I don’t think I’d want it to be a business, but I thought it would be fun to try a party. My friend since 1st or 2nd grade – Jen, who follows me on Instagram, asked, “Can I paint with you?”
So, when I was visiting her beautiful new home on Saturday, I brought my painting supplies. I figured I could try things out and see if I ‘d even want to try it on a group of people. A few days before, I tried teaching my young niece and my immediate thought was, “I don’t want to do this.” But armed with what I learned from my experience with my niece (who had been very happy painting what she felt like) I had the framework of a plan. My niece wanted to paint what she wanted to paint. That is part of the challenge – how do you teach people and “control” what they are working on, so you can guide them, but also allow them to be free to follow their own inspiration?
Here how I approached my lesson with Jen:
- scrap paper – first I explained the fundamentals of watercolor and we practiced – wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry, etc.
It is really funny how people, who don’t normally create, feel pressure with that blank piece of paper. Jen asked, “What should I paint?” I think she felt like she was being tested. I explained it was “scrap” paper and we were just learning.
- first assignment – draw lightly in pencil any shape and create an interesting background
The object of this assignment is to start playing with watercolor without stressing about what it’s suppose to be. Jen drew a heart in the middle. I drew a starfish. We kept our shapes dry and wet the area all around it. We concentrated on creating interesting backgrounds. I worked along with her on my own painting showing her different things I do, so she could use any techniques she wanted to. We let the backgrounds dry before we painted the shape.
- final project – what do you want to paint?
I knew Jen was interested in painting a beach chair, so we found a photo for inspiration. (This will be more challenging for a group. I’ll have to have projects/photos ready for them to pick from.) The chair itself was really hard to draw. She started drawing it, I finished it up, but I was struggling. I guided her on what area to paint first, and talked her through the painting as needed. I was happily amazed at how quickly she picked up how to use watercolor – how wet the brush should be, when to add water, when to add paint. There was only once or twice that I interrupted to offer advice. One thing she said afterwards stuck with me. She said, “You made me feel like it was okay to mess up.”
It is really, really, satisfying to see someone experience that moment. That proud, “I made this,” moment. The same moment I had, a few years back, when I drew my bear. It’s the reason that there is a bear in my logo. For me it represents that moment. I may be hooked on spreading this joy! 🙂
P.S. Today she is online shopping for watercolor paints – wow.