Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't Be Koi If You're Sharp Enough To Love Lettering

Gird your loins, I'm about to rant.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm one of those crafty types. Not crafty as in sly (well, maybe sometimes) but crafty as in paint and hot glue and stuff like that. I can't pinpoint the exact time when I discovered I was crafty, but I can remember my sister and I spending hours and hours melting colorful taper candles and crayons onto empty Chianti bottles, wine bottles, soda bottles and whatever almost empty booze bottles we could pilfer from the family liquor cabinet.

My mother didn't mind because it kept us occupied and out of her hair. We kept the mess confined to a table we set up in the sunroom which made Mom happy since she tended to get cranky when we made huge messes that the maid would have to clean up. My parents were (and still are) heavy smokers so we had an endless supply of matches, lighters and other incendiaries. I was 11, my sister 8 and my mother was oblivious.

Over the years I've had some of the best artsy/craftsy mentors in the universe. By sharing so freely with me they taught me to share freely with others. That doesn't mean that I would never teach some kind of class and charge people for it. I would if I was a better teacher. Unfortunately I'm really bad at it mainly because I have no patience can I say this? Ummmm....stupid people. I'm not talking about people who are a little bit slow and have trouble catching on. I have all kinds of patience for those who are really trying. It's the ones who are there and really don't care and aren't even trying that I want to strangle. And I think strangling a paying participant in my class might be frowned upon. Obviously I have some personal character issues to work on.

I've been doing lots of YouTube videos lately to share some of what I've learned over the years. Or what I learned just yesterday. There's always something new to learn. I'm not on any design teams nor do I have corporate sponsors on my blog so I don't have companies sending me free stuff in exchange for my art...and soul. I get no compensation whatsoever. I do it because I enjoy it and because now that I'm "retired" I have the time to do fun stuff like that. I do have an Etsy shop where I sometimes sell the stuff I make but that's mainly because if I don't get rid of some of my creations, they will take over my house. I create a lot. A LOT.

I do occasionally take classes, mostly online, to learn new stuff. Recently I signed up for a very popular class from a well known teacher in her genre. Let's call her Bob. Bob teaches classes on creative lettering, the kind you might use in an art journal. It's a self-paced class and I'm taking it slowly but enjoying it so far.

A few days ago I got a Facebook message from a friend, let's call her Sue. Sue sent a Facebook message to Bob asking her what kind of watercolors she uses. Most art/craft teachers have specific types of supplies that they prefer to use and I like to try the things they use because in my mind if I use the same supplies I will get the same results. I doubt that Sue is that naive, she just probably wanted to know if there was a better brand she should try.

Bob's reply to Sue was "You might want to take my [edited] class online, where I teach everything I use". Seriously? Bob refused to tell Sue what kind of watercolors she used unless Sue paid $35 for Bob's class. I was livid.

I can totally understand an instructor refusing to tell someone about a technique they invented and only teach in their class. That happens all the time and I might even do that. But to refuse to tell someone what kind paint they prefer? Why is that a secret? How is knowing that worth $35??

Well, I take Bob's class. Or at least I do now, I may be kicked out after this. And I will tell you for free what kind of watercolors she uses. I won't tell you her name or the name of her class because I don't want to get sued for libel, but if you love lettering you don't have to be too sharp to figure it out. Oh dang, I crack myself up sometimes!

Bob uses Sakura's Koi Field Sketch Box with 24 colors and a waterbrush. So now you know. The secret is out. I seriously doubt that I have caused Bob any kind of financial loss since most sane people would never pay $35 to find out what kind of paint she uses. Therefore I feel no guilt about talking about Bob behind her back and outing her without directly mentioning her name. Okay fine, I might feel a little guilt but that's just what I do.

Even though I am (or was) enjoying Bob's class and learning a few things from it, I guarantee you that I will never EVER take another class from her or give her one more dime of my husband's hard earned money. I have no respect for that kind of blatant greed. I totally understand having to make a living and would never expect her to give away her techniques for free. But knowing what kind of tools she uses will never enable anyone to copy or steal her techniques or class material.

Jackson Pollock used enamel house paint made by DuPont, Davoe and Reynolds.

Picasso used Sennelier brand paint.

Matisse used Linel paint.

Andy Warhol wasn't secretive about his technique for oxidizing copper paint...even though I could have lived my whole life without knowing that. You'll have to Google it for yourself.  

Shannon Green uses whatever she can find on the clearance rack.

Now you know.


Anonymous said...

Now THIS is why I love reading what you have to say and watching your create and share for the shear joy of it. Yes, I agree, you could most definitely teach classes in what you do and many would pay for that opportunity to learn from you. I do know one would never hold back information for free if someone asked's simply not in your character....that's what makes you a rockin' person!!


Unknown said...

OMG! I think there is something called inherent generosity. Shannon, you have it. You are very generous with your talent, time and knowledge and in my professional opinion (as a teacher) you are an awesome teacher. I have learned a lot from you over the "many" years I have known you. Now "Bob" on the other hand has just demonstrated selfishness. Next time spend your $35 on something/someone else who isn't stingy with their knowledge! Thank you for all the awesome videos and laughs. L

Beverly said...

Thanks for the info Shannon as u know I am taking Bob's class too and now with the info you provided I will not be taking your honesty and the knowledge u share...

Shannon Green said...

Aww, y'all are so sweet! I hope that Bob changes her ways before Karma does it for her.

Anonymous said...

Another outstanding post and I really admire you for your willingness to share.
Sandi m

Joanne said...

This pisses me off. Although Bob and I share the same firstt name... I won't take a class from her either! Thanks for your openness and willingness to share! You rock!

Katyoparty said...

Well holy hell Shannon--I've taken a couple of classes from Bob in the last few years and I had no idea she was like that. That's very disappointing to hear. I don't like that AT ALL.