That story makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I knew I never wanted to be the kind of teacher who kills creativity. Look at the way my preschool students colored their ocean animals posters and you tell me if I've achieved my goal. :)
One of my favorite TED talks (and I'm not the only one; it's been viewed 10.3 million times!) is by Sir Ken Robinson about the importance of fostering creativity. Here is the link if you want to watch the talk yourself: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html In this talk he quotes Picasso who said, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."
In the last few months I've been experimenting with colored pencils as a fine art medium. Colored pencils are portable and especially good for when it's hot and I want to sit right in front of the air conditioner. :) My paints really dry out fast with a fan or air conditioner blowing directly on them. So colored pencils are a good second medium for me at the moment. It's pretty fun too. I've found a few colored pencils artists who really inspire me and I'm trying to develop techniques that produce similar results. Here is one of my completed colored pencils drawings.
You might even call it a "painting", some artists do. This is not a sketch; I put far too many hours into it to label it that! It's only 5" x 7" but I spent 53 hours drawing it. :) I find colored pencil work to be quite meditative so the hours fly by. This was so much fun that I have several more pieces planned or in the works. :)