FINDING SATISFACTION IN GIVING PRIVATE LESSONS
I have a young student that I really enjoy working with. She is 10 years old and very talented. I love to see the joy in her eyes when I hold back her canvas for her to view from afar. I tell all my students how important it is to step back often from the easel and view their work at a distance. She can get frustrated with her work thinking she is not doing well. But when I hold it at about 6 foot from her, she can see it in a different light and realize it's not too bad at all!
She has only come a few times so far, but each session I have her work on a painting. That's because at home she draws constantly, so she gets plenty of practice with that. The first time she came she was able to complete a painting from a photo I chose. For the second lesson, I had her bring a photo to paint. She chose a cat sitting on a porch railing. So I showed her how to make a grid and transfer the photo to canvas and then she started painting it. It will take her two sessions to complete, but I am very impressed with her ability to "see" what she is creating! Her cat has already taken on a very real personality and she could actually leave it as it is and it would look good, but she will finish it for a lesson in fur. A pretty advanced lesson for a 10 year old!
I get a lot of fulfillment in teaching. The biggest obstacle I come across is the lack of confidence in the student. I look for opportunities to compliment their work and encourage them to keep trying. I always start by pointing out the good parts of their work. Then I will show them something they can do to improve the painting. It builds their confidence and encourages them to keep at it. At the end of each six-week group class we take a class photo with each one holding up their best painting. I love to see the smiling faces as they hold their paintings high!
As a young student, I appreciated the encouragement I received to keep painting, and the constructive criticism that helped me improve and reach for higher levels in my ability. My teachers encouraged me without berating my work. I learned from them how to emphasize the positive and build on that by showing the student how to improve their artwork. I feel it is the most important part of teaching. Now, I don't believe in getting carried away like people today seem to do, all praise and no real instruction. I feel people should earn praise. But on the other hand, we should always look for something good to say about the students work before we critic it. People can tell when we are sincere in our praise and when we are not, and they appreciate someone who really takes an interest in their work. In my experience, they work hard to improve under these circumstances and it pays off for them. It must work as these students keep coming back and that gives me satisfaction!
A couple of my student's paintings are below. I know you will recognize the talent behind them as I do!
10 x 8