I'm an artist who specializes in portraiture and illustration. My greatest media forte is the pencil.
Three years ago I was hired by a dad to tutor his ten year old son to draw with the pencil. It was a rather daunting task, because although the boy was obedient he was not particularly enthusiastic - he really just wanted to please his dad. I persisted, and tutored him once a week in his home for a year. In the beginning he did show improvement, but eventually became a bit passive aggressive and resisted progress. I couldn't blame him, because he was a child and didn't want the lessons. I hope, two years later, he retained some of the skills I'd struggled to teach him.
Two months ago I was referred to a local lady who was looking for a tutor to teach her to draw with the pencil. She was recovering from major heart surgery and was housebound and unable to work. She was desperately searching around for some way to occupy her time and develop a skill she'd never before had a chance to devote time to. I called her and we agreed to meet. I met her in her home and we liked each other. She hired me. I found out very quickly how committed she was to learning my craft and making it her own. She was a pleasure to teach. After a scant seven weeks of tutoring her she was not only able to use a pencil very sensitively, but was also confidently drawing facial features using me as her model. This was a huge improvement over her "fledgling" days. I had visions of teaching her to eventually - say, within a year - being adept enough to draw beautiful portraits of each of her ten children.
A few days ago I got a call from her husband that she was in the hospital facing yet more heart surgery. That sad news colored the rest of my day. Our human agendas and plans can be as flimsy as a model boat made of balsa wood and Elmer's glue in a stormy sea.