Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thank your teachers!

I began oil painting about four years ago. I didn't know the first thing about it. My career had been in graphic design and advertising...I knew how to create a nice ad* (I still do), but I didn't know anything about oil painting. Initially, when I made the decision to become a painter, I did some exercises in Charles Sovek's instructional book. After that I took a workshop with Kenn Backhaus. I was so surprised how in-person instruction ramped up my comprehension. I saw improvement in my efforts right away. Since that first workshop I have continued to take classes and about two workshops per year. I have had lots of compliments about how my work has gotten better every year. Would I have been able to improve so much in 4.5 years without my gifted workshop teachers? Not a chance! I list them here, in order of "appearance" and I publicly thank them all--without them I probably would have quit. With them..I learned a thing or two. Learning how to paint can be a frustrating undertaking. If you are serious about learning to out the best instruction available. You will never be sorry that you did. I know this seems like a long list...(and kind of a who's who list at that!)...but, this post is written in an effort to explain why and how I improved as much as I did in the time I did. When people say "Cellleeestte, how did you improve so much?"-- I'll send them a link to this post.

My Teachers:
Kitty Wallis My first plein air mentor. Kitty continues to advise me with structured critique sessions meant for the serious artist. Even though Kitty is a pastel artist and my medium is oil paint, art fundamentals are the same. I have also taken drawing classes with her. Kitty's drawing instruction is "unparalleled."
Kenn Backhaus You can find 5 days of my daily "reviews" of my first workshop with Kenn on Wet Canvas.
Jeff Burke Drawing instructor at Hipbone studio. I've taken his anatomy series. An incredible value.
Eric Jacobsen My most regular instructor. I've taken Eric's classes as often as I can. His classes and workshops are first rate. He was trained at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT. I made my biggest most noticeable advances because of my work with him.
Mitch Baird When Mitch started teaching workshops, I signed up immediately. Can you see why?
Elio Camacho Elio studied with Ovanes Berberian and Ovanes Berbarian studied with Sergei Bongart..whose instructor learned from Nicholai Fechin. What a pedigree! I've taken two workshops with Elio and will take a third next summer.
* My graphic design teacher who taught me everything I know about communication art is Robert Selby


Unknown said...

What a wonderful tribute to your teachers and mentors! The importance of instructors cannot be overstated. I hope they read your blog!

Unknown said...

Whow Celeste!
you had some great teacher, i could spend hours looking at their staff. Thanks for sharing, you are a true friend af the artist! I have not been as smart as yourself and only attended one workshop. That was with
David Lussier and Pamela Simpson, and i own a lot to them, it was the better thing I could have done. I really appreciate your insight Celeste , happy painting

ArtSparker said...

I've had teachers who I only realized years later were really, really good.

selbydesigns said...


Learning is a two-way communication. It takes two to have it work. For a teacher to be at all successful it takes a student that is ready and willing to learn. You are one of the best students I've ever had the pleasure of participating with. You do your teachers proud.

Robert Selby

Christopher O'Handley said...

You're fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from so many terrific artists! I know several people who've studied with Backhaus, and they all say great things about him. I hope to take one of his workshops someday.

My biggest influence has been Marc Hanson...both back when he was a wetcanvas regular, and later when I took one of his week-long workshops. He did a great job, by the way. Also took a workshop with Albert Handell...not as much "teaching" but he was very inspirational.

Bernie Rosage Jr. said...

Sounds like you are on a great journey Celeste... our stories sound similar.