Painting How To: Teaching Other Watercolor Painters

flower painting, watercolor art of flowers, flower art

Click Picture to Purchase: "Flowers #7"

At some point in your career, you’ll want to share what you’ve learned about art with others, particularly other artists, however experienced they may or may not be. You may even need to do this in order to earn some additional income, or you may simply want to do it just to give something back to others. Many of us learned about art from some very special people. I certainly did.  So I teach other watercolor painters to return in part what someone once did for me.

There are various forms of teaching, but one-on-one teaching, from my point of view is the best, and it’s the most rewarding, for both teacher and learner alike! And remember: we teach what we need to learn, so in this sense, we’re all teachers and learners!

Over the years I’ve done a fair amount of teaching. Several years ago, I gathered together a group of people I knew at church, and we went out painting. I picked out the locations where we painted and arranged a schedule for the months ahead, then reminded them where we’d next be painting. On these safaris, I’d do a brief demo, we’d go out and execute a painting, then reassemble for a brief critique. On several occasions we followed this up with an exhibit of everyone’s work, particularly when we painted at my church.

Subsequently I ran into David Parsons who directs the Summer Studios Arts Academy in Lomita, CA. I dropped by his studio one day, we talked, and he asked me if I’d be interested in teaching a 3 hour Saturday morning watercolor class. I did this for a year or so. We then moved into new and larger quarters several blocks away. I continue to offer watercolor classes there, various times during the week.

The Fall of 2008, through the encouragement of an artist and community activist friend of mine, I took on a once-a-week, semester-long, 6 class-session offering of the South Bay Adult School District at Mira Costa High School, in Manhattan Beach. It was an interesting and rewarding experience.

I drafted up an outline for this adult school course and each session. There were 3 “show and tell” and 3 “paint and receive criticism” sessions. I exposed my method of painting watercolors to the group.  We wrapped things up with an exhibit of the students’ work. I had an artist friend come in to jury the work and present awards.  Everyone seemed to enjoy the class.

painting of a classic ship, sailboat painting, old ship art

Click Picture to Purchase: "Spirit of Dana Point"

I hope to teach watercolor painting whenever the need arises. I incorporated a demo and lecture on watercolor painting (as a architectural rendering technique) into a drafting class I once taught each semester at LA Trade Tech College.

One of the things that teaching does is it helps you identify your own watercolor painting techniques, defend them, and also reexamine them from time to time for their continued validity. One of the things I had to do was make a list of supplies for my students. I did not have such a list.  The paints in my palette are not labeled. And the names on all my brushes have long since disappeared. Some of my equipment is easy to identify, but most of it is not.

So when it came to making up this list of supplies for other watercolor painters, I had to think about it for a while, and then do some homework. I pulled out all my tubes of watercolor pigments, organized them into different groups, and wrote down the names of each around the edge of my palette. Then I had to compare the costs of each item, so I could arrive at recommendations that weren’t too expensive. I don’t think about such things when I buy stuff.  I simply get what I’ve been buying for years!  It’s good I had to do this, I learned a lot myself!