Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Gosh, I love to teach!

My new classes started recently and I am thrilled to be working with so many wonderful artists, new and old friends. But I didn’t always want to teach. Actually, originally, I was terrified of teaching.  I find it so interesting that the very thing that you feel so afraid of….. one day stands up and challenges you to try it. God is like that! That was how I ended up teaching artists and absolutely loving it. 

Years ago in 1975, I followed my former husband to the exotic country of Pakistan. (Yes, the world really is my play ground ). The Lahore American School had hired my husband and I knew that I could find a way to be useful, too. In the meantime, I had great plans of painting and sketch my way through the country. Ha, the school had other ideas. They knew that I was an artist and figured they could talk me into teaching once I arrived. Little did they know that they would have to work for it. Once I got wind of the plan, I avoided them all. One day at a Friday night party they cornered me.

Three days later I was the new art teacher for Junior High, High School and Adult Educational Classes for Lahore American School.  I knew nothing about teaching, just loved people and loved art. The Superintendent of the school handed me a stack of useless books on making lesson plans and said that I started on Monday at noon. That was the longest weekend of my life. I agonized over what and how to teach. Finally I devised a lesson plan that centered around the concept that art was all around us and in all of our daily lives from the clothes that we wear, to the magazines, tools, etc. From that point on, everything we did that year was centered around that concept. Sure they learned to draw and do lots of artsy stuff. But what was really happening to them….. their fear of art and fear of lack of talent disappeared.

As they melted into artists, so did my heart. I fell in love with helping people find their artist within themselves. I was so hooked and still am to this very day. Those kids, from all over the world and their parents that studied with me at night, opened a world to me that is incredible. Through teaching I learned to express the inexpressible world of art. I brought all of my learned art training from the deep subconscious up to the verbal conscious. No longer would I stand in front of art and say I like it or not like it. Now I can expound, in great length, on the whys and why-nots of a painting. Thank you Lahore American School for pushing me off the safety zone.  Thank you wonderful students for helping me become a teacher and loving it! I am so glad that I took the challenge, it has changed my life and my career! From that time on, I have taught all over the country and the world and loved every minute and every student!

And it keeps getting better!!!!
This year my artist husband and love of my life, Howard and I will be teaching workshops
separately at the Fredericksburg Artist School in Fredericksburg, Texas!  We both have taught classes and workshops for decades (giving away my age again) and love it. We will never stop learning and passing that on to other artists. This time we have an exciting opportunity for our students to attend either of our workshops and also attend the Opening Reception of the incredible Salon International Exhibtion at the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio, not far from Fredericksburg. Artists from all over the country and world rendezvous each year at this Opening Reception to swap stories, ideas and admire the masterpieces selected for the show. We meet new artists and old friends, magazine editors and publishers. What an amazing event to tie with our workshops.

Oh, and by the way, I did paint in Pakistan! While I lived there for 3 years, I had a terrific studio, painted every morning for 4 hours and had three solo shows of my paintings. The last show was a complete sellout! Now that is a great memory!

Teaching is exhausting. It takes tremendous energy to give to my students all that they deserve and more. There was a time in my life that I leaned so heavily into teaching that my painting time was almost snuffed out. Then there was a time in my life when I stopped teaching. Neither was a good plan…..Through the years I have learned that I can balance my painting time and my teaching time. Both are necessary in my life. I love giving back what I have been given for all these years.