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September 2014

Art & Teaching: Keeping the balance

IMG_8052View from the studio, 2014

I have probably shared this before, but it bears saying again.  I am a teaching artist.  My formal training is in Education and for more than 30 years it was my profession.  Art was my escape and was woven in and out of my years in so many ways.  I cannot separate my educator self from my creative self at all anymore.  Every so often I get a request from someone to teach them how to paint like I paint.  I know they want the step by step so it can look like mine.  I can't do what they want as it goes so against what I feel teaching is all about.  Let me teach you process, share with you how to think through a problem, assist you in refining your technique.  That's what I want to give back.  I am self-taught through and through.  With the exception of one Design 101 class back in 1967, what I know about art has come through reading and doing.  My technical training with Golden Artist Colors, Inc. has been invaluable to me these past 8 years and I am ever so greatful to have been a part of the Working Artist Team.  It pushed me to try things and to experiment.  Experimentation and out of the box thinking are two things I cannot say enough about.  Take risks with your process, play and discover.  

My own personal artistic style is a reflection of who I am and as I grow and change so does my art.  I look back at my first book for Design Originals, Altered Surfaces and can't believe how much my work has changed.  But the essential part, the teaching part, has not.  It is still sound information that I can be proud of.  This summer I released 4 new DVD's through Artist Network/North Light and I am very proud of the content. Putting the techniques to work is your job!  Use them to expand your own repetoire of techniques and learn something new.  As a teacher I feel honored to hear from so many of you who write about what they have learned from one of my books or from watching a download of a DVD.  To hear someone say "I have been painting along with you!" is music to my ears.

I want for all of you what I have.  The joy of making art, good materials and sound information. I wish for you that you are experimental, that you occasionally get frustrated, and that you make a lot of mistakes!  Those are the keys to growth.  Whether you paint alone, in a group, or take an online class, learn to be critical of your own work.  Step back and examine what is working and what is not.  Ask yourself the hard questions.  

I would love for you to share a lesson you have learned about art fom someone who taught you.  Let me hear from you.



Artfully yours, Chris