Society of Decorative Painters -
1220 E. First St. Wichita, KS 67214
Phone: (316 ) 269-9300 Fax: (316) 269-9191
Hours of Operation: 8:30 - 4:30 Central Time, Monday - Friday
Contact list with Emails and Office Phone Extensions
Many of you will be teaching and/or attending Conference this May, and we hope to see everyone there celebrating 40 years of painting and enjoying all the great events, exhibitors, and classes.
We also want to remind you that even if you cannot attend Conference to teach or attend classes, SDP is providing you the possibility to expand your knowledge on a regular basis through the SDP blog. To sign up to receive updates from the blog, go to decorativepainters.org/blog. There are some great short educational articles; just recently we’ve had two blog posts on different aspects of colored pencils. Who knew there are so many different ways to sharpen your pencil? Even if you are an experienced artist, have an open mind and see what one new little thing you can learn that will help you become a better painter. Never stop learning!
If you would like to contribute an article to the blog to share your own favorite tips, tricks, or techniques, contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea. All contributors are credited, and your email address and a link to your website, Facebook page, upcoming class, etc., may be included with your article. Submit an article to share your name with over fifteen thousand painters, and to help foster excellence in the decorative arts community!
Enjoy the great articles in this issue of Education Happenings, and keep those brushes busy.
Society of Decorative Painters
Class 4010 – Wednesday 1-5pm, May 16
Attention all teachers and potential teachers! Would you like to make money teaching painting? Would you like to increase the size of your classes and reach out to students of every age? Would you like to get new students excited about learning how to paint? Priscilla’s Paint and Party program is a concept that works beautifully to introduce people who have never painted before into the world of art. These are classes that can be taught in two to three hours. The paintings are easy and colorful, designed for today’s market, and gorgeous for home décor or gift giving. Priscilla will show you how to teach, market, and promote these classes to bring the new, the young, and the baby boomers into your classroom. For more information and to register for this class at Conference, please go to decorativepainters.org/conference. Class and project fee is $39. The class is sponsored by Martin/F. Weber & Princeton Artist Brush Co.(Back to Top)
As painters, we are all aware what a difference a few well-placed details with a good liner brush make in a finished piece. As teachers, we should strive to enhance our classes in much the same way—with a few well-placed “strokes” of teaching technique.
Begin by starting the class on time: This doesn’t mean to start talking at the appointed hour, but actually painting. Once everyone is putting paint to the project, you can share an anecdote. This is particularly important in classes offered at conventions and conferences; the painters want to hear what you have to say, but they are also there to paint. Keep your introduction short and get the students painting.
Many teachers have a large following, and that is a wonderful thing. If you are fortunate enough to have students taking every class you offer, express your appreciation, but take care to acknowledge the new students who have never painted with you before. They should feel just as welcome as your returning students.
Keep a tight rein on your personal conversations during class. Let’s say you have fifteen repeat students and you have a three-minute chat with each one—that’s friendly and fun, right? It would also be forty-five minutes (one-fourth of a three-hour class) of time not spent teaching. While you want your class to be fun, it is class. That could be just enough time for new students to decide that no matter how much they like the project, they won’t take another class from you.
Step away from the projector/easel. No matter how many fabulous assistants you may have working the classroom, the students have paid you to teach them. You should see and comment on each student’s work.
Take a class at least once a year. Not only will you enjoy painting, but by observing other teachers, you also may pick up a new idea or two for use in your own classes. Watch those “fine lines” that enhance your classes and you will have happy and successful students.
Carol Ganzi TDA(Back to Top)
Yes, really. Those simple letters of “RE” can propel your teaching odyssey on a new path. As educators of decorative art, we must be creative in finding new methods of attracting new students into our studios, as there comes a time when the tried-and-true classroom can become tired and tepid.
Review your current roster of painters. Schedule a think tank with a few of them to find out if they would be willing to participate in a bring-a-friend painting party held at your studio. Invite your students to bring their very first and most recent paintings for a delightful show and tell! A friend enthusiastically sharing his or her paintbrush experiences is less intimidating, and it can be contagious. A cup of coffee and a studio brimming with your students’ artwork is inviting to newcomers, and it engages your current students as well.
