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Teaching

Yesterday I had a fun opportunity to teach a watercolor class to middle school aged kids in Talkeetna. The class was 6 hours, and we had 16 students. I was a little bit worried about how we were going to fill the time. But painting is something I love to do, and I was excited to share a little bit about painting, color, and seeing the world around us a little bit differently. One of my other goals was to see if I would enjoy teaching art to kids as I have debated on having a kids art class during the school year. But I didn’t want to just jump in if I found it super stressful as I have enough stress already.

The morning was filled with lots of techniques. Because we only had 1 day, we only had enough time to try each technique one time and then, as with all watercolors, we had to let it dry. So, we moved through a lot of techniques like washes, variegated washes, layering color, clouds and skies, shading, fur, and then went back to some of the small technique samples and added to them to make finished pictures. Silhouettes on the washes, shading and lines on the rock, etc. We stopped in the middle for a snack, but the kids really did a great job of staying focused and working through each technique. I was impressed by their attention span.

After lunch we took all of our knowledge outside and went for a walk down to the Talkeetna River with our paints and easels. There we spent about an hour being inspired and painting. The adults learned that you should know how the equipment – the easels – set up before you hand out 16 easels to middle schoolers. That was quite the process, but the kids were patient, they watched, and several of them learned how to set up their own. It was a great afternoon, and fun to watch them come up with ideas on their own. Several of them sketched and didn’t get anything painted, several got part way finished, many of them finished their paintings. It was fun to be down by the river and watch them paint. We also skipped a few rocks (one of my favorite things to do), and several went wading in the water for a few minutes. Then we headed back to the building to recap our experiences for the day.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to share something I love with kids who seemed to really enjoy it as well. It was not as stressful as I thought it was going to be, and the kids’ enthusiasm for art and excitement of being there and learning something new was refreshing and fun to be a part of. This experience helped me see that yes, I could teach an art class. While this would add to my already full plate, it wasn’t as stressful as I was worried it would be. I had a really fun time and now have more information to proceed forward with if I decide to teach art classes this fall.

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