La Conner, WA
I teach three ongoing weekly classes, two acrylics and one watercolors, at both the Anacortes and Burlington Senior Centers. I teach all levels TOGETHER, no "beginners," "intermediate," or "advanced." My theory is that my students all learn together and learn from each other. Since many of them are snow birds, or have other activities, all of my classes are drop-in. I teach in two-month themed series. We just finished a series called "All Creatures Great and Small," animals with fur, feathers and fins. I send multiple references and lessons by email, and they can choose to bring their own reference, if it relates to the lesson, so their work doesn't look like "paint-by-number."
I love watching my students grow. We have a critique at the end of class. They have to say first what they like about their work, and then what needs improvement. I want them to have a positive feeling of accomplishment, so we try to get pieces finished or almost finished in each class. These are not masterpieces, but studies. I believe that you need to assume a person can DO something, so I just assume that folks can learn to paint, and they do. I believe has creativity in their soul, and wants to learn ways to express themselves, no matter what time in their lives.
I have taught folks up to 99 years old, but also taught home school kids. Three people attended class to within weeks of dying. One woman told me I kept her "alive" for three years longer than she expected to live! She was still emailing me until the day before her death. Some say to me that coming to class is the highlight of their week. I think that whatever creative passion one has in their later years, whether it’s for painting or other art-making, if they explore what that means to them, it can really be an important element of positive aging.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website