When it comes to growing as an artist, I have an unfair advantage — I teach
Teaching in Hawaii
Some years ago, I noticed that many of the very successful artists who come to Oregon to jury and speak at Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) conventions are also very good teachers. I believe this is no coincidence. Teaching keeps us continually pushing the edges of learning. We HAVE to! It is part of the job requirement. It is essential to find a way to articulate how we do what we do. First we have to really understand our process, step-by-step. Teaching forces us to focus on the details! Of course, it’s also just plain fun to share what we know.
Between teaching, painting, shows, contests and having a life, my calendar is full! Sometimes I’m asked, “how do you ever find time to paint?” In truth it is the teaching, along with our vibrant artist community, that stimulates me. I learn so much from my students and colleagues through osmosis. I’m continually being introduced to new products, interesting techniques or another aesthetic concept. Traveling to teach is an added plus!
Teaching in Saint Remy, France
Teaching gives us permission to paint. Maybe you’ve found another way to give that to yourself — taking a class or joining a group to find incentive. Let’s face it — life offers oh, so many distractions! If we haven’t made a commitment to painting, likely we will not do it — regardless of how rewarding it is when we do paint.
There are plenty of accomplished artists who don’t teach, or don’t teach well 🙂 so it’s not an essential component. But if you’re one who is inclined, I encourage you to share what you know as an opportunity for growth!
One parting thought… if you live in Oregon and you’re not already a WSO member, you’re missing the best opportunity for art community and low cost learning that I know of. I’ve been going to the conventions for years, soaking up ideas and inspiration from our esteemed jurors as well as breakout sessions by some of the best local teaching talent in the state. Plus, the twice yearly conventions are just a hoot! The corresponding spring and fall workshops taught by the juror offers studying with nationally respected instructors at an affordable price.
MEMBERSHIP — Check it out… you can apply for WSO Associate membership any time, regardless of where you live. The annual Full membership application is in the fall — just submit three digital images of your work.