I teach 3 different studio art classes. I have been teaching for a few years and love it in just about every way. My local job is just a walk away from home. The other two classes require lots of driving.
Teaching fine art is both social and instructional. The interactions are challenging and stimulating. Learning brings the opportunity to feel awe, humility and to develop focus. Most of my students are beginners. In all classes we cover the basics; colour, composition, technique and editing. Naturally when I teach an abstract class, everyone is experimenting with media and learning about the various schools of abstraction. In other classes I let the individual students work in any area they want.
In all classes I introduce ideas and help through demonstrations and examples. I challenge my students to go beyond their comfort zone. In turn, their efforts push me to try to improve my own paintings. The adage, “do as I say – not as I do”, makes me try harder to be a good example – not a hypocrite. Teaching started through reaching out to other artists to ‘art talk’ and volunteering at a local community center. With each new class I am working on new strategies and assignments.
My own art journey has gone in many directions. I started with a passion for sculpture and drawing, with a love of the human form. The next change was a fascination with architecture and working in editorial illustration. For many years my painting was sporadic. My focus was portraits, worked in oils and pastels. My drafting job and editorial illustration assignments were very precise and technical. Working from home, as a mother, I started to explore landscapes. Over time I have moved from realism to abstraction. To complete the circle I recently joined a Life Drawing Class to brush up on my drawing skills.
Here are samples of my student’s efforts from the 3 schools.
Learning never stops. Studying drawing, form, composition and design was the route I took to become an artist. I do have students who have missed this evolution, turning immediately to painting and abstraction in particular. Their efforts bring reward if they have an innate sense of colour and composition.
Not having the training or skills to do another style shouldn’t diminish their success in this one area. Experimentation and study should bring the information they need. A big dose of humility and patience are also necessary to diminish frustration at their first attempts. I do try to help them understand the classical aspects of art, handed down from brilliant artists of the past. In our times of immediacy it can be hard for a student to understand that art skill takes time and effort.