When I was in high school I had the good fortune to take classes from a truly gifted art teacher, Dale Drever. He was one of those teachers who could really whip up enthusiasm for the subject he taught, probably because of his own level of engagement with art and ideas, not to mention the quirky sense of humour that he brought to it as well. He introduced us to all the stuff you normally get in the first couple of years of art school: gesture drawing, colour, composition, and art historical movements like impressionism, cubism, and surrealism. In my Edmonton high school in the 70s this was pretty heady stuff; you really had the sense that your mental universe had expanded by several increments after reading that Time/Life book on Dada. A group of us took to hanging out in the Art classroom at lunchtime and actually working on our projects, not just goofing off. This was my first and best experience of working independently yet collectively, as we bounced ideas off each other and worked out our own approaches to shared themes.
Sadly, not that long ago I discovered that Dale Drever passed away in 2010 at the age of 67. I don’t have a lot of regrets, but one of them is that I never looked him up while he was still alive. I’ve had a lot of art teachers over the years, a number of whom were excellent. He was the best, and I would have liked to tell him so.