When I decided to quit my corporate job and dive into fine art as a full time job, it was no small decision. No small step. I was crossing over from a predictable job description with office hours and full benefits into the unknown.
One thing that is scary about working as an artist is that the path is different for most of us. The career paths of doctors, engineers, real estate agents, seem to have a checklist of steps to grow the career. For fine artists, the path needs to be carved out by each artist. I decided that in addition to having a studio practice and selling my artwork, I would teach art to help keep the studio lights on, so to speak. Even the most successful artists I know supplement their studio art with other work, often with a teaching job. I wasn't sure what to expect from a career in teaching. I decided I would initially offer classes for all ages and see what I learned along the way.
This is what I learned:
1. The look on the face of students when they understand a concept or technique that really speaks to them is extremely gratifying. I feel like we are on a magical journey together!
2. Creating is scary and what students need to hear more than theory and technical tips is that they are artists. Regardless of what a third grade teacher might have said or a skeptical parent may have instilled, we are all artists.
3. That I learn as much from my students as I teach them. I have met amazing people in my classes.
4. That through the act of creating together, we bound in soulful, significant ways. The friendships I form in my art classes are some of the most relationships in my life.
5. That when we spend a lot of time together, such as on my international travel workshops, we are like family in all the best ways and we are an inspiration to each other as artists and as human beings.
5. That creating a safe environment to learn, explore, and create is important: a life mission.
6. That both my young art students and adults are delighted by what they create and that in turn gives me immeasurable joy.
7. That when my students ask me to teach courses I haven't thought of yet, I am pushed to be a better teacher and a far better artist by delivering.
8. That watching the passion in my students grow, fuels my own artistic practice.
9. That teaching creates an art tribe that all artists need in order to thrive. Creating art can be a very solitary journey and it is essential to have a tribe of like minded individuals to share time with, create together, and care about.
10. That I love teaching. That it has given me so much more than financial security. That I have the best job in the world.
Thank you to all my students, All of them. Those who have signed up for one course and those who sign up for everything I ever offer. You have all made me a better artist and a better human being. Thank you!