I love painting. I love colors like Alizarin Crimson and Colbolt Blue. I love squeezing the paint out of the tube. I love mixing it with a palette knife and applying layers of paint until an image feels right.
But paint can also be messy and uncooperative. One of the challenges of teaching something new to someone else is to try put yourself in the other person's shoes and forget what you already know. You have to think about a problem and try to ask yourself the questions that someone who has never done that thing before might ask.
So, I started the course by teaching students how to mix their own black. They were surprised and excited by the results. They worked with monochromatic palettes for two days while they practiced using a palette knife to mix colors, cleaning their brushes and applying confident marks.
On the third day of class, I talked about complementary colors and showed a slideshow of food still lives that I gathered from Google Images and Pinterest. I gave the students real food, knives and construction paper and told them to create a still life. Some students worked alone, some worked in groups, and some asked me if they could eat the donuts.
Some students had painted before, but a lot of them hadn't and I was completely floored by their ideas and execution. I can't wait to see how their skills continue to grow.