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Let me compare the two teachers (there have been others) that I spoke of
in my message.
The first one came to the university as a local artist who actually
started the art department at that school. He was a very accomplished
artist, both in oils and watercolor. When I took painting, he had been
teaching approximately 15 years. As a student, you brought in a
painting each week for the group (never an individual) critique.
Shortly, into the first painting semester I asked for some technical
help in painting. He told me to find someone who was offering a workshop
and take it! He said that was the way to learn painting techniques.
The teacher I have now is a visiting artist at a different university
and at the beginning (first class) I had to turn in a paper describing
my work, what areas of concern or problems that I had, and what I hoped
to accomplish during the semester. For the next class, I had to bring
some examples of my work and I had to actually begin painting in the
studio. As we painted, he went from studio to studio observing and
talking to us about our painting. He pointed out my areas of weakness
(as I had asked) and gave me advice as to how to correct them. I was
having some difficulty understanding what he meant and he stood behind
me while I painted for about 30 minutes, until I finally understood what
he was trying to describe to me. Another thing that I think has been
very helpful, is that once he is familiar with our style of painting or
with what we want to accomplish in our own work, he gives us a list of
artists whose works we can study. I now know how to express WHAT I want
to on the canvas and HOW to apply the paint to get the EFFECT that I'm
This message has been long and I didn't mean for it to be, but as a
teacher myself, I also am interested in knowing if I am giving my
students what they need. So I wanted to express what I meant by "he
knows HOW to teach".