My First Teaching Class!

My First Teaching Class!

Psst…I taught a painting class.

In France.

And, it was just such a wonderful experience. It was seriously such a blast to do – that I now know that I need to keep teaching. And this is exciting and nerve-wrecking, all mixed together!

When I was first approached about teaching a class, my knee-jerk reaction was ‘Absolutely not‘. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think I was good enough to teach (I am a creature plagued with self-doubt when it comes to my craft). I mean, I’ve never even taken a painting class; what does a class even involve? I had no frame of reference and my ego, at first, said No, No, Don’t do it, you Numpty. You could bomb. You could be awful. My God, Diane – you can’t possibly expect people to fly to France to be taught by someone who has never been in a classroom. What are you insane??

It turns out that, yes, I am often quite insane. After a few sleepless nights and several cocktails, I decided that I should view this as an opportunity to test the waters. And so I said Yes. And then I had to deal with this weird experience of feeling overwhelmed with excitement and frozen with fear. And then I had a few more sleepless nights – with a few more cocktails thrown in for good measure. Just because that’s how I roll.

I’m quite upfront when it comes to my weaknesses (why hid it?), and I admit that my organization skills are pretty dire. Regardless of that, EVEN I knew that my first plan of action was to set the size of the class. It was my first class and I knew that I could easily be overwhelmed with a large group setting. So, 5 or 6 (max) students seemed like the perfect size – and I would teach a small image transfer class. There. First step completed.

Now, in the big realm of things (social media platforms, per se.) I have a healthy following on Facebook – but it’s not HUGE and because of this I wasn’t sure how welcoming companies would be to help sponsor the class. I had one caveat though: I would only use the products that I use consistently on a day-to-day basis. Even if I could get free product, if it’s not something I would generally use, then I’m not going to use it to teach. That doesn’t make any sense, right? So I reached out to the companies who manufacture the products I use and asked if they’d like to be a part of the class?

Wise Owl Paint and Cling ON Paintbrushes

Cling ON paintbrush S50 with Wise Owl paint in Tourmaline, Poseidon, Beeswax, Vintage Duck Egg. Java Glaze, Matte Varnish.

Artisan Enhancements

Image Transfer Gel, Crackle Tex, VP Antico, and Gold leaf sizing.

Iron Orchid Designs

I have no idea why I didn’t take a photo of the awesome molds from IOD!!!

Amazing Putty

Amazing Mold Putty, and Resin.

I was hoping that at least one company would want to partner up with me. And guess what? THEY ALL DID!!!!! Not only do these companies make exceptional products, they were so very kind to me and went above and beyond what I had hoped for.

So off to France I went.

The main focus on the class was to teach image transfer (the technique that I’m most known for). And while that, in itself, can be very time consuming, we were there for 7 days, and I felt that I needed to produce something else for the class. So I decided to do a bonus class making appliques for the project using Iron Orchard Designs molds (these would be gold leafed and attached to the project – and, if we had time, we would cast our own molds using Amazing Putty. Better to bring a full deck of cards, than a partial – right? Getting my ‘teaching’ head on and getting it to ‘fit’ took about 5-10 minutes (I’ll class this time as ‘shaky’). But suddenly it all fell into place – And I loved every stinking second of it!! Yes, the group size suddenly increased to 8 (which was beyond my control and a whole different show, as they say) – but we became a team – and I know I keep saying this but


Almost more fun than legally allowed (said the actress to the Bishop).

I had worked on a sample board at home a few weeks before the trip, and so this is what I wanted to recreate in the class. A simple wooden chopping board turned into a piece of art – using Monet’s painting.

At the beginning of the tour, we were lucky enough to visit Monet’s garden in Giverny; and I hoped that the women would leave feeling inspired (and for the record it’s actually really really difficult NOT to be inspired there – boy, it’s just breathtaking!).

I just wanted to skip down this path but, you know….barriers 🙁

So, in a small village in Central France, we sat in the courtyard and we began to create. And the weather was perfect!

Making moldings with Iron Orchid Design molds and paper clay. So easy and an endless amount of possibilities!

When the sun started to set, we moved the table indoors and continued on with the project.

Monet meets Artisan Enhancements Transfer Gel!

And let me tell you, the women were absolutely amazing!

They were so talented, so kind, so patient with me – I couldn’t have asked for a better first class. I held the class over the course of two days (one full day, and two half days). When you’re working on an image transfer, you need to let the transfer gel work overnight; the same is true for I.O.D paper clay. And, in my experience, image transferring is not a ‘rush’ job (although it would make my life so much easier if it was! ).

Gold Leafing by candlelight – does it get any better?

These women here, made my trip! I adore each and everyone of them.

The next day we spent painting the boards with Wise Owl Paint (we used Tourmaline, Beeswax, Poseidon, and Vintage Duck EggL all colors that would compliment the various Monet paintings I’d chosen). Once the boards were complete, and basking in the lovely French sun – we changed direction and started to cast our own molds. I’m relatively new to this product – but let me tell you, it’s a game changer! A GAME CHANGER!!!

Antique appliques from Belgium, getting ready to be cast!

Ideally, I had wanted to get all the women to stand together with their finished projects and I would take a fabulous photo, and everyone would be smiling and feeling proud; people would look at the photo and feel inspired to use the products, the companies would marvel at what a great job I did teaching the class, and recording it for them, and all the companies would share the photo on their social media platforms, and I would look at my students and shed a little tear – because pride gets to me that way BUT – this is me you’re talking to – and I completely forgot to take the photo!

I mean, C’MON seriously, who does that?? (silently raises her hand).

Here are a few of the finished boards.

Virginia’s masterpiece!

My first teaching class consisted of women with a natural gift to create. They each had their own vision and went for it – and I couldn’t be prouder. It was one of those instances in life where you think ‘My work is done here’ and you walk quietly off stage. One of those priceless Proud Mamma moments – in France, no less. So now they’re equipped with new skills and knowledge on how to use new and different products. I can’t wait to see what they create next!

If you want to try some of the products, are the links to the products used in the class:

For Wise Owl paint, glaze and ClingON paintbrushes: We used Tourmaline, Beeswax, Poseidon and Vintage Duck Egg. Java glaze. Matte Sealer. ClingON Shorty. I love the Shorty Brush.

Artisan Enhancement: Image Transfer Gel, Crackle Tex, and VP Antico, Foil size.

For European buyers:

For US buyers:

Iron Orchid Design molds and Air Dry Paper Clay.

(and they just released some absolutely beautiful trim moldings!!).

Amazing Mold Putty

So I’m not sure where this experience is going to take me – what route I’ll decide to travel along – but it will involve teaching. That I’m sure of. I just hope it’s as good as the last journey!

{insert catchy ending phrase here}

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Diane aka The Paint Factory

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