Monday, November 03, 2008

Today so far, but to include the weekend

Anybody notice I'm not doing NaMoBloMe this year? It is making me so happy. I receive the emails and sigh in non-participatory contentment.

I had J's Parent-Teacher Conference this morning at 8:20. He stayed home in bed. His teacher was very impressed with him and how he has busted butt since mid-term. I wish they had some continuity in their grading forms, but at interim he had 3 Cs (his first Cs ever!) and 4 Bs. For his finals, he had 5As, a vast improvement. When I got home and showed him, he whispered, "I feel so proud." I told him to pocket that feeling for motivation later.

I got home and told him I'd take him to Dunkin Donuts for a treat, but he's downstairs watching TV instead. Booger. I needed more sugar after the past few days of gorging.

The weekend painting workshop was fun. The instructor had a great sense of humor and really emphasized drawing the first day. Okay, I might had had a crush on him. Shucks about that being married thing.

He liked my pictures and the way I had them printed light, medium, dark, and B/W, using them over and over as examples. I chose to do the first picture. It was the main example he referenced, so I got used to seeing it. I'd also printed up the red turtleneck one and an additional shot from pre-school I'd forgotten to post. The other pictures did not blow up well enough to try to use.

When I picked up J afterward, he saw the picture in the dim car. His first reaction was that it looked like him. That's the positive part. It does, however, look like a first attempt as oil painting. His face looks chalky and I have to blame that in part on the cheap Daler Rowney paints and Utrecht white they provided. When we got inside in the light, J started picking the details apart like a good little critic, but I kept falling back on the fact that it was my first attempt. I think I might try it again with my Grumbacher paints, which dry a little more slowly and have more of a sheen to them.

So, it was good and I learned a lot. I wish we'd gotten more individual instruction instead of just group art lectures. He hung out, kinda wasting time, mostly spending time keeping busy actually doing the paintings of two women. One had a lovely painting already and he put in the eyes and a few other details. The second woman, who is an officer of this art group, so I expected her skill level to be high, essentially had him do her painting for him. She'd say that the eyebrow was off, and he'd correct it. Then she'd say the hair was wrong and he'd fix it. I hope she doesn't claim the piece as her own, because he put several hours into it.

I'm just jealous. I wish he'd have put time into mine. Not really, but the personalized instruction would have been helpful.

Classes always seem to to work this way. Individualized instruction is advertised, but it all collapses into one or two people.

Which brings me to my pastel class this afternoon. I have four sessions left. The instructor is literally a clown. She is individualized, yes, giving the attention back to herself. She loves to hear herself talk. As a result, in a 2.25h class, we get about 45 minutes or less to actually paint the figure and we're always hurrying at the end or the model volunteers to stay over. Last week, she talked so much that she didn't even do a demonstration, so we had to do the head on our own.

You ever been in a class in which you wanted to kill anyone for asking a question and getting the instructor started up again? Yeah, it's that kind of class.

I noticed last week that the woman on the opposite end of the room was doing her own thing as the instructor blabbed/gestured/acted/self-aggrandized on. I took this to mean frustration. I brought it up with a lady in my painting workshop over the weekend, as the three of us take the pastel class together. Apparently others are as frustrated as I am.

Another thing that frustrates me is that the class is supposed to be nine weeks long. The instructor was going to be out of the country for one week and didn't want to fool with adding a class on the end, although I didn't see the issue. Instead, she decided it would be best to add 15 minutes to each of the other eight classes. She tried to tack it on the end of the class, but I requested that not be the case with J on his own for a little bit. I mostly wanted her to take back the 15 minute plan, but instead she tacked it on to the beginning of the class. I felt railroaded and I learned this weekend that I wasn't the only one. Taking away a class reduces the number of models and poses, which is just wrong.

Sorry, I guess this became a rant spilling over. I have yet to find the perfect art teacher, but I anticipate that I will continue trying.

I'm glad I have this blog so I don't complain on the other one. However, I will not be posting pictures of the portrait anywhere anytime soon.


Churlita said...

That's so frustrating. It sucks that you're paying for someone who isn't Helping you.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with an art teacher. The first 2 hours were all about her, her, her, her. I seemed to be the only one who was annoyed by her narcism. I used to wonder if these people even wanted to paint, they seemed content to watch her.

I would start painting while she was talking and people looked at me in a "you're so rude" kind of way. Funny that she never could keep students and no longer has any interest in her classes, funny that...

That is a real stinger that your teacher slapped on 15 minutes at the beginning of your classes. You may be glad for the end to come sooner than originally expected.


laura b. said...

It sounds like a lot of what you've gotten through these particular classes has come from within yourself, just trying out new techniques without a lot of instructor feedback. You can be proud of what you've accomplished, but at the same time, how frustrating!

And a big 'way to go!' for J on bringing up his grades like that :-)

Cricket said...

Thanks, Churlita. Gosh, I am so very picky when I think about paying an instructor for their time. My old pastel teacher would arrive at 10, when SHE should have gotten there early to set up the still life and get the room in order. Instead, I used to arrive 15 min early each week to transform the room from Bridge tables to an artists' horseshoe. As it was, with her being slow to set up, we were lucky to start by 10:30, so she wasted 20% of each class. I could go on about her, shoot.

J, interesting the narcissistic artist and you experiencing the exact same thing. It is so hard to find a good art teacher! This is, this woman considers herself to be a GREAT art teacher. Overall, I mostly just try hard not to encourage her. As it turned out, our model didn't show Monday, so we had to do our own hands and feet. I thought it would be worse, but we actually had more time Monday to develop things than any other day.

Thanks, laura. I take classes to continue my motivation, thinking that anything making me paint is inherently good, especially in the colder months. I always get something out of it, but they are expensive lessons!

J is still incredulous about his grades. He didn't know what that meant and I told him it was like walking on a cloud and through a cloud all at once. Yup, he said, that's how he feels.