View Full Version : questions about teaching adults
01-23-2005, 06:14 PM
Several people have asked me in the last couple years if I would give lessons in watercolor.(I have a piece being critiqued on the wc open critique forum,"Out of the Shadows") I would really appreciate some direction as to where to start. We live by the ocean with a picturesque fishing village, covered bridges, great sandstone cliffs, lighthouses, horses, a wealth of natural beauty all at our doorstep. An artists paradise. There is only a small local population so I'm thinking somehow I could offer accomodation for groups from away in the slower spring and fall weekends at our 2 cottages and B&B, sort of a retreat weekend. That could be up to a dozen people, but they would have to already know each other surely, to share close quarters like that. So how does one find such a group? How do I begin to figure out what to charge?
I would be looking for beginners to teach. Is it usual for the instructor to supply materials? If so could someone reccomend an inexpensive basic watercolor set for this purpose? Any pointers would be much appreciated.
03-01-2005, 04:47 PM
I didn't see this posting until now, so hopefully, you'll be checking soon...
My experience from teaching adults, especially retired folk, is that they enjoy the routine and would be steady clientele once they find the benefits of your tutorials and discover their own talents. The adults with children don't tend to commit readily due to the understandable responsibilities of parenthood.
As far as a B&B, most people I know that ALREADY paint would jump at the chance to go to a new location! Mix it up! Bring a few advanced and intermediate painters as well. The whole group would benefit from the varying levels and the discussions would always be fresh.
You can get these people in from out of town by posting flyers at local art supply stores and art associations - any schools in surrounding towns that offer night/adult painting classes?
Start slow though - get a few students under your belt until you have your teaching/mentoring techniques honed (assuming you haven't taught before). Once a few students start enjoying the class, you'd be amazed at how quickly word spreads!
03-03-2005, 05:05 PM
It is interesting to hear of your situation, and willingness to teach adults to paint in the idyllic setting you describe. I am sure you are on to something.
I agree with Nick.... start slowly, start small... and answers to some of your questions will come naturally.
I was asked to offer watercolour classes for adults here in Wales last summer and gave a taster (with others offering a range of subjects) one Saturday. I was very worried and felt very unprepared and unqualified - indeed I am unqualified! But I really enjoyed getting people to play with the paint, the brushes and various other tools. They seemed quite delighted with what seemed possible so I agreed to hold some classes in the autumn 2004. A small group of local people - various ages but one was my mother of 83! - came along and we had a great time. I worked hard producing those early lesson plans and needed to be completely clear about what I was trying to teach in each session. I have taught adults before, as a health promotion officer and as a spinner and weaver, but never in painting! Anyway, they loved it and pleaded with me to continue after Christmas.... I agreed to do fortnightly classes and we are nearly through this series. Another series will continue after Easter.
Participants provide their own materials, but let them know what their basic kit should contain. I am able to order stuff for them if they want, from the UK based Society for All Artists home-shopping internet page, and so can keep their costs down. I encourage playfulness in painting, a commitment to learning from experience and the building of a body of work upon which they can draw for on-going development.
There is an addage, is there not, that if you want to learn something, teach it! Certainly, my own painting has improved and I want to continue both painting and teaching. I am thinking now about offering day workshops in the summer.... but who knows?
I am new to this WetCanvas and have yet to get my head round it all, so this is my first interaction!
Bye for now,
03-06-2005, 07:35 AM
I've been thinking some more about your ideas, Kathi. Hope you don't mind my adding a little to what has been said.
I am finding that the participants in my classes - all pretty much beginners - persist in using the watercolour too thickly, with disappointing results sometimes. I don't want them to be disappointed with their efforts and so I have been evaluating the order in which I have offered opportunities for learning and gaining experience. I think it important to offer simple studies to demonstrate and illustrate the effect of basic watercolour painting techniques. I guess I am stating the obvious - sorry! However, if I came on your course as a beginner and was invited to paint horses, for example, I think I would freak out! Do you get my gist?
It takes a bit of time for a newcomer to the medium to really grasp the techniques and then their application..... and if drawing skills are un-honed too, having to tackle something too demanding can put people off.
We have just done a large rose in our class and now I wish we had done that exercise earlier in the process. Flowers are usually familiar to all of us and easy to seek out and study in our own space and time, and so we would be reasonably able to 'do another one' without too much trauma. It is easier to produce a good likeness, perhaps, of a rose, don't you think, than a horse.
I hope I do not come across as critical or anti-horses. (I love them!) Just thought I'd share my thoughts.
Cheers for now, and do let us know how you get on.
05-28-2005, 09:39 PM
I currently teach adults. I really enjoy it. You might want to search your local schools or senior citizens center for seeing an availability for such a class. Have you considered teaching from home? If you teach in a group (more than one student) I usually charge $60.00 to $75.00 for such a class. Hope this helps.
08-05-2005, 05:36 PM
My former instructor does what you want to do....i believe you would find some answers to your questions by visiting her website...http://www.buchananwatercolors.com/.
she is a great teacher as well as an outstanding painter...one day one of the older women in class burst into tears over her painting and she handled it with great compassion.
08-05-2005, 06:18 PM
I see you as having several different ways of pricing. You could have a price for the course, a price for the course and lodging and a special lodging price for those who may want to lodge by themselves or bring a family member along to share the lodging but not participate in the art portion. Then you have people like me who would bring their motorhome. Sometimes there is a minimal hook-up fee for electricity and water. Artist are a fairly friendly lot and many donít mind sharing accommodations.
I charge $400.00 per day plus expenses to teach when I hire out. A beginning instructor might charge half that or less just to see how it goes. It is much easier to start low and work your way up especially if you have nothing to recommend you. Artists usually like some kind of references as to your teaching abilities. This can even just be just referrals from friends you have taught. Grumbles will be heard if students didnít feel they got their moneyís worth so a free or cheap start-up class for you to practice on and get feedback from is a good way to go.
To begin with I would have students bring their own supplies. You can certainly have extras on hand to sell if they bring the wrong type of paper or brushes etc but when you are first trying to attract students you need to do so with low prices so this approach appears less expensive to a newcomer and many may already have some supplies of their own to begin with. You can instead possibly make a deal with a local supplier to give discounts to your students and suggest they go there. This way there is no outlay for you if the whole process goes for naught.
I wish you the very best in this new venture
vBulletin® v3.5.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.