Through half a connection via someone else’s connection I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with a woman who is part of an art group. I had heard through my half connection that they are possibly looking for tutors to do demonstrations or teach or do workshops, possibly, and since that’s something I have done, and have a lot of experience with, I mentioned that I may be able to help them.
To that end I was invited by the art group to go along one day last week to say hello and introduce myself and take some of my artwork to show them. Since I do so many different types of art, and thought a good selection would be: a pencil drawing of an old mans face to show control of pencil, and being able to do faces, and being able to draw fine details – two pen and ink drawings of Repton Church and Cross and the Old Priory, to show that I can draw buildings, can draw tones, and can do pen and ink work – two acrylic paintings of seascapes with sunlight reflected on the surface of the sea to show that I can paint in acrylics, and sunlight – a watercolour of tiger cubs to show that I can paint in watercolour and do animals – a painting in acrylics of a large tree with sunlight and shadows and people below in sunlight showing I can paint sunlight and shadows and people in a landscape – the “Home is where the heart is” canvas to show I can paint on canvas and do sunsets, the “Refreshing the spirit” canvas to show I can paint trees, glades, and streams – the “Naked Desire” oil painting of the back view of a nude woman to show that I can paint in oils, and paint people – one of the white Conte pencil drawings on black card to show that I can paint nudes – one of the Conte pencil on cream pastel paper to show that I can do life drawing. A good selection of everything… but mostly landscapes.
When I got to the venue I was welcomed with smiles and given a cup of tea and invited to put my artwork out for them to come and have a look at. I did that and asked the room if it was ok to give them some background detail as to who I was and my experience.. and they nodded yes that was fine. I did that in about five minutes and asked if there were any questions from any of them to me, and one asked if I could motivate her.. and I smiled and said “Of course!” because I knew I could. I knew that whatever the people in that room wanted help with I could help them. And I don’t mean that in a big-headed way, but in a quietly confident way that I had experience of how they were learning, who they had learnt from, and what help they were probably needing. But just to make sure I asked if it was ok to go around and ask each of them individually.. and again got nods from them..
They were all at work drawing various subjects as I went to the first woman on the right hand side since she had made some comments earlier – I asked her name, which she happily gave me, and asked what she liked to draw, which medium she preferred, what she didn’t like, and what she wanted to learn more about. I wrote her answers down, and worked my way around the room asking the others in turn the same questions. I got varying replies, some liked flowers, some liked animals, some liked landscapes, some wanted to improve drawing faces…
Until the last but one in the room.
Who wouldn’t look at me. Wouldn’t give me her name. And told me not to talk to her. And after being somewhat nonplussed at her response, I went back two minutes later and asked quietly why she wouldn’t give me her name and got the reply “I don’t like the sort of art you do”.
Ok, I thought, and left her to it.
I left a short time after that since they were going to be packing up soon and thanked them all for the tea, and knew that they will want to discuss it amongst themselves as to whether they want me back, or will want to learn anything from me at some point in the future. I felt that I got the point across as well as I could in the time I was there that I could help them, and have a lot of art knowledge to help them. Well, all but one, maybe!
And after thinking about it for a couple of days am still puzzled as to that negative response from her.
I don’t expect that everyone likes everyone else’s art, not at all. There are some artists work I don’t like. Including some famous names that others love!
I’ve been to a only a couple (of about 100) workshops where I thought a tutor wasn’t that brilliant, or their art was lacking, or I didn’t feel a massive rapport with them. I’ve been to an art workshop where the tutor wanted to show us how to sharpen pencils ! (Er, I think everyone in this room already KNOWS how to sharpen a pencil!!) and I’ve been to an art workshop where I disliked the tutors agonisingly slow way of teaching (as that method means that everyone in the room goes as slow as the slowest pupil in the room, when the fast ones like me want to move on and get going). But even then, when I didn’t feel a massive rapport, when I felt some negative reactions to that specific workshop, I still made eye contact with the tutor, I still gave my name, and I still had some communications with them.
So, I can only presume then, that it was because of the nudes, because what else was there that she didn’t like about me, enough to be so angry?
I may never find out, the art group may not want me to go and do a demo for them, or they might book me for loads, its their choice when they’ve all had chance to discuss it in their group. And that’s the thing about art, you like it, or you don’t. And if you’re switched off from it, maybe you can never be switched on. Although having a conversation about it at least means you can find out the opposing side.