Building a learning community will take some effort and may require trying something outside the usual studio walls. With today’s hectic lifestyles, it’s harder than ever to balance work with time for making art. Many workplaces have begun offering recreational space for classes. Meet with human resources at a local company to see if they might be willing to provide classroom space for a decorative painting class during a lunch hour or at the end of the business day. Ask for them to include information about your classes in the company’s email communications. Offer to display your artwork, and be sure to include several of your students’ efforts. Offer references from your students and chapter. Other teaching venues to consider are hospitals, wellness centers, chambers of commerce, rec centers, art centers, art supply stores, and museums. These facilities often have community classrooms and encourage outreach to their employees and members.
Review your beginner projects. Ask yourself, or have your longtime students answer, the following:
Look at online painting communities, blogs, and art websites to stay up to date with current trends. Think about restructuring your current classes. Consider having a few classes in which students paint at their own pace rather than step by step at the same time.
Restyle a class to include partner-teaching with another decorative painting teacher or even with one of your students. The old adage “two heads are better than one” can open your eyes to reinvigorating your teaching style and trying new things.
E-classes are becoming easier because of new online class sites such as www.ruzuku.com, where an instructor pays a monthly fee for the site to host scheduled or on-demand courses. Classes can be held live or by self-paced, downloadable e-courses and workshops. Most sites allow your students to pay for classes directly to you through PayPal. Advertise your e-class on a Facebook page, website, or blog. Learning management software is also available to download at sites such as www.moodle.org. Another great part of online classes is that they open up your studio and classroom to potential students all over the world. You can become an international teacher without ever leaving your home studio!
Rewards for rethinking your approach to decorative painting instruction can lead to in an increase in the number of students discovering the real joys of creating with paint and brush!
Judy Westegaard CDA
If you are thinking of becoming a teacher, or if you are a teacher, let us help you become a Teacher of Decorative Art (TDA).
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Strive to be the best teacher you can be by adding these tools to your teaching methods. Students will want to return to the classrooms to learn more and reap satisfaction. Order your TDA Manual today.(Back to Top)
In the last issue of Education Happenings, I encouraged you to light the fire for acquiring knowledge. Be inspired and reach out for new learning possibilities. Our world of education has expanded so dramatically the past ten years. The path toward success is not limited to taking a local class, but has expanded into infinite possibilities. The road to learning has no ending; it continues on over the next hill. Sometimes there will be steep inclines that will slow your pace. Other times the scenery may get boring. Continue and find what might just be up ahead.
We all have a comfort zone. This is a wonderful place that has energy and peace. In our comfort zone we feel at ease with what is going on and make use of everything we know. But then, sometimes, boredom may set in. Sometimes we wonder if there is more, or if we should try something entirely different. A renewed energy may come from just taking that short walk over the hill to see what is on the other side.
Another new trend that some may want to investigate is the art of colored pencils. For a long time, this has been considered a fine art medium. Now, with the help of many SDP designers, colored pencil art is fast becoming a fun new process. The colors are wonderful and the techniques are easy to master. My personal preference is Prismacolor Colored Pencils. They are artist-quality pencils that are used by many SDP artists. As with any art medium, practice makes perfect. Another helpful hint is to invest in a great pencil sharpener. Obviously, one of the biggest advantages is that colored pencils can easily be easily transported. They are fast becoming a great addition for those going on vacation or for those who want to create art sitting in their favorite chair at home.
For those who want to try oils, consider working with water miscible oils. They are similar to regular oil paints, but they contain a modified oil binder that can be cleaned up with water. Once dry, the paint layer resists water just as conventional oil colors do, with a drying time similar to that of traditional oils. Cleanup is easier, requiring none of the solvents that can have harmful side effects.
Water miscible oils can be mixed with conventional oil colors and mediums, but the resulting mixture may lose its water-mixable characteristics. They can also be thinned with water, but doing so will tend to make the paint duller and will cause a color shift from wet to dry. Use of a water miscible medium is recommended.
The voyage toward learning new things is definitely an endless road. To learn more, you must begin the trek. There will be stops and starts, mountains and valleys. Move toward the next hill. We do not know what we do not know. Move out of your comfort zone. Investigate your options. Most of all, savor each moment and enjoy the scenery.(Back to Top)