Yesterday was a day that marked a lot of "firsts" for me. It was my first time teaching an adult art class. It was the first time I taught a project that was finished so quickly (2 hours). It was my very first time leading a painting party. Every one of those "firsts" was a wonderful experience.
As I headed into the library yesterday morning, what a cozy place to have a painting party, I was very nervous. All of the women I was about to teach were more mature and had more experience in life that I had. I was very worried that I would have a difficult time communicating with them. After all I am used to dealing with children who, for the most part, are content with my simple instructions and explanations. I don't like to talk much because as one of my favorite art teachers always said, "Keep it simple stupid".
I was pleasantly surprised at how working with adults in an art setting was very similar, and also polar opposite, to working with children. These wonderful women were very open to my instructions and asked questions and I felt a sense of complete trust from them. Trust that I knew what I was doing and would successfully lead them through the painting process. I wasn't about to let them know that most of the time I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm kind of a bull in the china shop person, I just charge in.
On the other hand, as I suppose was to be expected, most of these women were very critical of their work. They wanted it to be "perfect", whatever that means because really what is perfect to one person isn't to another. Or what is flawed in one person's view is perfect to someone else.
I told the ladies at one point that I wish I had a hidden camera to take photos of their facial expressions as they evaluated their work. Some were so screwed up in concentration or contemplation that it was interesting to see.
Overall success! I think they were all pleased with the outcome of their paintings. What was very interesting as I watched the women paint was, I thought, their paintings perfectly expressed each of these women's personalities. We had so much interest in our art class that the Library has already scheduled another Painting Party for next Tuesday morning to paint the sunflower again!
I finally felt like an art teacher again, even for a couple hours. I'm secretly hoping that there is a huge interest in Painting Parties and it's something that I can make grow because leading people in creating and expressing themselves makes my heart happy. I could definitely see myself doing this as a full time job, ha, but I'd have to move to a big city for that!