Letter from Estelle McIlrath

October 2002.A Journey of Self-discovery and Conquest


I am privileged to call John my “FRIEND”. John joined my Art Class, two years ago. A victim of Pd, he was very insecure about his ability to hold a drawing implement steady – his choice of medium was the pencil crayon, which was easier to hold; his format size was small, as was his lack of confidence in his ability to execute what he saw and intellectually interpreted. He was very aware of his “handicap”.

The first art class John attended, was held at the Zoo. John battled with a shaky hand, preventing him from drawing any recognizable lines on paper. He became very stressed, not only with the hand tremor, but also with the reality that animals would not stand still. Somehow, he managed to find a method of drawing the animals in a way that left the observer with no doubt about the subjects.

John is enthusiastic, has a wonderful sense of humor and is able to laugh at himself. He is also stubborn and tenacious. This book celebrates John’s journey from victim to victor! John rose to every challenge I posed, in my perceptually based art lessons. I expected him to give of his best and he excelled himself. He dismissed no problem as impossible to solve.

It has been such a pleasure watching John evolve into a confident Artist, where his ability to execute fine detail in both two and three dimensional artwork is impressive, - which is hardly surprising as the man himself is impressive, showing courage, determination and willpower, which has taken him far beyond the confines of his “handicap”.

John has not only proved to himself, but to all of us, that with motivation, dedication, belief in himself and willpower, you can conquer your fears, limitations and handicaps. I believe that the greatest gift you can give students is to show them that you believe in them. Thank you John for proving that there is no limit to your ability to succeed, when you believe in yourself! It has been a privilege, as your teacher, to share your journey of self-discovery and conquest!

                                               Estelle McIlrath – Art Teacher.