The Perfect Student

Yes, an artist should suffer, and I do my share of it. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I teach at the California Art Institute. There are good days and bad days–good students and bad students. I don’t mind telling you here what makes a good student, and what makes a bad one in the hopes that my students will log on to this, and come to a better understanding of how, not only can they make my life easier, but how they will learn the difficult task of painting more quickly.

A GOOD Student:

1.  will log onto this, as I asked them to

2.  will listen more than they talk or whine

3.  will come to class with an attitude that they are there to learn rather than to convince me of their abundant talent

4.   will leave their caps off their tubes of paint during class lest their hands should get slapped

5.  will tone their canvases at least one day ahead of time, two or more if you do not tone it as I ask you to and use oil instead of turp or straight paint

6.  will buy real brushes, and not use ones that are chewed down to the ferrule, or are so stiff from inadequate cleaning that they are more suitable for target practice

7.  will practice painting at home so that they will not be confused when they come to class and are not able to paint like Sargent yet

8.  will refer often to Lisa’s List of Pet Peeves for more helpful tips as to how to keep the teacher’s sanity intact

A BAD Student:

1.  will not accept failure to any degree, and will place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the teacher

2.  will verbalize their frustration (This can vary. Some students speak loudly of their failure to paint like Sargent, or of their teachers inability to imbue them with the power. Others sigh loudly, while still others violently wipe their canvases of all traces of inability. Still others, may flee the building in tears.)

3.  will not switch to another class even though they believe the teacher is failing miserably at endowing them

4.  will insist on painting complicated compositions, portraits or landscapes before mastering an egg

5.  will not read past number one above

I’m unsure whether posting this will make my life easier, or more complicated next week on Wednesday and Thursday when I teach again. What do I have to lose?


This entry was posted in Art Instruction, On Suffering, Rants. Bookmark the permalink.

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