My last teaching project


I’ve decided to stop teaching watercolour. 

I do enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with people, which is basically what teaching is.  And from the feedback I’ve had, I think many have benefited from that sharing.
I have enjoyed the sociable side to teaching.  There’s nothing better than getting together with a group of like minded people who are keen to learn and improve.
The trouble is I get totally involved in any teaching project I embark on so that everything else is secondary to it.  So my identity as an “artist” is consumed by my role as a teacher. 
So I find myself always thinking “how can I put this technique over to students?” or “what stages can I divide this painting up into to best teach it?”, all of which does not exactly lead to artistic spontaneity!
There is no point trying to teach something unless you really put yourself in the place of the student to understand how they are learning and what their difficulties might be.  But in doing that you wave goodbye to that special private and secret state of being an artist with an idea that is your own to express.
An artist does not explain why.  An artist expresses freely with no thought to how the idea is going to be received or understood. 
Some practising artists seem to be able to “teach” while preserving their authenticity as an artist.  Bu t I think that probably they are not “teaching” but rather offering a master class to demonstrate their work; two entirely different things.
So here I go into a different realm…where vision, inspiration and creativity are paramount.  It is a much more solitary and secret and selfish place, I think.
Stay tuned, as they say, I’ll let you know how I get on!

(Mind you, never say never again!)

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26 thoughts on “”

  1. And there was I thinking to myself I have a couple of your books and did not know about the Arts Centre about half an hour from me and was going to keep a look out for the next time you would be teaching there in the new year and was determined to book a place as soon as they became known. So once again I missed the boat and will have to hope that you come out with some new books and maybe some DVD's. In the meantime I wish you well in whatever you choose to do and I find your work delightful, so soft and feminine and just keep painting when you feel like it I know what its like to come to a stage when you feel that you need a break it was like me with my embroidery and I had to stop for a couple of years as at the time I was all stitching out

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  2. I fully understand why you've made this decision Anne. I used to ADORE photography but then people started saying “Can you do my wedding?”, “Can you do my engagement?”, etc, etc. It went from an enjoyable hobby to being a worrisome chore. So I stopped accepting the “work” and lived happily after 🙂

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  3. Such a shame, but I understand entirely. Thank you so much for helping me as you have to travel on my watercolour journey – I'll still be following what you're up to, reading your blog etc. to soak up and learn from your knowledge. Good luck with your new venture, and let me know if I can do anything to pay you back or help you on your journey 🙂
    Ian

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  4. Stephanie, thanks for your comment and I'm glad you enjoy your workshops. I think that might be the secret…to keep it to the occasional event so that you keep your integrity as an artist and, as Tom says below, it doesn't become a chore. Horses for courses though, and it might be that you have that sort of outgoing personality that sails through teaching events with no trouble. It would be a shame to deny people the fruits of your experience so go for it and see how you feel. Good luck with whatever you do anyway and hope you'l keep with me on this blog. Best wishes,
    Ann

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  5. Hi Ann,
    Firstly let me say that i was very lucky to have been the beneficiary of your teaching through your blog and thank you for that, but have to say,I would agree and understand completely with your decision.I think that you are also right about the different aspects to teaching and that as a sort of beginner,many a watercolour DVD I have bought are in fact master classes with the DVDs being simply a recording of someone painting with very little explanation as to why.And I now understand why that would be.As an ex musician I would agree with Tom in that a lot of the enjoyment went out of the playing once the teaching started -for numerous reasons and for that reason should I ever get good enough that I would be asked to teach, the answer would be definitely 'no'.I wish you nothing but the best in the pursuit of your art for yourself and thank you again of your help.Larry

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  6. My internet connection comes and goes at the moment, so I'll keep this short….already written one reply and lost it! I'll keep doing art soc. workshops Terry, so I'll prob see you at CoEArts!
    Thanks for your nice comments and feedback…hope the books have been useful.

    Best Wishes,
    Ann

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  7. Ann, you know how I have always admired your teaching but totally understand your direction in the future. I will always be grateful that I met you at Patchings this year and enjoyed your demo very much! Be happy in all you do!

