I am a little late posting this in memory of George Gabin’s birthday but I want to share it none the less. I recently came across something I wrote that I want to share. In 2011 an art exhibit called Guided by Gabin was hosted at Brickbottom to gather students and celebrate George Gabin’s teaching career. It was a wonderful event. I was asked, along with other students, by Montserrat to offer my reflections about George as a teacher for an article about this event. I have pasted my response below.
As a teacher George Gabin had a unique ability to draw the student in, his soft spoken lectures commanded my full attention. Not only did I not want to miss a word of the instruction but his ability to describe a technique with feeling helped open doors in my mind. He demonstrated a commitment and method; with humor; that lead me to enjoy the productivity and process of painting. Through his methods he shared a passion for art and beauty. George has been described as a sentimental painter and I am certainly sentimental about him as a teacher.
The past 20 years George Gabin has been a constant role model for me-not only encouraging me to keep painting but softly complimenting by saying “ You have a gift that needs to be shared with the world.” How could I possibly stop painting after knowing how much he believes in me?
Although we have kept in touch, thoughts of George have been pressing on my mind since receiving the news about illness this fall. What do you do at the end of someone’s life ? When the small sentiments;
you’re important to me,
you changed my life for the better,
you gave more to me than I could ever return,
…don’t seem like enough.
Do these words comfort those who are suffering, facing the pain of illness and the ulimate-ness of mortality? What do these words mean in comparison to the experience of a lifetime?
One should be so lucky to spend a lifetime teaching your love and passion for art, to know countless students and offer them the opportunity to see something in a new way. It is a gift, to have a teacher who becomes a mentor. One who guides you to that moment when everything clicks.
Someone just reminded me what an amazing gift this is and how this gift will always live on. Anyone who teaches lives on forever in the actions of their students. I am lucky to have opportunities in this life where I can carry this gift. In every day lives the opportunity to honor someone during their lifetime; every time I pick up my brush, work on an exhibition, or guide a student artist in class.
George spoke recently and said “The moon is a dream and the dream rises…. What is the dream? The dream that comes from inside at an early age and then becomes the strength and hope of the future. “
In my dreams I hope to emulate him; in reality I hope that I have risen in ways that have made him proud.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these reflections on George as a teacher. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do.
– Cynthia Woehrle
Image: George, Martha, and I in 2008