Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Never Stop Learning

My motivation and inspiration for painting not only includes the joy of sharing my art with others but also the experience of personal growth in my skills as an artist. Last week I participated in five intensive days of group instruction with internationally renowned plein air artist, Morgan Samuel Price.

The week included daily demos and lessons by Morgan during the mornings. The group then applied the lessons-learned in the afternoons by painting at various Sarasota locations. I have to say that the week was both exhilarating and exhausting. What a week!

Before transitioning to become a fulltime artist, my primary career for the past 30 years revolved around corporate employee training and adult education. I guess once an educator always an educator, since I continue to be fascinated by the human learning process.  Last week, I experienced a perfect demonstration of a teaching and learning process that I used many times during my adult education career. It’s called, “behavior modeling.”

In a very simplistic nutshell, the behavior modeling process consists of:

1. An Explanation or Overview - The instructor discusses the objective and importance of the skill module and the specific behavior or critical steps of the activity to be learned.

2. A Demonstration - The instructor effectively utilizes the skill as the trainee observes.

3. Practice - The trainee practices the skill as the instructor observes.

4. Skill practice feedback - After the practice session, the trainee receives feedback from observers and the instructor that emphasizes things done correctly. Where the behavior or skill could have been more effective, alternative positive behaviors or skills are suggested.

When conducted well, this teaching and learning process is a very comfortable and effective fit for both the teacher and the student. My challenge now is to take the mound of information and skills that I picked up during that concentrated week and begin to apply it to my new works. As I continue to do that, I hopefully will experience something called "skill transfer" or in other words, personal growth.

Below, I've included one of my “almost completed” plein air studies of a garden sculpture that I painted on the grounds of the Ringling Museum last week. Since I usually spot a few things that I’d like to change once it’s back in my studio, I’ll be touching it up just a bit before it’s available for sale.
Have a great week, everyone, and keep on learning!

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