In my painting class yesterday, I decided to introduce the students to outdoor painting. I have done this exercise many times before, using the Lois Griffel impressionist technique for painting color blocks so that the students come to understand about creating luminosity of color. This time I decided to let the students to pick any colorful object from the prop department since they did not seem too enthused by the plain blocks. They got real creative.
Yesterday was a good example of how not to go about teaching this. Here are the top ten things to remember for next time:
1. Don’t put the students outside. If you can have them paint from the comfort of an interior room with a view it is much better.
2. If you have to put them outside, make sure they are not in the sun (provide fans) or in the shade (provided propane heaters).
3. Make sure the wind is not blowing.
4. Clear all mud around the students because they will not enjoy standing in it.
5. Make sure you have prepared the students for this a week in advance so they show up with the proper canvas, palette knives, hats, shoes, sunscreen, and anything else that you will personally have to scramble to provide to make the experience a success and not a total failure.
6. Do not assume they know how to ice a cake when telling them to use the palette knife. DO A DEMONSTRATION.
7. Make sure a few students stay inside the building to paint so that you can take refuge from the storm.
8. Simplify the subject. The technique is complicated enough, and you want to minimize not maximize whining.
9. Make sure all students are in a good frame of mind before asking them to do this. If they have just returned from a long trip, are mad at their husbands, kicked the dog before arriving, are PMS-y, leave them inside to paint.
…and the number one top ten thing to remember when teaching an outdoor introduction to painting class is:
10. DON’T DO IT…