Statement of Teaching Philosophy

My long-range goal as an instructor is to encourage confident expression and a strong work ethic among graduates.  The more immediate goal is to build students' confidence by arming them with the information, skills and practices necessary to reach their artistic goals.

I believe that a successful foundation in any discipline begins with an exposure to as many mediums and working methods as time and facilities allow. I use traditional drawing and painting exercises, but often introduce nontraditional materials as a way of dispelling preconceived notions and breaking familiar habits.

My lessons are based on my experiences as a student, painter, teacher, and maker of moving images. Because I believe some of the most interesting work happens when several processes are involved, I encourage collaboration or revisiting earlier work. Though the syllabus may follow a linear format, we often return to concepts discussed early on. Design principles are discussed in every class, because we always need to balance light, dark, thick, thin, sharp, round, flat, glossy, stagnant and chaotic areas in our work. I show examples from different artistic genres in order to reinforce students' understanding of particular principles, characteristics and techniques. This encourages interdisciplinary experimentation. Can painters employ a pen-and-ink methods of shading, or would that defeat the purpose of using paint? What are the parallels between organic shapes and organic sounds? What do they feel like, and how can a 2D image translate that feeling? These are the kind of questions they learn to ask themselves.

I hope that graduating students continue to ask questions of themselves and their world through their art. I believe that making art helps us to examine what really matters to us, and we evolve as our art evolves. I hope to assist student artists in finding their unique creative voices by teaching them the working methods of artists before them, and then encouraging them to experiment, reflect, and present their own work professionally.