There are times when I completely lose the thread. That’s my only excuse for forgetting to tell you about my painting classes in Rockport, which start next Tuesday.
These classes will run from 10 AM to 1 PM in my Rockport studio. The session is six weeks long, and the fee is $230. If you’re interested, there are more details available on my website, here.
I’d been teaching Sunday school for about a decade when one of my church buddies started asking me for painting lessons. “I don’t know how to do that,” I’d answer. Eventually, I caved. I figured I’d teach one session and the three students who were in that class would realize I was clueless and move on. My studio was on the third floor. I was the model and the instructor and I kept bonking my head on the ceiling.
From there I moved into a nicer room above the garage and enlarged my teaching practice. I started teaching workshops and concentrating on plein air painting. When I left Rochester, I left a large circle of students and former students, and I miss them very much. You can see a small sample of their work here.
Looking forward, I know I will eventually have a similar circle of students here (and they’ll have the advantage of working in a fantastic, light studio space). Teaching is the most energizing thing a painter can do. We build relationships. We impart knowledge, but we also learn a great deal. There is joy to be found in helping a real painter emerge from an undeveloped desire.
In the beginning, I made lesson plans. I still have them, but the secret to teaching is to meet each person where they are and help them solve their individual problems.
Sometimes people tell me, “I want to learn to paint, but I can’t draw a straight line.” So we start with drawing and move on from there. I don’t believe strictly in talent. I think some people learn more easily than others, but desire is the true marker of success, not some hidden gnosis.
Many of my students have been teenagers getting ready to apply for art school. There, the goal is to move them away from strict academic painting into something that will catch the eye of their portfolio reviewer.
Above all, I’ve never wanted to create another generation of people who paint exactly like me. (For one thing, that would freeze my own development.) My goal is to teach them the fundamentals of alla prima painting and then help them patiently wait for their own style to unwrap itself.
If you’re interested in painting lessons and you live in driving distance of Rockport, contact me and we can talk about whether this class is the right one for you. I miss you, my future students.