How did I start teaching?
Published on August 20, 2020
I asked my beloved newsletter subscribers, blog readers, and Instagram fam: what questions or things would you ask or want to learn from me if I invited you over to my studio.
I thought MAYBE — just maybe — if I’m lucky 15-20 people might respond.
As of today I have received over 400 questions!!!!
So I want to thank each and every person that took the time to respond on the question form, as well as all of the lovely people that sent me an email and posted on Instagram too.
Please understand that it will be close to impossible for me to answer or address everyone’s question. But these amazing responses have provided me with huge insight into what is tugging at the hearts and causing struggle in the creative practices of so many artists. My teacher mind has been on overdrive dreaming up fun, creative, and healing things I can create to serve my peeps’ needs. So thank you. I am beyond grateful for this tender knowledge and promise to put it to good use starting today as I answer a question below.
Today’s question comes from Kita who asks:
I wanna know how you started to offer art courses. Did you start with online-courses? Or did you offer courses for people “around the corner”? What exactly did you do that people found out about your online-coursess you offer? So thrilled to hear about that from you.
Thank you for your questions Kita!!!
I have been teaching art professionally for over 25 years. I actually have degrees in painting, art history, and art education. I spent 8 years as an art teacher at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 2 years as an art teacher at the Akron Museum of Art, and over a decade teaching in numerous public, parochial, private schools and art organizations and residencies.
I started teaching art online in 2008 with my blog/business Dirty Footprints Studio. My very first eCourse I ever created was called Art Journal Love Letters and my very first in-person workshop that I hosted through my own business was called Creative Dig — that was in 2009.
In 2010 I created my first 21 SECRETS mixed-media program. (This was the first artist collective workshop of its kind ever!) I published 21 editions of this program spotlighting the work of over 300+ teachers before calling it done last year.
I started my Painting The Feminine eCourse in 2012 and have been teaching that every Spring and Fall ever since. I’ve also taught numerous other online eCourses, started my IGNITE Teacher Training in 2012, and have taught my Paint FEARLESS retreats in Mexico, Costa Rica, Sedona, Washington, Florida, and Ohio.
I think it’s obvious, but I’ll state it anyway — I have a deep, deep love for teaching. A deep love.
If you’re curious about the details of my journey as a teacher — I made you a 30 minute video below telling my whole story.
Though, it’s important to state that the online world was a completely different animal back then, when I started. Blogs were a big deal. There was no Instagram and Twitter was only a teeny tiny infant. There were no algorithms to deal with or Facebook ads to scroll through and the internet felt full of possibility, creativity, and excitement.
Being online for over a decade now, I have watched artists, trends, and cool technologies come and go. I have seen the internet do amazing things politically as well as watch as it tears the fiber of my own country a part. I have witnessed budding artists gain quick fame and fortune on the internet and then disappear months later never to be heard of again.
I tell my students all the time that being an artist — no matter if your focus is online, offline, or both — is a risky business to get into. You have to really love it. I mean deep in your bones kind of love.
The reason why this love is so important is because love will sell your workshops faster and better than any add, app, or marketing gimmick will ever do. I tell you this, because this is my recipe for success. Love and trusting my own inner wisdom has been my guiding force my whole entire career. (CHECK OUT MY VIDEO!)
Have I failed? Fallen on my face? Messed up big time? Yes, yes, and yes. I’ve put things up for sale that bomb completely. I’ve lost thousands of dollars on retreats that never happen — but I keep going — I keep finding a way.
Because I love art. I love what I do. I love my students to the moon and back and believe with all my heart, body, and soul that art is important. That art heals. That art can change lives.
That’s why I also tell my students that being an artist is the best career to get into as well — just look around, the whole world is overflowing with suffering. Pick the place of suffering you can do the most good in and bring your art there.
My greatest secret to being a successful artist both online and off for over 25 years is that I LOVE WHAT I LOVE AND I TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT IT.
This is also the guiding philosophy behind my IGNITE Teacher Training program.
Registration officially opens today — but I’ll be honest with you. Two weeks ago I privately opened registration to my beloved students and IGNITE is now past the half-way point of being filled.
Yep, there are only a few spaces left to come join me and a circle of amazing women as we set the world ablaze next year with creativity, beauty, healing, and joy.
I must stress that IGNITE is NOT a certification program. You will NOT come out of IGNITE teaching like me or having a certificate in something that hundreds of other people have as well. Instead, IGNITE is designed to help you be YOU as an artist so you can love what you love and gain the tools, methods, and approaches I have used for over 25 years to create programs, workshops, eCourses, and retreats that will help you powerfully spread your message, your passion, and your creative joy with others.
If you feel like me and believe that the world needs artists now more than ever but you need guidance, support, accountability and most of all a creative circle of artists to deepen your path as an artist and teacher with — please consider joining IGNITE.
Also don’t be afraid to CONTACT ME and let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like to chat.
IGNITE is not for everyone, that’s for sure. But it is for women who are ready, riipe, and eager to embody their artist soul, love what they love, and help help others do the same.
Thank you for your lovely question Kita. CLICK HERE if you would like to ask me a question as well.