Friday, 21 November 2014

Nervous by Susan L.

  Today is the start of acrylic painting classes at the centre. As the facilitator, I'm a bit nervous about how to approach the first session. Who am I kidding? I'm nervous every time I run a group! Where to start is the question.
  Should I provide a base drawing for everyone to do the same picture or let everyone pick an image of their own liking? Would hard edge painting be the best place to start? That's where an image is broken down into linear sections of colour like a paint by number kit does. How about doing a monochromatic image to get the eye used to seeing different shades or areas of shadow and light before introducing colour mixing. They can be quite striking.
  Most of those who are interested have taken part in the how to draw group and the few classes I did on watercolours, a much harder medium to work with so there will be a mix of beginner and experienced artists. I want this to be enjoyable for all.
  Perhaps a study of a single image like an apple? The good food box was yesterday so there's plenty of apples to pick from. Yup. That's it. Technique can be either hard edged or blended. It'll be an exercise in the most important aspect of painting: learning to look and see the various hues and shades in something as simple as a piece of fruit. Or it could be a monochromatic study. I'll let everyone decide for themselves.
  I've said it before, art is all about seeing what you are looking at.
  I think I've shared this before but it's the most important step in learning to paint. An apple isn't just red. There's hints of yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, and even blue...that makes the purple. Seeing the colours takes practice. My trick is to imagine a block of yellow, for example, then look at whatever I am painting. The yellow in it pops out. If imagining colour isn't something you can do, look at something yellow, close your eyes then look at the object. It'll do the same thing. The world is a rainbow of colour.
  Well, that's it. I need to run to the store to make sure there are enough small canvases for everyone before heading into work. Thank You, Lord, for helping me sort out my day. I'm not so nervous now.
  "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." Prov 9:10


  1. As you continue to run classes, you'll get more familiar with how to introduce students to different techniques. Different people will need different approaches. You'll be able to provide them with all these options that you've listed, and assist them to find the one that works best for them. That's what a good teacher does.

    My son who teaches guitar had been struggling recently with trying to teach a particular technique to a student. He finally tried a different approach and said the kid got it immediately! The student was amazed at his own ability as a result.

    What a wonderful gifting, to help someone find their own gifting.

  2. As the writer above mentioned, each learner has a different learning style. You learn to relate to those style with time. When I do a class, I often take a few moments to ask the "students" what they are hoping to get from the class. If you have a medium (chalk or white board or overhead) you can jot them down. Then looking over the list address how these hopes are going to be met during the time together. That includes them and then addresses their concerns. I have found that they are more invested when they have a voice. I also open the floor up to input, emphasizing that we are all learning. Reminding them that I am no expert, just perhaps farther down the road in experiencing this medium. Do you realize that 85% of your students in the class, no matter how "fun," think they will be unsuccessful - doubt their abilities - feel threatened by others thinking they are all better? True. So assuring them of their abilities and what they know already is always a good place to start. Have fun with the apple!

  3. Thank you both for your insight. We all ended up having a lot of fun and wonderful success today, teacher and student alike.