Sunday, December 14, 2014

Little Red Hen and Twelve Days #7 (teachers)

Here is the last of my "back up" chickens...These are paintings that I can use on days when everything is a wipe.... I am writing this before I paint today, so perhaps this will be a "good" painting day...
If you are interested, this little painting is available at Low Country Gallery

Twelve Days (#7)
I think teaching has been lifelong for me. The eldest of five, I  often helped with sibling homework.  As a pediatrician, one of the job perks was teaching: adolescents to respect themselves; young moms to discover and value the individuality of each of their children; and teenage moms who had never been read to, exactly" how" to read to their babies etc . Now,  I teach adults to begin to paint. When my students get to my level or further, I feel quite accomplished. Teaching adults is a new challenge. Seems that you mostly have to teach self-kindness and nurture a willingness to T-R-Y.

So here are my thoughts about what to look for in a good teacher. See what you think.
The best teachers are those that are interested in "you" as a student so they need to know
1. what you want to accomplish
2. where you are in your learning curve
3. what this class means to you and
4. maybe most important: how hard you want to work (after the class)

The comments that have been recently published from a prominent workshop teacher about "older students who are not about to make art their profession and...want to learn and enjoy themselves" may be accurate about some of that teacher's clientele. Personally,  I don't think there is anything objectionable about older students (often women) learning (and enjoying)  a workshop circuit. Workshops afford interesting travel, good facilities and, most importantly, the participants in these workshops are some of the nicest people in the world.  However, I would guess that in these same workshops there are painters who want to learn to paint. As one of those wanting to learn, I like instructors with a "no talking" policy and a commitment to doing their best for each student. I have had the great fortune of teachers who are above excellent My favorites are: Susan Tustain- Harrison (she has a new workshop coming up and this is rare (link),  Joseph Fettingis (link),  Karin Jurick (link) and Carolyn Anderson (link).
If you decide to invest in a workshop, or even a course of local instruction, try to answer the questions above so you know what you want from the experience. Then go to learn, not to be the best, not to achieve   "hangable paintings"  (there is "wine and design" for that) and please don't try to impress the teacher.

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