Tuesday, August 7, 2007

To teach or not to Teach . . .

Artwork by Laurel, Graphite on Paper

Artwork by Laurel, Pastel and Cut Paper Collage

Artwork by Andre, Graphite and Pastel on Paper

Artwork by Andre, Colored Pencil on Board

Before becoming a professional artist I was a full-time public art school teacher who after two years decided that wasn't the life I wanted for myself. Though I loved the act of teaching and working with individual students, I wasn't painting and became jealous watching the students make work while I wasn't. After two years, and talking with my then fiance, we decided together I should make a try at becoming a full-time artist.

Well, 2 1/2 years later, I consider myself a full-time artist but I'm still teaching. Yes, I'm selling my work but not yet at a rate to contribute financially to our household solely on sales of art. I started teaching privately a year and a half ago and what started as maybe teaching just a couple of students has become a part-time job, about 15% of my work week. Now I have six students, with one coming for four hours each Friday for the month of August.

I love working with these students who are all very motivated, talented people eager to learn. It's also been a nice way for me to be able to start paying Lee and myself in terms of income. Some people say that by teaching, artists aren't confident in their selves to really be a self-supported artist. Well, my professors warned me of this when I left art school. Unfortunately, few artists start out selling their work at rates to make a living. It takes time, as with any business, to become established and known. So, I believe teaching is worth it for an emerging and established artist, but on my terms.

Go to LessonWorks for more information about lessons with Jennie.

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