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  8. This is so interesting as I have written about something similar in my blog.I only started teaching just over a year ago and I love it!! I recently attended a demo given by a fabulous young artist Katie Hampson who though happy to answer questions said nothing throughout the demo. She works so intuitively that I think I realised she would have found it impossible to verbalise her thoughts and to tell us why she was painting and making marks as she was. This really got me thinking about my own workshops and how I never stop talking but also how there are paintings I think I would find impossible to demonstrate… some just seem to evolve and I don't always know why I am putting a mark where I am, they are adventures for me and they need thinking about, I am learning with them as I go along and they may not turn out as I might expect or hope!! But I sometimes don't know where the painting I end up with has come from, they just seem to happen!!!! So I now have a library of paintings I teach, which is expanding all the time, paintings where I teach from the students point of view where we look at techniques, where I share tips and hints and then I have another different library of pieces I would find difficult to ever repeat either at a workshop or even just for myself as I am not always quite sure how I did them in the first place!! This balance seems to suit me as I love both elements, they do seem to be separate.. the teaching maintains my skills and verbalising what I am doing reinforces my learning but the other side allows me to paint and explore and more importantly improve my skills and abilities and in so doing is allowing the creativity to surface… I think!!! Seems like the best of both worlds to me but then I am at a very early stage of the teaching bit so recognise things may change!!

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  9. Ann, I can understand exactly where you are coming from. I have done some workshops but decided years ago not to teach (did 13 years as a science teacher so enough was enough). I feel you are really going to enjoy the neat stage in your art life as much as you did the latter. Enjoy!

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  10. Wow, a lot of interesting stuff there Judith. Thank you for commenting.
    I too really enjoyed the teaching, especially at first.
    I think everything has its day and you have to follow your heart.
    So interesting what you say about not knowing where some of your work comes from…it’s that sensation, which I have experienced at times, when you feel as though someone else is doing the painting and your hand is moving of its own accord.
    I hope you can continue to have the two strands of teacher and creative artist active at the same time as you describe. That must be the best scenario!

    Best Wishes,

    Ann

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  11. Thanks for commenting Anne. So interesting what you say about not taking on the art teaching yourself.
    I did relish it and was lucky enough to be able to teach the two great loves of my life, French (in schools) and watercolour painting. To be able to teach watercolour seemed an unmitigated pleasure to me.
    Also has to be said that teaching does bring in some money!
    Good that you followed your heart though. Your beautiful work gives pleasure to many and also informs as you share it on line.

    Best Wishes, Ann

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  12. Ann I know you will be missed greatly by lots of people as a teacher. Your talent as an artist and as a teacher is huge. Though I totally understand where you are coming from. I decided a long time ago I would never teach. Teaching properly needs so much of ourselves to be imparted to the student that possibly we do lose ourselves as artists along the way. It takes energy to teach and to create to the best of our ability. Dividing that energy probably prevents us from really hearing who we are on an artistic expressive instinctive level from within. So I wish you success in finding your inner strength to become that whole instinctive artist once more. Good Luck and keep us posted on how you are getting on.

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  13. Thanks for your comment Laura.
    I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but we are all on a journey, and we have to move on to keep things fresh. It helps to envision a new set of aims every now and again.
    But you haven’t heard the last of me, I’ll still be posting on fb and redbubble, etc; more so now that I’ll have more time!

    Best Wishes, Ann

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  14. Hello Ann
    How brave to stop teaching and begin a new path , I know you will miss and be missed teaching . Often at our friday class someone will be oh and ah about your paintings , and rightly so . I am looking forward to seeing where your road takes you , and thankful you will be posting your journey . Have a wonderful trip . Happy Painting Bev Wells

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  15. Hi Bev,
    Thank you for visiting and commenting. Yes it is a bit of a turning point and we'll see how we go. There are a lot of other avenues to try, so thank you for your good wishes and best wishes to you too!

    Ann

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