Why I Enjoy Teaching Art

I  love teaching art workshops. Why you may ask? Well, I love sharing what I’ve learned over the years with others so that they too can experience the joy of making art as I do.

Nothing makes me happier than getting out my supplies and making a big old mess. I’m like a pig in mud! I want to roll around in my messy oil paints, cold wax, acrylics, brushes, squeegees, tissue paper etc. and just PLAY!!!  It’s like visiting my childhood every single day!  When I see others light up in a similar way, it makes me so happy.

Being a maker of art is about creating joy. Not only my personal joy but hopefully for the buyer too. I always tell folks that someone will resonate with what they create. I remember teaching a workshop years ago and there was a student who painted something that I thought was really unattractive. She had used very color in the rainbow, there were no shapes to speak of, no focal point, no interesting marks–I was at a loss for words.

I like to be positive because I’ve been put down by art teachers and that can be devastating. I never want to hurt someone like that. And it’s easy to find the good in art and where one can improve too…that’s always part of a critique. But in this case, I was having a hard time thinking of how to discuss this painting without being ONLY negative. Before I could open my mouth to speak, one of the other students blurted out, “I love this!”.  And then with unbridle enthusiasm, she added, “I want to buy it, will you sell it to me?”

That moment was an important lesson for me, reminding me that ART IS ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE! The principles of art and elements of design had nothing to do with whether or not this painting would be loved by someone and sold to boot. I have learned to keep my tastes out of the equation. I still stick with the fundamentals in my art critiques because they are good foundational tools for creating a successful painting –but I always state the caveat that “rules are meant to be broken”– because the rules that were broken may the exact thing that viewer will resonate with.

There are no hard and fast rules in my workshop other than archival ones, like don’t paint acrylics on top of oils or paint on top of a varnished piece. Sometimes it’s the rule breaking that leads to new, exciting chapters in your artistic work. I like to meet my students where they are when they arrive and work enthusiastically to help them achieve their goals and visions. Join me a for a workshop to explore your own playful nature and find your creative self!

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Rachael McCampbell

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