I mentioned earlier that I had major foot surgery in April and the recovery takes a long time.  My doctor said that I could start teaching again in September even though I would still be in rehab.  He said it wouldn't be easy, but hopefully it won't be so hard if I sit down.  I miss teaching and my students keep asking when I will return, so my husband is going to set up a video camera to display my canvas on a large screen for everyone to easily see what I am doing plus a mic so they can hear.  That will allow me to stay seated as much as possible.  Normally, I am on my feet for the entire time walking around to assist the students as they work.  If my foot gives me too much pain, I may have them bring their work up to me instead.

     While I was thinking about it, I realized that several students had progressed to the point where they needed more challenging work to do.  So I talked to the school and they agreed to let me separate the beginning and intermediate classes.  That way the more advanced students would not be held back and it would make room for new beginners.  These classes had been full for the last several sessions.

     We normally complete a simple painting in each 2 hour class as this works well for beginners.  However,  the intermediates will have paintings that may take 2 or 3 classes to complete.  I want these students to learn how to achieve more realism and as such they need to learn how to create more detailed work.  This takes time and practice so they will also have homework to do.  My goal is for them to complete at least one really nice painting by the end of the six-week class.  Two would be nice but we'll have to see what subject they choose to paint.  I am asking them to bring in one or two photos of something they would like to paint.  From mine and theirs, we will create a nice scene that teaches the skills they need to master.

     I'm sure I have mentioned this in the past, but if you really want to improve your art skills you need to paint at least one hour per day.  This action alone can make a tremendous difference very quickly.  If you aren't convinced of this fact, I challenge you to do a small painting and set it aside for a month.  During the next 30 days, paint for an hour a day and then do the same painting again at the end of the month. You should see a big difference, I know I did!  It applies to even experienced artists, we know this and keep at it for years, always striving to reach a higher level of skill.  And you thought it was only because we love it so much!  Well, that is true or we wouldn't put so much effort into it, right? So, keep creating and improving, forever!  You'll be glad you did!

     I couldn't paint at all for a month after my surgery, so when I started again I worked on some of my mini paintings I sell at a local gift shop to get back in practice.  They came out pretty nice (photo below) but I also am reworking a seascape I did a few months ago.  It does show how improvements can be seen after a period of practice.  I am wanting to do realistic seascapes so I practice on them a lot.

   These are the mini paintings.  These 4 x 4's go the a local gift shop and they sell very well! I provide a small easel with each one, a natural color for the light ones and black for the night scenes.  The 4 x 6 gets framed.   I paint these whenever I need practice in brushwork or just feel like doing something different for a change.

This is ok, but I wasn't happy with it, so I set it aside for awhile and came back to it a few months later.

This is my second attempt.  The colors are basically the same, the difference is in my lighting when I took the photo.  I like it better and thought it was finished, but as I look at it the wave just doesn't flow properly so I will work a little more on it.  I darkened the white foam as this is nighttime, but I think it probably should go even darker.  Back to the easel it goes!

11 x 14
acrylic on canvas
Now I am happy!  The wave looks much more natural and flows well.  And, it only took HOURS of watching videos on water movement,  LOL!  It just goes to show that educating oneself on a topic pays off.

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