April 2021 marks one year since I started teaching online art classes. It started as an extension of my Short Courses in LaSalle College of the Arts when it ended and the students wanted to keep a practice going but felt they have no where to do it. So I started an online class the week after, and it kept going until now.
Counting from that day to today, I've taught 38 online classes. I thought a celebration was in order, so I gave a free community class online which was well attended.
Once a month I started a real life meet-up class when the Covid-19 distancing restrictions lifted a bit and we can have more than 5 people together. I mix it up between drawing in my studio or going to a cafe for a breakfast sketch-a-long.
I feel good about weekly classes when it's well attended, and the smallest group I've ever had was 3, which isn't very bad at all. It was a little demoralising when only one student would sign up but I also didn't want to disappoint them as well as sticking to my guns no matter what that my classes will carry on as planned. I am proud that I did that. And I feel quite accomplished in having also learned how to record my classes, or recorded a video lesson for sale. It's been very rewarding and a growing place for me, and that's quite an achievement.
I am very grateful to all my students, especially those who kept coming every week.
I learn a lot when I finish every class, in different degrees, I find a confident footing after every class that tells me when I over prepare, it doesn't always mean I will be better in the class.
I learned that when I am spontaneous within the class, I thrive and able to run with the spontaneity because I actually know a lot, but some skills are unconscious to the language brain. Teaching a class brings the articulated brain into the process of doing and I am making my art process to conscious awareness. This includes how I hold my pencil, how I know how much water is on the brush, how I fix unforced errors, and how I trust the process going from the ugly middle to the end .
This April and May weekly classes, pushes me out of my usual zone of predictable objects and subjects, as I double down into becoming more a travel sketching artist who teach, where I explore cultures and places around the world that holds exciting possibilities for sketchers. And a kind of preparation to whet the appetite for when we finally can travel again.
I learned that even when attendance is low due to resistance to a new platform to book classes, to carry on anyways builds character and tenacity and even if there's no one coming to class, I will make a lesson recording and it will be posted for sale.
I learned that after a few weeks, marketing is difficult to push the new way of enrolling but it is also something I must keep going. People get used to something new overtime and the resistance is normal, it has nothing to do with my competence, or any concerns I might have on how I am teaching.
I find when I prepare for class, and I do the same scene a few times, I always approach it slightly differently, This is my spontaneous and curious approach to painting and drawing that I want to keep enforcing in myself and in my students to find their own spontaneous and curious way that works for them.
Thanks for reading if you're here and have read to this end.
Much love and creative hugs,