Just like most fine artists, I’ve had a career that made the money to live, and painting was my passion.
In my case, my “day job” has been instructional designer. I even have a Masters Degree in Education, in Instructional Technologies, from Virginia Tech. (Go Hokies!)
So, what is an instructional designer?
IDs (that’s what we call ourselves) design and develop courseware. Both synchronous courseware (like in-person classroom courses) and asynchronous training (like eLearning.)
In my case, I have spent the last twenty years creating corporate aviation training. Very detailed and stressful. Lots of moving parts. During the early 2000’s, I had put aside my paintbrush to focus on my career and family. But about seven years ago, I picked it back up as a way to relax after a day spent on the computer, programming and creating detailed graphics and animations.
Fast forward to two years ago, when my husband retired and we moved to New Bern, North Carolina, a beautiful small town on the coast with a huge art community. I now have my own studio space, and am represented in a local gallery. I teach watercolor classes.
And that brings us to 2020. The year of Covid-19 and social distancing. As a distance learning professional, I have been watching with fascination as kids and adults have been forced to move to a virtual classroom. (It’s been kind of a mess.)
Even more fascinating has been watching the art world attempt to teach tactile skills on a non-tactile delivery system. If you have ever taken a painting class, you know it is both observation (watching your instructor) and then personal instruction with immediate feedback (i.e. your instructor is walking around, looking over your shoulder, and giving you assistance.)
I have to admit, in the past, my ID-self and my artist-self never mixed. But I was recently asked to teach (what was originally going to be an onsite) an online class.
And I had one of those “smack my head” moments. Um, yeah. I am an award-winning watercolor artist who teaches. And I have vast experience in online training.
Makes sense to combine the two skills and create learning experiences designed for specifically for artistic learners. Courses that give step-by step learning, exploration, and on-time feedback.
Serendipity. I am pretty excited about this!