The same applies to teaching art. When I teach, I focus on craft. I teach mechanics of picture making based on my own particular style of painting. I also try and instill a sense of curiosity into my students and give them the tools I think they need to explore art making for them and take it as far as they choose to take it. I don’t want my students to paint the way I do. I want them to be the best painters they can be irrespective of the style they choose for themselves.
I constantly hear from students that my teaching style is unique and they learn more from me than any other teacher. I think one of the reasons this is true is I teach how to problem solve. Yes, I teach the mechanics of craft and some ideas about how I solve problems along with demos to back up what I say but I am more concerned with how to approach problem solving than the answers themselves. My approach came about in response to my own experiences as a student.
I despise authoritarianism and dogma in regards to teaching art. In my opinion it’s the laziest way to teach anything. Second, it doesn’t produce better results than a more nuanced, individual and thoughtful approach does.
Having made my living as a professional artist for many years now I know for a fact there are many paths to success. Teachers who demand a certain style from their students and ignore individual expression fail to realize this and do their students a great disservice.
If you’re interested in taking a class with me, I will be teaching a watercolor class next year at the Bascom in Highlands North Carolina August 2-4 2017