My painting class: I’m loving it!

Some of my students in Introduction to Oil Painting, at Your Home Public Library
Some of my students in Introduction to Oil Painting, at Your Home Public Library

What a wonderful time I’ve been having, teaching Introduction to Oil Painting at Your Home Public Library in Johnson City, NY. Originally a class of ten students, one failed to show from the first day, and another dropped out after the first day, citing time conflicts. The remaining eight have been enthusiastic and eager to learn — even the more experienced artists among them — and so positive about my teaching. For my part, I’m feeling like I really do have a lot to give when it comes to painting, and that I’m balancing the talk/demo/work factors pretty well.

What I’d like to do better, if we run this course again (and with a waiting list of five more, for this course, I certainly hope we do!) is the still life set-up. I placed the light badly, and made the still life too complicated — a visually busy drape, no backdrop, a difficult glass jug, and rather uninspiring artificial fruit and flowers are not best for beginners, I think. The trick is to build the still life in such a way that it can be put away for a week and then brought out again, since the room is used for other functions in addition to my class. I think also, if I can enlarge my collection of student easels to ten (I borrowed some table easels for this go-’round), I’ll set up the easels on the floor with legs extended, rather than on tables. They’re not tall enough for standing work, but table easels are awkward to reach and interfere with sight lines to the still life.

A student's-eye view
A student’s-eye view
The still life set-up
The still life set-up

Nevertheless I’m really impressed by some of the work coming out of this class, and just delighted that I’ve had some influence in these productions — and I do love sharing what I’ve learned.

After a period of frustration, I’m also coming along well with the commissioned dance painting — I’ll show that in stages after it’s finished, or you can Like my Facebook page (see the lefthand column of this page) to follow along!

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