From Photography to Oil Painting

Chance Encounters

private art lessons nyc photography v1I am ever fascinated by the way that we often stumble accidentally into people and opportunities that end up taking our lives in different directions. I did not grow up thinking that I wanted to be a painter. I arrived at college in beautiful Boulder, Colorado with an interest in photography, and when it came time to choose a major, I thought perhaps photojournalism or something of that nature would suit me. Truth be told, I had no idea what I wanted to study. The thought of traveling the world taking pictures sounded romantic and exciting, so, being 18 years old and full of confidence, I was convinced that I had it all figured out. I learned that in order to take a photography class, I needed to declare fine arts as my major, and so I did.

Though I enjoyed my time in the darkroom developing my photos (mostly of the mountains that I could not stay away from), I soon discovered that photography was not my medium.  It was a combination of boredom and one awful professor that drove me, rather swiftly, to abandon my camera.  The silver lining was one that I did not discover right away. Searching for a new passion, I continued my coursework.  As a fine arts major, students were required to take an introductory course in everything; drawing, painting, sculpture, digital media, etc. It was late in my second semester that I attended my first course in oil painting.  I haven’t put my brush down since. 

private art lessons nyc oil painting brushes v1Alex was my first private student.  He had come across my website, and contacted me with an interest in learning to paint.  He wanted instruction, but like many he found it hard to focus in a classroom setting, and wasn’t getting the attention he felt he needed from his instructors.  We met over a cup of coffee to discuss his goals and interests, and by chance found that we had much in common.  I recognized his eagerness to learn the craft of painting, and his desire to find his own voice as an artist.  He reminded me of myself ten years earlier. 

I worked with Alex intensively, at least two days a week for about six months.  I introduced him to oil painting and all the pleasures and challenges that come along with it.  He learned the process of stretching his own canvas and how to prepare the surface; to mix colors and how to use his materials.  We worked hard at training both his hand and his eye.  After six short months, Alex was making paintings that were really starting to feel like his own.  I watched as his work evolved and his interest grew deeper. 

The experience was an enlightening one for the both of us.  Alex discovered his passion for painting, and I learned more about myself as a teacher by helping him to do so.  Alex is currently earning his Bachelors of Fine Arts at the the Savannah College of Art and Design.  I look forward to keeping up with him and his work for years to come.

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