In the residency program, I am required to offer 2 classes per session. Here is the good news, I get paid an hourly for standing up in-front of people and telling them how I do it. The bad news is, sometimes they don’t need you as much as they think.

Here I am, with 3 eager students. Each one of them clutching their untouched boxes of pastels. One with a brand-new set of hand rolled Jack Richeson. Oooo, so pretty! One with a box of soft “Oil” pastel, oops! And one with a brand-new untouched set of Sennelier and Rembrandts. Student #1’s set didn’t have all the colors we would need so she needed some supplies. The soft “oil” pastels were oil based and wouldn’t work so student #2 needed some supplies and student #3, well… Rembrandts are actually rated a medium pastel by those who work in soft. I began to understand why so many public teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms. This was all ok, because I want my students to fall in love with soft pastel as an art medium and I was able to introduce them to the buttery richness that many brands offer.

Their abilities varied as much as their supplies and each presented a singular challenge. To the one who came without any experience, You were amazing! You had courage to take chances and were a clean slate for me to work with. I hope you feel good about what you accomplished because I sure do. You were the scariest for me. I wanted you to succeed so badly. The paintings you walked away with were wonderful. Please be proud because it was all you, honey. There was one student who wanted to be loose. As much as she wanted loose, she still loves detail. She worked so hard on the technique but he style is as individual as she is. Trust me when I say darling, you were loose. You were bold, energetic and bright just like your paintings. To the last one, you are so on your way to be a genius. You may not know it, but I saw brilliance in you. You thought about every move you made and your composition glowed.

Most importantly, you three taught me. You taught me to embrace the differences that made you unique. I understand that I need to step back, watch and think. I am to help you see what I do and how I do it, not change what makes your style yours. All of you, you really didn’t need me but I am grateful that you came to my class. Bless you for letting me share my love of the medium, and investing in supplies appropriate for the class.

Instead of teaching, I felt like I had 3 separate celebrations. I was able to celebrate my medium and where I found it. I was delighted, It was marvelous. Thank you.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.