Nov 21, 2010

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Art teachers are artists. Some may argue that we are artists first, and teachers second. Some may argue that art teachers are first educators and artists second. However you see it, we all got into this profession because we have some interested or love for art.  Additionally, most of us were art majors. I majored in Art at Luther College in Decorah, IA and minored in K-12 Art Education. Although my Master’s was in general education, It never dampened the ART of Education within me.  Notice the emphasis on art.  I like the fact that I got an art major. No one can take this away from me. Therefore, I find it important to continue to produce artwork in addition to teaching art. Below is the start of my art exhibition career, way back in college at my senior art show.

Truth #1: We are all artists and teachers

Truth #2: We all got into this profession because of a general interest in art

Truth #3: We should all be making artwork in addition to teaching

I try to uphold the “making art” portion of my career the very best I can.  Producing artwork takes time, and the way I see it, production goes in spurts. There is an ebb and flow to it. Sometimes you do it because someone wants you to for money. Sometimes you do it because you just feel like it. Sometimes you don’t make anything for months and that is ok, too.  To completely ban yourself from making art at all, though, after the rigourous work as an art major, would just be sad.

This brings me to share with all of you my other website, www. (which is a lot less active than The ART of Education, but exists, nothing less).  This site holds examples of art pieces I have created and are currently for sale.  I wanted to show how I easily can produce art on the side and simply post it to this static site, and leave it up for those to browse. If someone wants a painting I already have done, they can contact me. Easy!

For awhile I made quite it bit of extra cash on commissioned pieces. I have moved away from this for several reasons.  Number one, the consultation time is very tedious.  Number two, it seemed to be taking me farther away from painting what I loved, and therefore, I was much less motivated to paint and it was killing my spirit. Someone once told me no one can take my art away from me. I agree. Just because one area is resting for a while does not mean I can’t pursue it in the future.  Right now Art Education is taking most of my time, and that is ok!

Here are a few pieces I have created recently, that I am really happy with:

I have art in three local shops in the area, but recently two of them closed their doors, leaving me with a whole lot of inventory.  So, hopefully I can move some of this inventory for the holidays, which is always a very busy time for my painting business. If not, I will probably enter in some sort of art fair this summer.

Until then, I would love to hear from you what you think.

How do you balance the role of being both artist and teacher?

Is it important that teachers are also practicing artists?

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  • Anna

    Beautiful paintings Jessica! What type of medium are you working with? Are painting on masonite board, canvas, etc? Very cool- love all the texture and colors!!! I love to paint as well- prefer to use oils- I love to paint with thick layers and lots of color too! :)

    • Jessica Balsley

      Hi Anna!
      Mostly I am painting on 1/2 inch MDF board. I gesso it and then paint away using acrylics (sometimes oil). I like the flat boards because I can build a lot more texture then on a canvas. I paint mostly with a palette knife to get the rustic style.

  • monnik

    I still need to get over to see some of those paintings before they’re gone! (This is Monica from next door, BTW.)

    Just found your blog and have been perusing it tonight. Love it!