Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teaching Techniques...what do you think?

This is just about finished...maybe a few tweaks here and there. Scroll down for first photo of this. This photo taken indoors under artificial light...I'll see if one outside in daylight might be better but it gives you an idea.

My friend, Durinda, took a one day from Ann this winter in Sarasota. And since both of us also teach classes we are also interested in the technique people use to teach watercolor (or any medium) as well as how much we ourselves learn.

In my opinion, Ann's technique of "I paint, you paint" has some merit. Also some drawbacks.

Advantages: It's a lot easier to teach this way, I think, because you are able to "can" the lessons with many repetitions...it makes your demos more predictable and you can concentrate more on student's grasp of the ideas rather than having to be thinking through your own composition and choice of colors. Although I felt that she did make some subtle changes every time she did the painting. I think it's a good way to teach beginners who come away with an almost finished piece and feel more confident to try another piece. Even an old timer like me learned (and re-learned) things. I was not bored except that the pace was way too slow for me. I spent a lot of time drinking coffee and waiting. I would not have wanted to do this for more than two days!!!

Disadvantages: it is not very creative for the student to be painting the teacher's choice of subject matter. Still, Ann made no apologies about this. Instead she said "someone else can teach you that." Students do not get to see a variety of subjects being worked on...they are robbed of having the experience of experimenting with their own ideas. And of course, I can never sell or show this painting in competition. This is Ann's painting.

If Ann could have had the pleasure of teaching a beginner and an advanced class...that would probably have solved some of the problems. She could have moved at a much faster pace with experienced painters and by day two or three we could have been using our own subject matter. Your ideas on this would be welcomed!!! Tell me about your technique.


  1. I personally like the "I paint, you paint" - to learn specific techniques, and definitely for beginners. On the other hand, I can relate to your being impatient at times; in a perfect world there would have been enough students for a beginner workshop and an advanced workshop - but it's not a perfect world! Perhaps she could have allowed the more experienced painters to bring their own reference on the second day, after showing her techniques on the first day. But it sounds like you did ultimately enjoy the experience.
    I can relate to being exhausted at the end of a workshop - it may be a bit physical (standing a lot, sitting in an uncomfortable chair) but it is definitely an emotional exhaustion - you have been immersed in art and learning for the duration of the workshop and you really are tired (in a good way!) at the end. (My alcoholic recuperation of choice is WINE!!!!)

  2. Yes, and I think everyone came away with two pieces that could be finished in short order. There is something very satisfying about that. On top of all my impatience is the fact that generally I paint rather quickly. I like to lay down paint quickly and work while things are juicy. The wine is a great suggestion!!! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Gorgeous painting, Ginny, even if it isn't your own composition. I'm sure you learned little things here and there - I learned the flat brush thing and wonder if I'll remember to try it next time - flat brush with lots of pigment...hmmm.. I think, as a student, it's hard to be bored in a classroom situation but...maybe taking notes and maybe realizing the teacher may paint completely differently than you do - less paint, more water, less water, taking time, waiting for areas to dry, etc. I'm not a glazing person at all, I know this, so avoid artists who glaze a lot as teachers. I like to get in there and get my darks early but that's where I get in trouble, too!