The #1 Rule for my students (and me!)
When a student comes to me for the first time, whether it’s in a private lesson, a class series, or a workshop, the thing I stress right at the very beginning is “seemingly simple”…yet very difficult for some people to do. And it is this: From here on out, you are not allowed to speak dismissively of yourself or your work, or anyone else’s work. Some folks find it just hard to resist blurting out, “But I can’t draw”, or “This drawing s***ks” , you name it, they berate themselves over and over. Would you talk to a best friend, or a beloved child, or someone you greatly respect that way? Likely not, (and if you do, you need an attitude adjustment).
It serves no purpose to speak to ourselves that way. We seriously need to get that cranky negative voice out of our heads and treat ourselves kindly. In each class I teach, while people are working, I do love to find the strengths in what ever that person is working on, whether it’s line quality, color choices, good water to pigment ratios, etc. They may not even see the things they are doing well, because they are so worried about what they feel they are doing “wrong”! Breaking that spell of negativity allows us to see things in a new way. First - celebrate the things that are going well. I ask myself, “how can I as a teacher, get you closer to your goals?”. We tackle one thing at a time, as learning to draw and paint is a process, rather than knowledge that is just “poured into our brain and immediately acted upon”.
Over time, everyone ‘get’s it’. They start seeing the self respect of each of their fellow classmates is growing - and everyone becomes very supportive of each other. This class-room is a safe and sacred space for learning and growing.
I hope when you show up to paint (or any task really) that you can tell yourself, “I’m excited to learn and figure this out. I know I can stay with it to improve each time I show up to paint”. I’ve watched my students grow their skills over time- it’s truly a thrill for me to see the things they’ve taken on and explored! I have to admit, I’m very proud of them accomplishing their goals!