Do you enjoy teaching or making art more?

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I just completed a private class for 2 days. It was such a fun and exciting class and the response from the 2 women was fantastic!  It was the first time students created on a larger surface and for more than one day.  Each one did an amazing job of making their idea come to fruition.  I was really pumped from that class.  Whenever I teach, I always have a knot in my stomach before class starts.  I associate it with stage fright.  It does not feel good! I know I am prepared, yet it happens every time I teach.  It is always for naught.  I relax in a few minutes after starting, and I am successful. Of course, there are times when I think I am not explaining a technique clearly enough, or when students struggle through each step.  Teaching is very satisfying for me, though.   I especially enjoy when students are immersed in their work and “get it’.  I would guess that teachers of all kinds have the same feelings when the lightbulb goes on for students.  I have been blessed by the number of students who have taken my classes!

It is impossible to make a choice between teaching and creating.  I can squirrel up in my studio and get lost in the process, quite easily.  I like the solitude and the freedom to move at my own pace.  Most often, I stare at my work more than I am actually “creating”.  I always thought the only way I could thrive was being around people. The interaction with the world fed me, excited me, and nurtured me.  I thought I could not work alone.

When I stopped working at the coffee house, I struggled with the silence.  How could I get anything done?  What was feeding me? Who would I interact with?  What would motivate me?  What good is being alone and not interacting with others?  I know some of you are laughing at that statement because I am such a chatterbox!  It’s strange though, I cannot do serious artwork in a group setting.

When I finally surrendered to the stillness, I discovered it was quite nice!  I became comfortable being with myself.  I discovered how to enjoy the “me time”.  I am very fortunate to have such a supportive husband who encourages me to be creative.  I work for several days at a time when I don’t see anyone except Robin, and it is glorious.

Then, I begin to feel lonely.  I know it is time to step out into the world again and interact with people.  It doesn’t have to be a class, but I need to spend some time talking with people.  I am a social butterfly and enjoy the company of others.  I am fed and charged when I have opportunities to be with friends.  Teaching fills that need and although I know students are rewarded from taking a class, I often think I get more from it than they do.

The bottom line is this:  I need both teaching and creating time.  I am content working alone, and I am inspired when I am teaching, because I really do love to see and hear what other people are thinking about and to see their ideas!  The satisfaction I feel when going home after teaching a class is wonderful.  I am always tired, but the gratification I feel is always similar to the “buzz” of finishing a painting. It is just “delightful”.

I need both!

Go and make art.