On Teaching Art Classes In The Middle Of Nowhere

Watercolor Class Demonstration I love teaching art. That is my revelation of the year. I get all excited and happy talking about complimentary colors and granulating pigments (O Cobalt! O mysteriously French Ultramarine!) I get blissfully carried away and don't notice that it's time to go home.

My Intro to Watercolor classes started here in the California high desert (Town of Apple Valley, to be precise) in September. Since then, I've had two 6-week sessions, and four out of five students in the first session carried on to the second (the fifth student couldn't make it because of a surgery). It was great. I'm adding two more classes (intermediate watercolor and plein air) and, hopefully, at least one more location, in January. I'll have to take a break when the baby comes (due date is April 5) but I plan on continuing with the classes in summer.

Geometric bodie still life in watercolor

Teaching art to somebody who is eager to learn is less like teaching and more like sharing something you really love. Most of my students are enthusiastic about painting (at least once they realize that watercolor isn't as horrible and scary as they've always heard) and, although not very young, absorb new knowledge like children. I find myself being excited about their little discoveries and revelations - because I remember discovering them and I myself keep learning new things every day, including from my students...

student painting in watercolor class

I had two concerns when I started the class. One, is that California High Desert is not exactly the center of civilization. Art, if it exists, hides from the daylight, heat, cold, and wind. Nothing happens here - with one exception, the Eclipse gallery. I was worried that my classes would just not generate enough interest and nobody would sign up. The second concern appeared when I realized that the majority of my students are somewhere around twice my age and might not take too well to being taught by someone who looks like she is, at best, fresh out of college. I think I saw some of that on the very first day of the class - but it didn't linger. At the end of the first session, I asked my students to fill out a course review and the papers I got back from them turned out to be a major confidence booster :). They loved the class and the instructor and were looking forward to the future classes.

woman painting in watercolor class

abstract watercolor painting by a student

Intro to Watercolor will restart on Friday, January 6, and the other two classes will begin on the day after. If you are interested in taking a class, click the "CLASSES" tab on the left. I will be adding information on the Intermediate and Plein Air classes soon.