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LESSONS FROM THE GYM: Those Who Teach, DO.

by Luann Udell on 12/23/2017 5:24:55 AM

This post is by Luann Udell, regular contributing author for FineArtViews. She's blogged since 2002 about the business side--and the spiritual inside--of art. She says, "I share my experiences so you won't have to make ALL the same mistakes I did...."  For ten years, Luann also wrote a column ("Craft Matters") for The Crafts Report magazine (a monthly business resource for the crafts professional) where she explored the funnier side of her life in craft. She's a double-juried member of the prestigious League of New Hampshire Craftsmen (fiber & art jewelry). Her work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers across the country and she is a published writer.

 

 

 

We are now surrounded with working artists! 


Continuing with the insights I find at the independent gym program at my favorite physical therapy facility.... 


Today’s insight comes from a delightful young person who is in the final stages of their degree program in physical therapy. On their last day, I asked them the same question I ask every intern, observer, and student: 


What is it you learned here, in the actual workplace, that surprised you? Something you couldn’t/didn’t experience in your classes?
 


D thought for a moment and replied with this surprising answer: “Actually, not much. In a good way!” 


When I asked why that was so, they replied, “Because now almost all my professors and instructors are still working in the field. That wasn’t always the case. People would teach after, or instead of, actually being in the field. And so I learn first-hand what most people didn’t learn until they were in, or observing, the actual practice of physical therapy.” 


Things like realizing different clients with the same physical issues might require different therapies, to meet their unique needs. Things like realizing simple treatments often work as well, or even more effectively, than new, complicated treatments. In fact, almost all the “Gym Lessons” I’ve shared to date were already presented, experienced, and explained in the classroom. 


(They also said they’ve learned that, if you listen more than you talk, people will think you’re smarter. (Talk too much, and you might prove them wrong!) But that’s a lesson for another day, and not only because it hits so close to home!) 


How does that relate to our art world? 


When I was a young hopeful artist, I knew of exactly zippo artists in our small agriculture community. Oh, there was ONE person who made pots, but I never, ever saw their work, or even met them. There were no art shows, no art fairs, and no community education classes, in arts or crafts. It was a barren land, as far as working examples of my dream life. The only art classes my high school offered were rudimentary. My first clay sculptures were ruined when the kiln blew out, and was not replaced. Art supplies were minimal, and the program was fragmentary, right down to being eliminated one year. 


I waited eagerly for college, knowing I would finally be among others who wanted to pursue art as a career. But for many reasons I needn’t go into, that was not to be, either. The lack of a portfolio from high school was a factor, but so was encouragement. I majored in art history instead, but my textbook featured three women artists over 15,000 years of history, and thousands of male artists, mostly what I called impudently “dead white European guys.” 


What would it be like to be an artist today? 


In Sonoma County alone, I am surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of artists. Young students participating in public art projects, young people fiercely pursuing their creative life in many shapes and forms. Art shows, art tours, art exhibits, art galleries abound. Yes, many people wait until retirement from their day jobs before pursuing art full-time. But many, many more now find a way to make room for it right here, right now. 


It’s possible many art teachers devote most of their time to teaching, and not to making their own art. This used to be par for the course, and I encountered many art teachers along the way, people who had gone from “artist” to “shadow artists”.  A shadow artist can be a supporter and admirer of others who pursue their art full-time. But some are full of envy and resentment, and find subtle ways of getting back at those they see as more fortunate in their field. 


But though teaching can take away a lot of time, I see people who are also dedicated to making time for their art. Because supplies, classes, shows, exhibits, information, and community are more prevalent, they find encouragement and support from others who love their art. A good friend works full-time as an art teacher. But she still finds ways to make room for her art, and she has found a few venues that work for her. (And for all you folks whose media choices are sneered at, check out the amazing colored pencil work of Nicole Caulfield!)   http://www.nicolecaulfieldfineart.com/about-the-artist

 



Thanks to a growing population who understand the importance of making, creating, showing, and even selling (yay!), we are now surrounded with the “do”. Everywhere we look, we see artists, creative makers, at work. Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to take a peek into someone else’s creative world. It’s easier than ever to find supplies, classes, ideas, venues, opportunities, support, and community. 


