And no husband and wife teams as students please. They do nothing but compete with each other. This sets up lots and lots of tension between them and the rest of the class becomes privy to it. Once I had a husband and wife that began to bicker over who was supposed to have cleaned the brushes or some such argument, and suddenly she spat “ASSHOLE” loud enough for the entire class to hear it. That’ll render a number of paintbrushes immobile, let me tell ya.
Spouses start out thinking it will be fun to share in the delights of painting like Monet in the countryside. They can grow old sitting side by side at their easels. Nope. Doesn’t work that way. The reptilian brain takes over and they play the survival of the fittest game. Brushes become daggers. A good tube of flake white can be veeeeery poisonous.
Here are some suggestions for all of you teachers out there who have the husband/wife “situtation”:
1 ) Separate them. They should not be allowed to paint the same still life, and if it is a model, they should have very different views so they cannot compare them.
2 ) Tell the wife to stretch her own damn canvases. Men invariably get stuck with this unfun task, and it sets them up. God forbid the canvas is loose. He won’t be getting any that night.
3 ) Have them practice complimenting each other’s work regardless of whether or not that portrait looks like Quasimodo. And they’re painting a woman.
4 ) Threaten to call Dr. Phil.
5 ) Threaten to call Judge Judy.
6 ) Threaten to quit.
7 ) Hire a bouncer.
8 ) During critiques, they are not allowed to speak period when the partners work is up. Even if they have developed skill #3 above, some passive aggressive behavior can leak out during critiques that can turn it all on a dime.
9 ) As the couple leaves the classroom, make sure that the wife understands that the man is not a pack mule. Even if he says he doesn’t mind, he may refuse to make her dinner later, and rub her feet afterward. This could cause subconscious resentments that might take years of therapy to uncover.
Hope these tips help. Good luck and Godspeed.