Tag: art education

The downside of being a Teaching Artist

Artist BZTAT at workWorking with kids is very rewarding. They are so eager, and they have such gratitude when you open up new creative ideas for them. They are adventurous and free in exploring their creativity, and they are so excited when they accomplish a goal.

“I did it!!!” are my three favorite words.

As I shared in a previous post, I have been working with children in a number of schools lately as a Teaching Artist, bringing Arts Integration programming to local schools. Arts Integration  uses creative activities to enhance learning in other academic disciplines such as math, science, social studies, language arts, and other subjects.

I enjoy the interaction with the students and I love the use of creativity as a means of helping education come alive for them.

I don’t enjoy being exposed to all of their germs, however.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no germaphobe. I don’t obsess about germs. I have, however, had 3 major head colds in the last 4 months. That can’t be a coincidence.

Last week I missed out on seeing all of my young eager artists, as a I had a severe case of laryngitis on top of the stuffy nose and cough. I am not much better 6 days into it. I am not seriously ill, but it can be quite debilitating, as my voice is kind of important for teaching. It generally takes me 10-14 days to shake a cold, so I have 4-8 days left of this nastiness.

I also had to postpone my Pet Portrait Painting Mini-Retreat for yesterday as I was in no shape to spend 6 hours teaching my pet portrait techniques. I have rescheduled it for March 28, 2015. There is space available, so you can still register.

There is downside to working with kids, I guess. Lets hope that my immunity gets a bit stronger from all of this. I am not liking this part of the adventure!

Life is an Adventure!



Pet Portrait Workshops and Other Art Education Activities: What’s going on here?

Recent Pet Portrait painting workshop by Artist BZTAT
Recent Pet Portrait painting workshop by Artist BZTAT

When I went to art school, people often asked me, “What are you going to do when you graduate? Be an art teacher?”

I typically answered them with an emphatic, “NO!”  I had no interest in becoming an art teacher. I simply wanted to create things myself. At that time, I also had little interest in working with kids.

Now,some 30 years later, I have been testing the waters of art education, and I have recently been seen scurrying through the hallways of some local schools with bags of art materials.

What’s going on?

First of all, a lot of things have changed in my life over 30 years. Much of that time was spent working with children as a counselor, so I moved past my youthful aversion to working with kids.

Second, through my counseling career and other life experiences, I found a second calling in “teaching” from a philosophical perspective, with adults and children.

My recent foray into art education comes from my philosophical leanings more than it does from a desire to teach art techniques, but teaching art has a way of expanding the curriculum beyond technical skills. The more educational experiences that I take on, I find myself very energized the interaction with both adult and child students. It is opening up an entirely new creative direction for me, which I will share more about in future posts.

I recently held a workshop in my home studio on creating pet portrait paintings, and I had an amazing time. For 6 hours, I worked with 6 students who, for the most part, had very little arts training. The portraits they created were BEAUTIFUL, and the all day experience with them was so much fun for all of us! I enjoyed encouraging them to try new things that, at first did not make sense, but as they proceeded, brought them to a new level of understanding.

I decided that day that I would do another workshop. I had planned to do it after the holiday season, however, one of the participants asked if I would do it around Thanksgiving so some of her homecoming family members could participate. So, I moved it up. It is now scheduled for Black Friday, November 28, 2014. You can read more about the workshop here.

I look forward to doing more workshops like this one in the future. I also am thoroughly enjoying working in some local schools with preschool, elementary and middle school students. More about that soon!

Life is an Adventure!


What's It Like To Be a Professional Artist? It's Just, Well…

BZTAT-professional-artist-at-workI am speaking with groups of middle school students today about what it is like to be a professional artist.  Not a difficult topic for me, obviously, but it is still a challenge. When you speak to youth, you always feel a compulsion to leave some kind of impact and impression upon them.

And that is really kind of silly.

The last thing kids want from you is YOUR wisdom, because, you know, they always know more than you do.

I am not being sarcastic. Kids DO know a lot, and they have a different perspective on things than those of us who reached adulthood long ago.

I respect that. I have found that I am better off if I let THEM leave an impression on me, rather than vice versa.

I expect to learn a lot today.

Teach me guys, and ask me questions. I will try to make it a reciprocal exchange.

I was going to put together a PowerPoint presentation, but I decided against that. Young students are very tech savvy these days, and PowerPoints are boring.

Since my trajectory into making a career out of my art has been built upon using social media, and the school that I am visiting has WiFi, I am instead putting my presentation right here on my blog.

The presentation is all about images. I will post a few here, and see where it leads.

And I hope that some of my readers will give my students some comments to consider as well.

BZTAT Studios
My Studio in the Canton Arts District
BZTAT Studios First Friday

Canton First Friday
Second April Galerie, Canton, OH
BZTAT painting on location
BZTAT painting on location
Downtown Cats Mural
Creative Use of Social Media

So, what would you like to learn about being a professional artist? And what would you like to learn from my students?

Life is an Adventure!