During the past three months much of my time has been spent out of the garret instructing painting classes.
There is the old adage that “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” and I suppose in a very literal sense that is true for a great many artists. In my experience it is very difficult for most painters to make a living just by painting pictures.
The aforementioned quote implies that teaching is a fall back position, but I have found it to be much more than that. Aside from the obvious benefit of providing an income, teaching has many positives.
Alyson B. Stanfield in her book “I’d rather been in the studio!” champions teaching because it makes the artist an expert. Teaching well requires research, practice, and perfection of technique so that when I stand before my students I know what I am talking about and can prove it. However, aside from becoming a technical expert, the greatest benefit that I have received from teaching is becoming an expert to myself. Teaching has helped me define what, for me, is important in art making, the way I want to work in my chosen medium, and what I want my work to say.
This entry was first posted on March 31, 2014.
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Dixie is an artist and painting instructor.