It's been an intense past few months of learning and growth for me artistically and personally. I spent 2 terms as a teacher assistant to build up the verbal knowledge to be able to teach in the future. I was recently given the opportunity to teach my own Foundation class at the London Fine Art Studios as well as a figure class that went really well.
Teaching is not about what you know but how well you can communicate it. Being able to instruct students on how to amend their mistakes as well as giving them the tools see it for themselves is a valuable asset that will aid me in my own artistry in the future. I think the most valuable thing as an artist, more so a classically trained artist is in the construction. Being able to render and paint beautifully falls short in my opinion if your proportions and drawing is not up to scratch.
I think being able to extend the knowledge given to me during my two years at the atelier was a very rewarding feeling. It instilled confidence in me that I did not realise I had and helped me revise the basics again again which is so wildly important. I had 11 students in my figure class which was a VERY full class for the space we have leaving me no space for me to draw or paint myself. However there was a cast shelf in the back of the class where there was a spare easel shoved into a corner. unable to see the model from this position was fine because I had our beautiful cast shelf with all its goodies to choose from. The lighting in one area was also great which made it an extra treat. I was actually really proud I was able to make use of what I had even though I was unable to step back, it work. Taking a scrap piece of lien this was the most economical painting set up known to man lol.
Because I was teaching this took me two sessions to complete and it was a very quick painting but it just needed to be stretched out and painted in between my teaching. It was also good to be able to reference my own work to show examples of values, lost and hard edges, painting thicker and the underpainting process on maybe a 3-4 inch piece of linen.
I think the biggest hurdle in teaching is getting students to trust to process, and see. As simple and as obvious as it sounds you would be amazed by the amount of students that simply do not want to look at what they are drawing to draw it. Instead of training their eyes they want you to amend their drawing for them so they can paint over it. Getting students to paint what they see and not what they know is also a difficult one, and the excuses and airy fairy concepts for why they don't want to stick to the process is just annoying. There is nothing worse than telling someone to adjust the size of a feature and they give you the old "well the model moved that's why I did that,' what does movement have to do with size?...I'll wait... Even without the model there we can learn to analyse our drawings and what's wrong with our drawings in the breaks. It's one of the most valuable tools we have. The excuses do not explain anything. The viewer doesn't care.
With my rant compete I think I learnt a lot about myself and my own teaching style. Pulling from personal experience of what I wanted to be taught like and what helped me I believe I created a great balance in my class for students and a few returned back to me to me despite being put it a more advanced class. They still wanted to come back and learn from me which was a wonderful compliment.
Next week I am modeling for the portrait week, I can happily just sit back and relax and enjoy being painted by the tutors and people watch.