Teaching is Learning

These words prove themselves to be true over and over again. Teaching is a wonderful way to learn, both in the preparation and practice that goes into the lesson to be taught, and in the discovery of new insights into each student’s unique way of seeing the world. I never tire of it, no matter what age group, experience, or abilities.

I am now teaching a beginning watercolor class, which has turned out to be a class for people who have never done any art to speak of at all. At first, I started out showing and demonstrating the different “rules” of watercolor and how to manage them. But soon we all relaxed and decided to just “go with the flow” — a completely apt description of the whole experience of watercolor. Here are their birds from Weeks 3 and 4.

Since I told them up front that it is not a drawing class, I provided bird photographs and showed them the time-honored technique of tracing an image on tracing paper, and then transferring that to watercolor paper by means of blackening the reverse side of the drawing. After they got a rough and very faint outline of their chosen bird, the fun began. We worked very wet and splashy, which was my goal. I wanted them to see from the beginning that watercolor is about water. I think they got it! The amazing and fresh rendition of the two baby bluebirds looking at each other is by an almost 90-year-old. She was thrilled with hers and rightly so.

If you want to learn something, prepare to teach it.

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