It has been a difficult road but finally I remembered to bring my camera and to take some images of my student’s work.
Aravind has no prior training. He is almost finished this one – I have suggested he think about shadows and in a radiating pattern on the ground, to draw the viewer into the painting. He is learning to mix colour and to handle the palette knife. Molly is also a beginner.
Shirley is a student who has been in my realism classes. The Palette Knife is also new to her. She brought in this painting of an Irish village that was unfinished. I encouraged her to explore the knife on the rocks and the foreground.
Lei started the class with a clear denial of the abstract. Her first effort was described by her boyfriend as ‘pizza’. Not discouraged she has soldiered on to create this painting, from an inspiration piece. The class and I think her version is better. I always want the student to make the ‘copy’ their own. She already has another idea waiting for next week.
Marie-Andree has some painting background and is very inventive. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the 2nd image after she had reworked it. We have made it less uniform in its values and colours. Maybe next week I will be able to show her work in a better light.
All sorts of mishaps have kept my students away – jury duty, illness, wrong night, working late for the boss – but they are a cheerful bunch.
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.
I have been teaching basic art techniques for about 8 years now. I feel it helps me as much as my students. One student’s dilemma can be a big help to everyone. Presently I am teaching a class in Abstract Painting. Part of teaching the class is bringing forth images and information on past and present abstract artists. I was never a big fan of art history as a student and now I regret this. It impresses me how interested my students are. At the same time I am more interested these days and find the information very helpful. Perhaps it is my passion that is improving the experience for teacher and student.
This weekend I finally got to work on some new paintings. One was almost too easy and I am quite pleased with it. Naturally the second painting has not been easy at all. It verges on being considered wallpaper. That makes me shudder – a lot.
I have been quite inspired by the sky recently – the big fall display of clouds and long sunsets/sunrises.
& now for the paintings …. Technically they are just started.