How I became a teaching artist...

I am one of those annoying people who knew what they would do when they grew up and actually did it. I know, it's annoying, isn't it? Sometimes people wonder and actually ask me about how this happened. You know, like I was handed a little card that said "ARTIST" and then I magically stepped through a cloud of colorful dust and...... poof!

Well, it kind of did happen like that.  So here's the story....

(Skipping past the sad part when I explain why I closed my first business to open this one)

I opened this business as an art gallery in 2002 and represented over 50 local CNY artists. In the 2 years prior, I was painting, competing and selling in local and regional art events. I was member in many art communities and on the board of a couple small art guilds and planned several art events annually. (I'm not one to sit around!)

I was really struggling on so many levels. And my art was showing it.

But less than a year of owning and operating the gallery in a little river side location, a man walked in and changed everything for me.

This gentleman stepped into the gallery and browsed for only a few minutes and asked which paintings were mine. I thought he was just looking to buy some art and maybe sizing me up to see if I was an artist or just a shop owner...and he was. Within minutes, the conversation turned into art-making questions. And he asked me, " Do you offer lessons?" And I said no.

Well, this sweet man, a recently retired city school principal, came back and asked me about lessons...and came back again! Needless to say, he broke me down. I put together a little watercolor lesson, which was (and still is) my favorite medium. He was a tough student, but dedicated and committed to learning as much as he could.

Within a couple of months I had a small class of 6 students and they still come to classes with me every week. Not just to learn art....but because we have built a beautiful community of supportive and inspiring people who love creating together.