A creative pastime has always played a part in my life, including painting, but it was not until about 15 years ago that I started my love affair with watercolours and then following my move to France that I find myself where I am now, teaching to a worldwide audience.
I have had a very varied career but did train as a graphic artist somewhere en-route, but as far as what I do now I am self taught, which is something I used to feel apologetic about, but not anymore. After all you either have the talent and the desire or you don’t, regardless of how many qualifications you have. But being creative is essential for nourishing the soul.
With my early insecurities in mind my approach to teaching my painting clients is little short of holistice. As someone who has few formal art qualifications I am very aware how unsure people can feel about their creativty and their ability to produce anything ‘worthwhile’. The self doubts, the fear of being critisized and worst of all the fear of f’ailure’. It is all, of course a load of rubbish. Many have had to deal with family competition, ill advised comments from teachers or well meaning parents, all often at an early age. And these thoughts stay with them.
My two main aims when I’m tutoring are to teach people to look and to not take things too seriously. The rest will unfold after all if something is not enoyable, why do it?
Holding their hand, building their confidence and offering reassurance play a bigger part than theory or technique. Once they feel stronger and believe in themselves the rest follows. Creativity is a delicate plant which needs to be nurtured and treated gently.
I do believe that the whole point of any creative process should have a stonger emphasis on the process of ‘the doing’ rather than the outcome, what today is called ‘minfulness’. Unfortunately that is not how most people have been brought up or educated to feel. It’s usually more about, qualifications, prizes and how much the artist can charge, the latter being a very thorny question indeed.
Surfice to say that when most people arrive in one of may classes, wether it be on a holiday a workshop, it seems to be when they have reached a stage in life when they want to realise a dream or they are looking for a means of dealing with stress or anxiety. The comments I often hear are phrases like, ‘ Will it be good enough’ or I was always told I ‘had no talent’.
So when they feel that they have enjoyed the process and produced something which gives them pleasure, that is all that matters. Painting can’t make all the difficult things in life go away, but it can ceratinly make you forget them for a while and bring a smile to your face.