I was fortunate to grow up in New Haven, Connecticut, not only because of the excellent art classes in public high school, and workshops in the city, but also, being able to visit the Yale Art Gallery often. It was my home away from home. After high school, I went to Rhode Island School of Design, earning my BFA in painting. On to New York where, after many years working as a graphic designer and art director, I came back to my true love — painting and drawing. I returned to painting via a wonderful watercolor class, taught by Judy Kunhardt, at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. (Judy was also the catalyst in launching my teaching career.) Watercolor is my main medium but included in my pursuits are drawing, collage, sketchbook journaling, photography, bookmaking, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. Teaching art excites me, challenges me and teaches me.
For more than 15 years, I have been teaching drawing and watercolor painting to adults. I mainly teach at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Public Library and the Westside YMCA. The ages of the students I teach range from 18 to 92. What I’ve found is that age is irrelevant when it comes to self-expression and skill-building. I find it especially gratifying to work with older adults who may have loved art as children but were discouraged from continuing with it as they got older. Most times, when participants come to the first class, they’re nervous and self-critical. So we always start with social time in order for participants to learn they’re among friends. A lesson-of-the-day follows, then working time (with one-on-one assistance) and, at the end of each class, a “gallery exhibit” when each participant talks about the artwork they have made — their difficulties and successes. Hearing the encouragement of others and, in turn, encouraging others each week, the particpant’s confidence blossoms. Frame it, frame it, I always tell them. At first they laugh at the notion of framing their art but, by the end of a session or semester, they realize their art is something that should be honored.