Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Virtual Learning

Work in Progress
After the Rain 14 x 18

I laid in this painting about a month ago in preparation for the demo I did last month. The lay in sat around in my studio, and then this week the rainy sky seemed to provide the right idea to finish it. This is very rough-just the initial dry brush under painting and a first pass on the sky. I seem to be a little bit obsessed with fence lines and windbreaks at the moment, so there will be more coming soon I'm sure.

I've been thinking this week about how the art world- and more specifically, my little corner of it- is changing. The most obvious change is how virtual connections have expanded our opportunities as artists to show and sell our work. But, all this activity in cyber space also encourages new ways of learning. My husband has been bugging me to organize some sort of virtual workshop for artists who would like to study with me, but are not able to make it to a class here in Texas. I like the idea for several reasons. Although face to face learning is undoubtably the best choice, I know that often a workshop experience- crammed into two, three or five days- can simply be too much information, too fast. A virtual class would give me a chance to provide more written material which could be read and studied on the participant's schedule and video demos which could be viewed many times rather than just one live session. Right now I'm thinking in terms of a blog that would be able to be accessed only by registered students and would have links to written material, video demonstrations and images, and where students could post comments and questions. This could be supplemented by video conference calls using Skype where work could be critiqued and discussed.

I'd really love to hear from anyone who has had any experience with an online class, particularly one involving visual learning. What worked, what didn't- was it a worthwhile effort and would you do it again? Or, from anyone else with ideas! Thanks!


Casey Klahn said...

Sign me up.

Good idea to look around to see what's been done. Much of the video demo material available at You Yube and the like are poorly done, IMO.

Knowing you, I get the idea that high quality will be your hallmark.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Deborah, I'm one of those who would love to take a class from you but can't make it to Texas right now. Also, I'm learning how to paint with transparent paint, so a workshop from you would be just what I need. I'd have to look into getting Skype, though. I've never taken an online class, but I'm definitely interested!

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Casey. I think one of the challenges would be to make sure the technology is easy enough and available to most people who would be interested. I'm not a techie so, it would have to be user friendly for me too!

Hi Janelle. Skype is free-you can just download it. But, you have to have a video cam- Logitech makes a good one for about $100 I think, although many newer computers have them built right in. Thank you for letting me know about your interest!

Linda Blondheim said...

I teach individual students online. I've never taught a big class that way. I try to taylor the students interests and focus on the areas they need to strengthen with my lessons. I also do critiques of their work each week. One lesson per peek is the usual format. No videos, but I use a scanner.

Sue Smith said...

What a lovely idea. I would love to take a class from you, too, where travel is not an issue.

David R Darrow does on-line streaming video of his painting demos, but you have to log in when he's doing them and while there is feedback it's more show-and-tell.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills said...

i would like to take a class from you too! I don't have skype either. or a video cam.
I have taken one other online workshop that was about a month long. A lesson a week. The group was about 5 and we communicated via a private blog. It worked pretty well.

Sydney Brown said...

I love your work and would be very interested in an online class. I have taken one years ago from Bet Borgeson, who works in colored pencil, and still teaches on line. I thought it was great! It fit conveniently into one's schedule, a private website gave the instructions and the students' work was posted there, and Bet gave thorough personal critiques to each student. We scanned our work and emailed it to her, but as I say, this was about 6 or 7 years ago. I definitely felt I got more help than I usually do in an "in person" workshop, and by doing it over time, I was able to absorb it better.

Deborah Paris said...

Hi Everyone. There is information about virtual classes now posted at Deborah Paris Fine Art.

Anonymous said...

I started in watercolors after a fine art photography career. I learned a tremendous amount from CD training videos. I found them more worthwhile than books, and I would prefer the CD medium to one-on-one lessons because I'm not at the one-on-one level in oils yet. The CD training enables me to learn at my own pace, producing my own images that I can learn from--i.e., it forces me to critique myself.
And CDs are a win-win situation. You make money from the cd's and I get to learn.

Making A Mark said...

Great idea Deborah - I've been thinking along the same lines - plus I have a twist I'll write to you about separately.