Sitting in her small studio illuminated by the flood of natural light, Ginny Wall, accomplished artist and McKinney Center teacher, shares her journey to art.
“His name was Mr. McGowan, he was my most special art teacher.” Said Wall as she gently wiped off the dust from the top of the blue tin box. “It was the end of the school year and all the teachers were saying goodbye to their students. Mr. McGowan walked up to me and said, “I’m really not supposed to do this, but I want you to have this. I want you to keep painting.” It was this little cheap 99 cent blue tin box of paints.” “I was so motivated and inspired by him just encouraging me. Don’t you wish you could go back and say, “you don’t know what that meant to me.’” To Wall, the simple blue tin box is a reminder of encouragement and inspiration. Wall has taken that story from her childhood and strives to inspire her students in the same way.
“There are those people, all along your whole life. Those little bright people, they might not even know they are encouraging you that much. But, as a teacher, we want to do that to our students.”
While Wall talks about her beginnings with art, she continues to watercolor a scene on the page beneath her hand. “I think it was a God-given gift. I really didn’t know that much about watercolor except I was really drawn to it and I really liked it. And of all the mediums, that was the medium that just really attracted me because it’s uhm… it’s more spontaneous. It doesn’t have to be transparent, but for the most part, it is a transparent medium. If you make a mistake you don’t get to paint over the top of it.” Wall has painted the cover of books and magazines, she was the president of the Santa Rosa Art Association and has spent over 20 years taking part in fine art shows and exhibits. But that’s not all painting is about for Wall. “It’s not so much mastering the technique, it’s more sharing and teaching that I enjoy the most. I have gotten to a level where I understand the medium so well that I can share it with other people. And then they can have their own ah-ha moments!” Wall not only helps her student’s artistic abilities grow, she also strives to be a light to them. “People go through difficult times,” Wall explains. “So, teaching is never just about teaching a subject. You’re always finding out about people and their trials. If they’re doing something that they love to do, it’s helping them somehow. While Wall begins a mixture of colors beneath her brush, she continues to talk about the depth art has in a person’s life. “You will be inspired and that will become an outlet. If you follow it, if you peruse it, it is always going to be satisfying.” One lesson Wall teaches is to embrace change because through it you can grow as an artist and a person. “One thing I wanted to say about changing is that seasons change in life, yah know?” And so, it’s a good thing to be able to just say, “I’m going with this, it’s okay” give yourself permission to change. That idea of allowing yourself to change is important. And when you feel the winds of change blowing, you wait until you know where they’re blowing. This journey of art has been a lot of changes.”