on. When the boy-child first started going to Montessori, he was obsessed with building a wooden roman arch they had. Each day, he would go in and work on the arch until he had completed it. After that, he never looked at it again. Does that sound like any mainstream school you went to? It certainly isn’t how my education went. As I get older, I feel really strongly that creativity is what defines us, and that the best thing we can give our children is a belief in the power of their own creative talents. I love that the kids are recognising that they are doing what Picasso did. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • To be honest: that sounds like the perfect school to me!! I really wish I could have had a similar education! It kind of sounds like a fairy-tale. My school education was definitely nothing like that, very traditional, very formal – very boring 😉 Love the idea of letting children chose for themselves how long they want to work/play with any material. Ahh, the possibilities! In my pottery class are two very talented boys but they have difficulties with staying focused after an hour, so I always let them do whatever they like instead of forcing them to work further on the project at hand (forming big vases by hand and not at the potter´s wheel). That guarantees they continue having fun and don´t accidentally destroy their efforts. So far it worked just wonderful!
        And I wholeheartedly agree with you on creativity being the thing that defines us! In my case it seemed to have slumbered a while only to break forth with much more vigor than I would have ever expected 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess the fact that we survived school and have gone on to lead creative lives suggests that kids are very resiliant. But I totally agree with you that mainstream school can be incredibly boring and not meet the needs of many kids. I just wonder how much more awesome we’d all be if we hadn’t wasted years sitting at desks doing the same boring things over and over. I love that you can cater to the boys’ different attention spans. There is lots of evidence that children — and boys particularly — need to move around and do different things over a time period and that’s how they stay engaged. You are a natural teacher! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Su! I actually enjoy teaching ver much, which is why it makes me so sad that I haven´t become a “real” teacher 😦 Here in Germany it is impossible to change positions like that. My master in art history doesn´t make me fit to teach one or the other (art or history)- I did some research last year about it. With our new university system it isn´t even possible for me anymore to study a second time to become a teacher. That was quite a blow for me… Though I´m quite sure I might be better in either subject than current teachers teaching at some schools. Ah, well, one of the big mistakes I made in my life…
        But I enjoy my little course and the kids, and secretly hope that it might become more one day… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Sarah, that’s terrible. I can’t believe that the system would be so rigid! A German friend here did tell me that the university system has changed and she was a little worried about it. Her son wanted to go to Germany to study but she was worried their lack of understanding of the system would mean he might do a degree that could turn out to put him in similar situation to yours.

        I feel so sad for you — and for all the children I know would really love to have you as their teacher!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it is unbelievably rigid. It wasn’t like that when I started at university otherwise I might have had considered making a different degree. The sad thing is, if I had just stopped my studies and not graduated I could now be studying to become a teacher without any problem whatsoever! But me being me I thought it would be better to finish my studies first and change direction afterwards… Well, it can´t be changed anymore and though it makes me sad I´ve come to terms with it.
        But please, tell your friend that her son really, really has to be sure of what he wants to become if he still considers studying here!! Actually, I wouldn’t recommend it all, better to go to England or the like…Aren´t there good universities in NZ too? I´m sure there must be! Or Australia at least?

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is so sad. I think it is terrible to force people into pathways and block their ability to change them. Especially when it comes to teaching. The best teachers I ever had came to the job late from other careers and had broad experience of life. We have pretty good universities in NZ and he is studying here. I think the attraction of Germany was that the family is German and the son has lived overseas since he was 3 weeks old. He wanted to go to his birthplace — and be able to live away from home. I guess he can revisit studying overseas if he decides to do post-grad stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have a feeling that it´s not the same say in America or even England. Do you know if I´m right about that? Not that I could afford to immigrate at the moment, and even if I could especially these two countries seem to be more than just a bit rejecting to that idea anyway…


      • I’m not sure how teacher recruitment/training work anywhere but NZ. In our system, primary school teachers generally only have a Bachelor of Education degree or another Bachelors degree and a Diploma of Teaching. Secondary school teachers have to have at least a Bachelors degree in something besides teaching and either a diploma or degree in teaching as well. People tend to teach in the specialist areas of their other degree, but I don’t think it is rigid. You are right about migration to the UK and the US though — not exactly welcoming at the moment!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. B always stood for Brilliant in my book, Sarah so I think the same principle applies for you 🙂 (not that I reached such dizzy heights too often, obviously)

    Liked by 1 person

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