"Wonderful teacher, very helpful, cheerful, relaxed and understanding. She's also very sympathetic which I find encouraging, and as a result I feel more optimistic about my work, so I put more effort into it."
In 1995-96, I was a painting instructor for undergraduates at Concordia, a university that offers a BFA as professional training for artists. This year-long introductory course (4 hours weekly) aimed to develop participants' basic skills in oil and acrylic painting and to enhance their understanding of their artistic directions and preferences (and their confidence to pursue these). Students worked from imagination, still life, nude and draped models, and photographic sources. I worked with the class as a whole (setting assignments, offering demonstrations, and distributing readings) and interacted individually with students about their work (in-class and home assignments).
"Her constructive critism made me feel much better about myself and my painting abilities. She gave me more confidience so I was able to tackle projects with a brighter outlook and therfore my skills improved."
Something of a logistical challenge was the fact the year's teaching was shared with a fellow instructor. I taught the fall term solo, my colleague, the winter term alone. To ensure continuity for the students, we worked together to develop the overall program of study for this studio course and to conduct term- and year-end evaluations.
A more profound challenge was to ensure that students had as much incentive as possible to come to class and work - no lounging in cafés for my art students! Why? Because a practical skill must be practiced often and at length in order to develop. The more hours a beginner spends drawing, painting, sculpting, etc., the better. And since Concordia's academic program provides relatively little time for studio instruction (compared to art history and other studies), it's vital that a student maximize each precious studio hour.
A student could choose how to work during any particular class. I encouraged a variety of approaches to image-making - from a nude and costumed figure, from memory and imagination, from photos. Additionally, I regularly handed out readings about the making of visual works: a wide range of artists' remarks, practical tips, colour and composition theories. These weren't required reading, simply food for thought for the majority of students who enjoyed the material.
To ensure that students came to class, my colleague and I allocated a good percentage of the year's mark to attendance.
This exploratory yet disciplined approach seems to have worked well for the students, given their very positive evaluations of my fall term.
|[ Teaching Philosophy ]|
[ Instructor - Concordia University Artist Teacher - Royal Conservatory of Music ]
[ Artist in Education - Ontario Arts Council Gallery of Student Work ]
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