We truly live in an age where the old “Those who can’t do, teach” maxim has been flipped on its head. Now we can truly say, “Those who teach, DO.” 


Today, more than ever, we are surrounded by those who DO. I am so grateful for that, and you should be, too!

 

 

----------------------------------------------

Editor's Note:

Happy Holidays from all of us here at BoldBrush / FASO!


 

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Related Posts:

25 Random Things About Me (And You!) Revisited

LESSONS FROM THE GYM: Working That Tiny Muscle

Lessons From The Gym: It Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

Lessons From the Gym: The Student

LESSONS FROM THE GYM: The Wizard of Oz

Lessons From the Gym: Trust Me


Topics: advice for artists | art appreciation | art education | creativity | FineArtViews | inspiration | Instruction | Luann Udell 

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Mark Brockman
via faso.com
I did many jobs before painting full time, all but one was not art related. When I went full time on my art I did teach, anywhere from one to three classes a week, did some workshops as well, demos and critiques. And painted when not teaching or preparing for a class. It wasn't what I wanted to do, teach, but I needed to do something to help add to the coffers. When I started teaching I was scared that I couldn't do it, nearly twenty years later I learned I could and was told I was good at it. One of the great things about teaching other then helping others is what the teacher can learn from the experiance and the students. When you teach you better be able to practice what you preach, none of this - Those who can't, teach - thing.

Teaching takes time and energy, it's harder then doing the art in my opinion. I don't teach now, not sure I will again, at least formally, but then who knows. If asked should one teach, I'd say yes, do it, you'll learn a lot.

I don't get why some media is sneered at, other then ignorance. Funny how because a subject is painted in oils it is more important the that same subject painted in, say pastels. But don't get me started, that's another blog entirely.

Lori Woodward
via faso.com
Thank you Luann. You're so right. Those who teach today also DO. I've had the privilege of attending workshops where the instructor is both a masterful painter and sells well at shows and galleries. These artists seem to teach as a service to artists. I can think of some who are so successful with art sales that they don't need to teach for income, but they still do offer the occasional workshop.

My degree is in art education, and I admit that I truly have enjoyed teaching workshops and classes myself. Now that I'm older, I plan on teaching through my website blogs and ebook downloads. With today's technology, it's a whole lot easier to both teach and learn.

Miss you Luann! For those who are not aware, Luann and I met for breakfast once a week in Keene NH - for probably, oh... two years. She and I brainstormed about how to better market our work, but we also encouraged each other. Thank you Luann for all those times you sat and listened to me and offered some wise counsel.
... Lori


Phil
via faso.com
Thank you LuAnn for that positive blog. But let me add an additional advantage. Even if you have not inducted yourself as yet to the festivals and exhibitions and art people gathering , such as I. I have found that the internet is also a great means of seeing what the artworld of today is like.
I happen to be one of those that is biding my time and avoiding most shows as I am developing my style and not quite there yet. Iam also one of those who will retire and devote full time to showing, exhibiting and becoming extremely involved in what you are talking about. But in my case time is not a commodity I waste and prioritizing my art bw my day job is key.
I find a myriad of sites that help, teach, show and gravitate to not only the art industry but also art niches. And keep in mind there are also industries out there that repurpose art as a side product such as interior and home decorating which stay up with the times on what is selling.

So to me there are plenty of ways to get the exposure you need to art in today's time compared to 15 years ago.
Hope that helps

Phil

Luann Udell
via faso.com
Lori, one thing about you that I've always admired is I've never once heard you complain about ANYTHING related to your art. You see every single obstacle and downfall as an opportunity to learn something new, a new path to creating a life with art at its center. That always lifts me on the days where things get hard. And I, too, remember those days fondly! I'm glad we had that opportunity before life put us on opposite sides of the country!










 

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