Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Teaching drawing

coloured pencil on Canson 11 x 14
copyright Jeanette Jobson

I've been reassessing what I teach and how I teach and figuring out what I enjoy teaching, and what I need to improve, eliminate or add to what I currently do.

I sort of fell into teaching and it has taken up a lot of my time. I'd done tutorials and run private classes off and on previously but hadn't provided regular, structured classes. Its taken awhile to prepare the initial format as I was going into a program already in place, but I was left to put my own mark on it with no external direction. Reaching the stage where I have enough material and ideas in my head and portfolio, I'm now deciding if this structure is the way I want to go. Do I want to be tied to this structure or be able to behave in a more freelance method?

Part of me enjoys the interaction with people - and its children and adults that I teach. Part of me dislikes elements of it. I haven't had much experience in teaching children prior to this and was quite up front with that fact when inquiring about the teaching position. Children are, in some ways, easier to teach than adults, but the content and instruction is at a very different level. The inability to move ahead or the process of repeating over and over the same class even if the students are different sometimes becomes a little monotonous. There are demos of drawings I do in my sleep, I swear. Because I deal with complete beginners in most cases, that in itself is a challenge.

I will be teaching a workshop in May and am looking forward to the experience. It will be adult based, multi-ability and based in graphite and realism, my comfort zone. I am in the process of developing the demos and content for it and once that in place, it may form the base from which to move forward into other workshops.

It amazes me how the twists and turns of life place you, and usually that place is somewhere that you never expected to be. My intention in art wasn't teaching, even though I have done adult education in various forms. I don't think it will be my final resting place, but the journey to that point will be interesting.


vivien said...

interesting pondering Jeanette :)

I'm going to do my teaching part 3 post at the weekend and I'll link to this if that's ok?

Jeanette said...

Teaching art demands a myriad of skills rolled into one. I'll look forward to your part 3.

Yes by all means link to the post. Thanks.

indiaartist said...

Certainly teaching requires more qualities than just being a good artist. Not all artists can teach well. I think it must also develope some of your skills at the same time.

Paulette said...

I wonder have you considered offering your own class. Then you would have more control over your students. From your blogging you would have plenty for students to draw, flowers, animals, etc.

Laurel Neustadter said...

Beautiful colored pencil piece. The subject matter is adorable. I love the colors in the metal pan/container.

Jeanette said...

Teaching is a bit of a juggling act sometimes indiaartist and I agree, not everyone can do it well. I guess if people keep coming back I must be doing something right :)

I do some private lessons as well Paulette and that does allow me to structure things differently. Its almost a sigh of relief to do the private ones at times.

Thanks Laurel. Isn't the pup sweet? I was first drawn to those rusts and blues and pinks in the basin and the flooring of the deck.

Cindy said...

Lovely colored pencil. You have a very nice sensitive application, and the colors in the bucket are so interesting.

I taught weekly classes for several years (a couple of classes a week, kids and adults). My well ran really dry, and I, like you mentioned, could do some of the drawing exercises in my sleep when I was teaching full time. So I stopped except for a few private students. That wasn't challenging me either. Then I stopped altogether for more than a year.

I was asked to teach a 1 day workshop last fall and fell in love with teaching all over again. So now I have done several day-long workshops which really suit me. As a result I have developed several workshop programs that I can offer, reusing them rather than reinventing the wheel each time. But the students change and the dynamics of each class is different.

I think it's a real balancing act to find a format which brings in some dollars, helps you grow as an artist (as indiaartist mentions), and keeps your well full.

Just my and vivien have caused me to ponder my own teaching strategies.

Jeanette said...

Cindy, thanks for your comments. They echo some of my own thoughts and its good to know that I'm not alone in some of the issues that I'm facing.

I don't want weekly classes to grow stale on me and there is a bit of that now. My enthusiasm wanes a bit at the thought of them sometimes and that's usually a good indicator that something needs to change.

I like the workshop concept and am enjoying my preparation for that, knowing that it can be the basis for the future.

Decision making time for me I think.