by Janet Glatz
When I'm not teaching over a fairly long period, such as during the construction of my new studio in a new town, I tend to forget the high I get when I'm working with students.
I think I would have been a good teacher of other subjects too, because of this inner thrill I get from seeing another person make progress under my tutelage.
I've had young students who knew absolutely nothing about art start to make paintings with depth and overall continuity of tone in just a few weeks of hourly training. You can see the delight on their faces at the creativity they've discovered in themselves. It's just too much fun!
Adult students with some experience and a fairly good grip on techniques are, of course, a whole different animal. I advertise that I will design a student's lessons around where they are in their progression toward the proficiency they desire.
On occasion I've been delighted to find a student who did not exaggerate her proficiency and who was a delight to paint alongside. In truth, we learned from each other. More often, though, the student hasn't been able to adequately describe his or her level of proficiency and my work is cut out for me. I need to start back at some of the basics, such as composition, brush handling, and tonal work. Usually this is taken with good humor and the student is ultimately pleased with the progress they make after this temporary back step.
As opposed to hourly instruction, two day workshops are my favorite. The curriculum starts with brief brush ups of the fundamentals and choosing reference photos on the first day, and then on the second we do a painting from start to finish. The end of that second day is filled with satisfaction of a job well done, and a lot of progress made.
I hope some day you'll join me in this process. You won't regret it.