This week I will be begin teaching a class at the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Continuing Education. It will be a beginning painting class and as a matter of fact, it is titled Painting for the Complete Beginner. Here is an excerpt from the class description:
This painting class is designed for people who have no previous painting experience. The most important objective of the class is to be in a comfortable, stress-free environment with other beginning painters.
I have been asked by several people why I want to teach a class at this time. I actually love to teach and was an instructor at UNM for several years. I like the idea of presenting new ideas and letting people experiment with their creativity. After I decided that I wanted to teach (again), my first thought was that I wanted to teach painting to real beginners. In the course of my personal art education I have been in many classes that were designed for one level of painter, yet accepted most people to sign up for the class. Invariably, the beginning painters were intimidated by the more advanced painters and the advanced students were frequently bored with the beginners.
In thinking about what I wanted to teach I could not help but think of my beginning paintings and what a challenge it was to get my ideas on canvas with reasonably attractive colors. I took few photos of my first paintings, nor did I think to date them. I did find a pear painting that went through several renditions before I decided to leave it and move on.
Here is the first version. As you can see it was a painting with little perspective and colors that did not work. I think that is what my teacher told me.
The “fixed” version had a total change of shadow that helped, but still was not interesting. I did more to the wall by adding more color variation that helped. I think I stopped here for a while, maybe a year, and went back to it a third time to try to save it:
Here is the last attempt. It is a good reminder of where I was and how many paintings I have done since then. It was a learning process all the way. I never showed this painting, but it hangs in my studio always as a reminder.
I am excited about my class and I hope that I convey the pleasure of problem solving.