Art is not as relativistic
and abstract as it’s been
made out to be.
teachers along the way who’ve taken the
time to give us personal feedback.
I see essentially two different methods
of teaching: one-way and two-way, and
they both can be effective. Most distance-learning art programs (online and DVD)
consist of providing how-to lessons for
art: how to draw a bird, how to shade,
how to paint. These skills can easily be
The alternative is the two-way approach. You’ll have to search, but finding a
teacher who will patiently guide you along
can be a wonderful, even life-changing,
experience. A student doesn’t know what’s
wrong until he knows what’s right, and
you cannot know what’s right until you
have the ability to discern the two. That’s
where a good teacher can point out what
to work on next, and when.
Which approach is right for your child
depends on your goals. If you just want
to get your feet wet and try some new
things, then the step-by-step video can
be sufficient. However, if you’ve already
played around with materials and now
need direction based on your work, then
feedback instruction is the next step.
If your child is looking for advanced
teaching, particularly in preparation for
college or career, then finding a proven
teacher is important.
So Many Choices . . . Oh, My!
With many art programs to choose from,
here are four criteria to help you sort
through the many offerings, whether it
be a one-way or two-way system.
1. First, look at the quality of the teacher’s own work. How does it compare to
the museum standards?
2. Second, sample a lesson. Not everyone is a good communicator, which is a
must for teaching.
3. Third, get feedback. If other parents rave about a teacher and the results
they’ve seen in their children, that’s a
4. Last, check to see if the teacher has a
planned approach to teaching. Purpose
trumps flying by the seat of your pants here.
Other things to consider are your
schedule, format (e.g., DVD, online), and
cost. Good programs will offer a sample
lesson to try risk-free.
beautiful, reflecting the image of the ultimate Artist.
As parents, we nurture our children
along, wondering how God will use
them to His glory. My kids have tried
many different things, and suddenly one
activity or endeavor strikes a chord like
no other. Providing ample opportunities
is like faithfully watering the garden; in
His perfect time, God will sprout that
seed. It is like seeing art on a canvas suddenly take shape and become something
“Art presents two delights: to inspire and
be inspired. Painting and teaching provide
both,” says Virginia artist Tim Chambers.
A lifelong artist, Tim founded Iguana
Paint.com, an online art curriculum for
“serious fun.” Contact Tim Chambers at
email@example.com. For information about his online art classes, visit