Produced by Dave Fessenden
On Teaching Watercolor painting
If there is such a thing as a pre-ordained teacher, I might be in the running. That role would not have been a common prediction for me, my family or those who knew me as an exceptionally shy teenager. There is no more scary a proposition for me than to speak in public. In order to accept these personal inadequacies I imagined the worse situation, being in front of an audience teaching and compelled myself to enter into it.
Early on and almost by chance, I adopted the attitude that has helped immensely. I knew I did not know everything, even things essential for any one subject. But, by adopting the role of “learning facilitator” and “simultaneous learner”, I could take some of the pressure off myself and adjust expectations of me for not being the “expert.” It allowed me to freshly share the passion and emotion of discovery. I have found no reason to change. I remember that if any student discovers it for the first time, it is then and again absolutely NEW. I also do not change my delivery for any adult in my presence from 14 to 84 years; they are all treated with respect and equal dignity and grasped what I had to deliver in relation to their own capacity.
I found sharing openly the passion and joy I was experiencing when designing and more recently watercolor painting was liberating for others I was attempting to teach. I reached to be an enabler, to create a self starting and self correcting self supporting designer and or now painter.
Never fully comfortable with a lecture format, and thinking it was not anyway the best means to deliver information, I was always prone to demonstration, workshop and orchestrated/ guided conversation. That has been a direct translation into my teaching of watercolor.
My style is then an active step by step guided exploration of techniques that have worked for me. I have learned long ago that if I was not learning I could not continue to do it. So teaching watercolor is an inspirational boost to make me pay attention to the basics. I do know but which are so very easy to let slip if you are not fully enough attentive. Teaching watercolor is not a drain for my work as an artist, it is through my adopted method a source of inspiration.
Touchstone Concepts of Teaching Watercolors
Some of the touchstones of teaching watercolor have resulted from many years of teaching design and in more recent year’s watercolor:
- think it through and be prepared
- engender a “can do attitude”
- use the precious commodity of others time efficiently
- break down tasks into small digestible components
- instruction through in action
- demand full involvement of student
- work logically and in an orderly fashion
- spend time on details early
Teaching and Demonstrations
Walter Cudnohufsky has enjoyed many opportunities to share his watercolor techniques through regular teaching in Ashfield, MA and informal demonstrations:
- Snow Farm Arts School Williamsburg, MA
- Easthampton, MA Art Appreciation league
- Tower Hill Boylston, MA
- Berkshire Botanical Garden - Stockbridge, MA
- Lenox Garden Club, Lenox, MA
- The Lenox Gallery of Fine Art, Lenox, MA
- Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, MA
- Intensive Watercolor Workshops, Beldingville Library, Ashfield, MA twice monthly
- Ashfield Farmers Market, MA
- Deerfield Valley Artists Association, Deerfield, MA
- Artist lecture series, Ashfield, MA
- Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, MA
- Lunt Silversmiths, Greenfield, MA
- Sharon Arts Center, Sharon, NH
- Up Country, Greenfield MA
- Moose Hill Audubon Center, Sharon MA
- Woodstock Artisans Festival, Woodstock VT
- Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC (1996)
- The Art Loft, Erving MA (1995)
- Potumpuck Valley Memorial Association
- Elmers Store – Ashfield, MA
- Sharon Arts Peterbrough, NH paint-out weeks