Friday, November 22, 2013

Thoughts on Teaching

One of the "crew" hard at work.
Thoughts on Teaching.

I have been teaching oil painting for over 15 years. My classes were held at my gallery in Belfast, Maine, but as the gallery grew, I gave up my classroom and moved classes to my home studio.

Over the years, my students have ranged in age from 9 years old in my Junior Class to over 80 years old in my Adult Class. Most of my students studied with me for many years. It was a joy to watch my 9 year olds grow into teens and after they graduated high school, I lost them to their new, busy adult lives.

My Adult Class has seen many students come and go. I do have my main students that have been with me for many years. We meet at my home studio weekly. They are my dedicated “crew” and work very hard to incorporate the principals and theories of oil painting into their work.

It is a misconception by non-artists that if you know a few rules you can easily create a good painting. The variables in a good painting are unlimited. Shapes, tones, color, edges, color harmony, lighting conditions, surface quality, linear and aerial perspective, composition – the list is endless and change with each painting. Landscapes, still-lifes, portraits – they all present their own set of variables.

When I was teaching at the gallery, summer visitors would stop in and sign up for a few lessons. They had just bought their first paint kit and wanted to learn to paint. They were the most difficult students, as they didn’t understand that it takes many years to grasp the principals of painting and more years of hard work to put these principals and theories together. I knew they would leave frustrated but hopefully these first few classes would peak their interest and they could go on from there. They also left with a greater appreciation of the art we displayed at the gallery.

It is my greatest pleasure to see my students enter shows and win awards. And to see the smile on their faces when they bring their ribbons and awards to class. We all celebrate together because we understand the hard work and commitment that has led to this achievement.

So, to any new student – don’t judge your abilities too soon. It takes years of hard work and dedication to become a good artist. Sometimes life gets in the way, so study, read art books, find a good teacher and keep painting. As your understanding and technical skills improve you will realize that all good artists are always students. The more you know about painting, the more you realize just how much more there is to learn. The road will be bumpy in places but don’t give up.  It is a fascinating journey.

For more information, please email me or visit my websites.

Thanks for visiting,


  1. Well said Celene....wish I lived closer and cold take lessons.....instead I knit....:)

    1. And you knit beautifully! Remember when you taught me to knit? I'm still not very good.


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