Rainey Dewey Art

Teaching Teaches the Teacher

I’d been working on my “studio” for nearly five years in anticipation of teaching beginner watercolor there.  But when the time came and I actually had two potential students who were truly interested I remember being afraid and uncertain.  It’s a funny thing with goals sometimes.  In my mind I was ready and confident but when two bon-a-fide students seemed interested the self-doubt and fear stepped in with a vengeance.

This painting was done start-to-finish during one of my art classes.
This painting was done start-to-finish during one of my art classes.

Luckily, I’ve learned to quiet those self-defeating thoughts (at least this time) and I taught my first class on June 20, 2015.  I remember it was rocky and I stumbled over my words over and over again trying to come up with the right art terms.  But now one year later – with more than a dozen classes under my belt – my two students have become good friends and the teaching has become easier.  When I stumble over my words we laugh.  It’s a rich experience and I have discovered that teaching teaches the teacher perhaps much more than the teacher teaches the students.

This painting was done entirely in class – not one class but a series of classes.  While I’ve tried to stay away from the “all paint the same thing” format that is so popular today, I relented and this time we all painted the same painting but while doing so I explained what I was doing and why, what colors to mix and how to fix mistakes or make mistakes into opportunities.

I was surprised at how much sharing the thought process and decision making while painting is helpful to another artist.  The decisions one person makes are not necessarily the decisions another person will make and the results from one hand to another are immensely different.

Now that I think about it I suppose that’s why we are here, to teach each other, share our experiences and to enrich each others’ lives.