Tuesday 28 June 2016

Teaching - what it means to me

This started out as a quick post to say I have a couple of places in the weekly classes, then it got longer and longer... so make a cup of coffee and relax...

Although I trained as an art teacher, over the years there were relatively short periods spent teaching art. After leaving Art school, I took whatever work was available. I worked in a Reference Library, and then landed my first teaching position coupled with working in the school's library. When I tell you that I was teaching Maths to Grade 7 you'll realise that I was desperate for work. Fortunately the Maths teacher returned from long leave and the school wisely moved me to teaching English to newly arrived immigrants. Subsequent teaching - art to years 8 and 9, at another school, was a lot more in line with my training.

The Ice cream Cone #WAXnext - watercolour and graphite - reference from Sktchy

Now many years later, I'm teaching teaching art full time. I'm running a Studio from home. I love every minute of every day.

My Teaching Model

When deciding on a teaching model for the Studio, I worked on the premise that adults would be best served if they are able to retain their individual identity. I had no wish to teach prescriptively - in other words there would be no handout of the same reference to each person. There would be no " now take out the cerulean blue and this is how we are going to paint the sky..."

Since the Studio is small there is place to accommodate  6 artists. Each artist is able to work in their medium of choice, whether it be watercolour, oils or acrylics. Alternatively they might decide to draw for a term, exploring a range of mediums from graphite to charcoal to playing with ink. Each artist decides on the theme for their own work and works at their own pace. (Admittedly I do tend to say: "Time to wrap this one up and start something new - you can't stroke this one for another three hours")

When there is a workshop the teaching is much more structured. Then new techniques and mediums are investigated in a formal class with step by step instructions.

Moving out of your comfort zone

Part of my way of teaching involves stretching the artists. I do believe that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Regularly, I encourage trying new methods of working as well as new materials. This can be confronting to those who like the comfort of always working in the same way.

I believe that developing critical skills; learning to assess your own work;  looking at the work of fellow students with a discerning eye; learning how to give constructive criticism is invaluable. I believe that artists need to learn how to change and develop an artwork effectively rather than have a knee-jerk "my work is rubbish" type of criticism. 

When you're a beginner or have returned to art after a long break you can have many insecurities. My aim is to provide a venue where skills can be learned or rediscovered. The Studio has a closed Facebook Group where work completed or in process can be posted. Carol's Studio Group is a sympathetic environment where the artists can post work without exposing oneself to criticism from the world at large.

Making friends

When I moved to Australia the list of people I knew was very short. In addition to my family I knew only a couple of their friends. In establishing the Studio, not only do I have the means to support myself but I now also have a network of friends. The Studio participants too have made lasting friendships and developed a sense of community. The famous coffee break (with coffee from nearby Deja Bru) is an integral part of the Studio experience. And you can still get free tea if you want it...

And the point of this post...

Class Vacancies for Term 3 13th July to 18th September 2016
EDIT 30-06-2016 Wednesday Evenings  6.00 pm to 9.00 pm - places still available
Thursday Mornings      9.00 am to 12.00 pm - Please note that this place has been filled

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