I have been so excited with my students’ progress and I’ve been wanting a chance to let them shine. When Michelle Neidermeyer approached me about doing a show at Lost Acres Vineyard I thought, “What a perfect fit and perfect venue for this to happen.” You are invited to the opening reception on May 3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Lost Acres Vineyard, 80 Lost Acres Rd.
For the past few years I have watched my adult students evolve from true beginners to accomplished painters. It has been such a joy to witness. I have been a fulltime artist and art teacher for 39 years and I truly love to share the knowledge I have gained with others. My teaching style has evolved over these years into a method that has proven to be so effective—essentially copying. After all isn’t that what students throughout art history did for centuries?
Let me explain a bit about my process. I work from a carefully planned reference photo, because it is simpler for students to work from a reference that is already two-dimensional. During “demo day” I create a painting in front of the class, explaining my process and decisions as I go. I upload step-by-step photos along the way to my teaching blog. This allows my students to watch and absorb without feeling like they have to remember every detail during the demo, and repetition is a key to success. The students go home and try to recreate what I have done, visiting the blog, as well as their written notes.
The next class begins with a critique where I go over each painting, bringing out its strengths and areas that could improve. It is a joy for all to see the similarities and differences of each student’s interpretation of the same reference photo and a very powerful learning tool. Students learn as much from each other as they do from my instruction. This method continues throughout an eight week session with three weeks to work on each of the two demo ideas and then two weeks at the end for independent exploration.
Here are a few observations from my students:
“I had never truly considered myself to be artistic however through my participation in Laura’s watercolor class I have discovered I am capable of producing a painting that is a piece of art. Having participated in Laura’s watercolor class I feel I also have a new appreciation of the world around me. I find myself noticing more carefully the colors in the clouds, the shadows among the trees and the texture of things such as rocks and shells.” —Karen Forbes
“I get really overwhelmed when attempting landscapes because they’re usually complicated images. Laura is helping me to break them down into distinct shapes then layer the parts back in so that everything appears to either come forward or recede naturally.” — Audrey Lampert
“My experience with Laura has been life altering. As one who has relied heavily on verbal skills throughout life and career, I have benefited astronomically by her gentle guidance and her never failing ability to find a lovely nugget, no matter what I have presented to her. Her laser-like feedback has honed our skills and ability to see and appreciate our world.” —Joyce DeFrancesco
“Laura’s critiques are so helpful. She can suggest a few simple changes in a painting, which make all the difference in the finished work.” —Judy Sturgis