Teaching and Learning

January 2015 was a month of beginnings at Hartshorn Studios. Wonderful commissions developed, a new series of Industrial abstracts kicked off, and Tremont ArtWalk and 78th Street Third Friday brought new friends, collectors and collaborators into our two galleries. If that weren’t enough, Lila and I began teaching painting classes. I will let Lila post about her experience.

739054914_420bc3bfa7_o       For my part, let me step back and give you some context about me and art instruction. I have been painting for 50 years (professionally for 35 years) and am self-taught primarily through the old method of trial and error and by devouring books on the techniques of artists from Rembrandt to Hockney. What is in my head and at my fingertips is an amorphous mass of instinct and intuition, seemingly without structure. The results of my industry at the easel satisfy me, but I would be hard pressed to tell you how I got there.

Still, I have had many requests over the years to teach… but I have resisted. To most I would say that I am too busy with commissions, but in my head I would say “Who am I to teach anyone else.” As a fallback, I have had artists paint informally with me, and we encourage and critique each other. Still, in defiance of my little voice, in January and February I scheduled a class of four sessions…my first ever art teaching venture.

Oh, the lessons this painter has learned about painting and learning.

Perhaps in a future post, you find a long winded discussion about teaching practices and techniques. But for now, here is my conclusion: By teaching others I bring the act of painting out of the dark and into my consciousness (excruciating!). Lo and behold, it has already made me a better painter.

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