Pat's Rooster- Watercolor by Deborah O'Sullivan, 5x5
I am delighted to be able to present guest blogger Australian artist Charles Sluga. Charles is a wonderfully accomplished watercolorist and teacher.
Good Tutors and Good Students
I have been prompted to give my opinion because I conduct a lot of workshops both in Australia and overseas and have been teaching watercolour painting for many years. I have a number of pupils that have attended many of my workshops and continue to do so. Recently these people have been criticized or mocked because they choose to continue to come to my workshops. Mocked by students that seem to change their tutors as often as the wind changes.
So the question is - Should a student go to many different tutors to learn or should they stick to one? I think I have already indicated what I think, but let me expand on this.
Well from my experience and observation over twenty years of teaching I strongly recommend choosing one, but it is conditional. The student must try different classes until they find a tutor that they are happy with. A tutor than has the pupils best interest in mind and will push the student and point them in the right direction for them to discover their own way of expression...kind of like a guiding hand. A tutor that does not let his or her ego get in the way!
I think as a student if you find that your work merely looks like a second rate copy of the tutors work then I would suggest you find another tutor. It is not the tutors job to produce 'parrots" that mimic what they do. It is all about pushing, questioning and getting the students to explore possibilities until they start to discover themselves. If you can find a tutor that can do that then stick with them. For those of you out there who criticise these students and call them groupies, fans or try to convince them that they should go to someone else, then I would say to you..."continue to go to your dozen tutors in a dozen workshops and continue to produce inferior copies with no self expression....you have missed the whole point of being an artist and the journey that it involves".
Having said that, if that is what you want to do...go ahead ....it obviously satisfies some need, but be aware that others may wish to go further and demand more of themselves.
So in summary:
A good tutor:
- Someone who pushes you to question everything!
- Someone who does not paint by formula.
- Someone who will not spoon feed you.
- Someone who recognises your contribution.
- Someone who is not there to boost there own ego.
- Someone who takes there work seriously.
- Someone who plans lessons well.
- Someone who will give you time.
- Someone who believes they are still learning.
- Someone who doesn't want you to merely be a "parrot"
A good pupil:
- Someone who will work hard.
- Someone who will take risks.
- Someone who will work in between workshops
- Someone who will ask questions.
- Someone who will not only be interested in the final result.
- Someone who is persistent.
- Someone who is open minded.
- Someone who is not there to boost their own ego!
- Someone with a sense of humour.
- Someone who has a love of Art.
So these are just 10 points I consider important for both tutor and student (there are more!)
In closing I would like to congratulate Sharon...one of these so called "groupies" of mine who entered her first exhibition recently and won the award for best watercolour. The wonderful thing about that is that I had not input or influence over that painting. She did the whole thing on her own and it was her own expression in paint! Well done!
I also congratulate these group of students that do continue to come to my workshops and tours...I am looking forward to continuing the journey with you....you have become not just students but friends! So let us all ignore the comments from others and continue to do what we do best...work together and move forward!
By the way, just to make it clear - I don't mind who people go to! I am not saying it has to be me (because even though I am good :), my style of teaching may not suit everyone ). It is not about me...it is about you...the student!
See you at the next workshop :)
This article is reproduced with permission.
Copyright 2010 - Charles Sluga
For more on Charles and to view or purchase artwork visit.....
Deborah O'Sullivan Art
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