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Juanita Bellavance, Variation 1, From Variations on a theme portfolio, Acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches


Beginning this journey of Variations on a Theme I’m thinking of the years when I taught elementary school music.  I used programs to motivate students to enjoy the repetition required for excellence.  They would be so excited about the coming program their focus and diligence were exceptional.   As for me, I was constantly trying to keep that spirit alive through varying lessons and programs such that the repetition was part of the joy.

Having varied programs and lessons was, even more, to keep my own spirit alive.  If I stayed highly enthusiastic, the children did as well.  The question I asked myself each year  was, “What am I going to do to match what I did last year without being too predictable?”  By the time I left teaching I had increased the number of programs, I did each year.  They also became much more involved with movement and staging.  

Creating the “Variations on a Theme” portfolio reminds me of that question, “What am I going to do to match each variation without being overly repetitious?”   I was so happy with this first painting it was hard to move on to the next one which would be different.  I felt excitement in the way the colors meld, the subtly, the texture and the lines.  I’m reminded of a similar thrill I felt when teaching and directing music.

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