|Road to the Beach 9x12 oil|
(This may be the last apple tree I paint en plein air this year;
the blossoms are falling fast!)
I have a question for you all. Recently, during the usual seasonal spate of workshop inquiries, I have had a couple of people ask "Do you do your own work during the workshop?" I have heard a few students remark - complain, actually - about instructors supposedly ignoring them and working on their own paintings to sell. (To clarify, they aren't complaining about me, but about others.)
What is your take on this?
Here's mine. First of all, when I teach a workshop, I fully understand that the students are paying for my time. I give them 100% of my attention during the workshop.
However, and this is especially true in my Sedona and Campobello Island workshops where I allow only four students and each session is only four hours long, I do not "hover over" students as they paint. I find hovering to be counter-productive to their efforts. Micro-managing each brush stroke will cause students to freeze and thus fail. So, as they paint, I may continue to work on my demo. But I do check in with each student frequently. Plus, because I'm more or less right beside them, I am always available for guidance and tell them so.
I try to keep the demo period to an hour. Any longer than that, and students start to get itchy. The painting may still be unfinished at the end of that hour, but I want to make sure they get to paint, too, so we have something to critique. Still, there are times when one may wish to watch the painting fully develop. So, if I do continue to work on it, I tell them they can continue to watch, and I will happily narrate and answer questions. (Just to elaborate on the workshop session, we start off in the studio with critiques of the previous day's work and a lecture on fundamentals, then head to the field for a demonstration, which leaves students about two hours to paint.) In the end, this demo may or may not be something I would sell when it is finished.
I am interested to hear your experiences with instructors and your thoughts on this.