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A New Semester

February 17, 2010

Dusk 20, Oil on Canvas 16" x 20"

After a three-month hiatus, my watercolor classes resumed this week at Rock Valley College. It is fun to be with the returning students again and it is a privilege to meet new students in the Level 1 class.

A challenge of teaching these classes is to constantly assess what is working, and what is not. I strive to build upon what is working so that my students can continue to gain comfort and success with watercolor. Even when a concept is working, being a guy, I try to tinker with my approach to see if I can bring a fresh light or new explanation to the lesson. As long as I see students smiling, interacting and having fun painting, I figure that we are on the right track.

Fortunately, I seem to have attracted enough students who have no problem letting me know when something is not working. They let me know when a lesson has worked right. They are also open enough to recommend ideas they would like to explore. That helps.

Another challenge is how to bring value to all of the students. I have students that start my classes with no previous experience in watercolor to those that are very comfortable working with this tricky medium. I strive to keep the classes elementary enough that the neophyte can keep from feeling lost and alone while keeping the lessons lively and with enough open range to explore, that the intermediate to advanced student can learn a thing or two and not feel as though they are wasting time.

Fortunately, my students keep the classes entertaining, warm and welcoming.  I enjoy the interaction between the advanced students and those newer to watercolor. Their support helps to smooth the bumps along the road of learning this medium which seems to have a mind of its own. I suppose as artists, we all remember our first of many unsuccessful attempts and enjoy giving others the moral support to get through the lessons of learning watercolor;painting;art.

Hey, it gives me the opportunity for interaction outdside of the studio for a few hours each week and gives me a chance to give something back to art.

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