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September 2013

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Was the sketchcrawl REALLY just last weekend...?


Feb.9-sketchcrawl, originally uploaded by Cathy (Kate) Johnson.

Seems like weeks ago I painted this, rather than just last weekend...

Classes are well underway, with more than the usual amount of problems, both technical and communication-related...my brain is fried. CafePress FINALLY alerted me that my CD for the class was online...3 weeks after it should have been, with no reason given for the delay. The new replacement for eNuvvo, which I had been going to use for the classes, wrote me today to tell me they were up and running--they'd promised me by Feb. 1, glad I didn't rely on them for the classes. So lots of last minute scrambling to get things ready--or as ready as they could be gotten.

Much more complicated than it should have been, both for me and for the students...

I've been looking at how other online teachers do what they do...when I first started teaching my online classes I couldn't find any other art teachers giving workshops...I pioneered it, near as I could tell, anyway. Now there are many of us out there...I should try to touch base again!

A lot of universities and colleges now offer online classes...one of my friends who is familiar with all this (hi, Miss Lin!) tells me that they spend MUCH less time at it than I do. Much.

And that IS my problem. I start first thing in the morning, with my first cup of coffee...I try to work at it till noon, answering questions, reviewing work, etc., and then have the afternoon off, catching up with what's come in since in the evening. In reality, I tend to work past noon on class questions and work, then work on class stuff in the afternoon, plus fill orders and deal with other work--and Real Life, such as it is--then in the evening, again, till I go to bed at night.

I used to work weekends too...making every waking moment "on call." Um...this is not exactly brain surgery here. I don't need to be available 24/7. It's teaching art. Important, yes--very. But not urgent.

Granted, I love to share the delight in the process, I love to see someone "get it," I love for people to enjoy what they're learning, and I love to see other peoples' work, when it's inspiring or challenging. But I'm wearing myself down and have to figure out how better to organize my time.

I do take weekends "off," but often answer questions and park them in my draft file so I'm not just overwhelmed on Mondays...

Must. Find. Balance.

And I have to do so before Joseph moves here, when he retires--I have to find a better way. I just won't have the time available!

Lin's sharing a lot of what works for university classes...but it is, even for many of them, a problem of being inundated, overwhelmed.

I still need time to paint, to cook, to be a friend, to be there for my family, to read, to clean house, to take care of my other business, to wander outdoors, to meditate, to stare off into space...and I AM going to take it. One way or another...

Comments

(Anonymous)

Wow, what a whole lot to do! I can feel so deeply your sharp frustration and anxiety. I fervently hope you'll find a way to pull things back in balance---I KNOW you will.
I think you've learned something about online teaching from this particular class that will allow you to set different parameters next time, right? But that trouble you've had with your various suppliers---that couldn't have been foreseen and it just plain sucks.
Better day tomorrow? I hope so, sweetie.
Xoox,
L
Hi sweet Laura! Yes, I know a lot of things I plan to try NEXT time...for this one, it's too late for some of them. NEVER, NEVER try to teach from a CD and a book at the same time, unless they are identical. And not then either, really. Oy...double the work...double the confusion...

My wonderful moderator and I are working on an FAQ to point people to, when they have questions, rather than have to answer the same ones over and over...there are some stock questions I think we can just point to the FAQ. Of course writing it is just one more thing to do, so I'm letting Carol put it together (BLESS HER), with suggestions from the class, and I'll edit!

But yes, who knew the forums wouldn't work with my ISP's system till the week before classes started, and eNuvvo would close up shop just as I decided to use them instead. Their replacement was supposed to be in place February 1...it's the 13th...they're just launching beta...

And CafePress has NEVER dropped the ball like that, in all the years I've been working with them! Susan Robinson of Robinson Associates was marvelous to take up the slack, produce the CDs for us at literally the last minute--Sunday before the classes started on Tuesday--but that meant a lot of order fulfilling and cross-checking we normally don't have to do. What with my wordprocessing program crashing 10-15 times the last couple of days and various bits of Real Life popping up, I'm cross-eyed with fatigue...

Babble babble...

But YES, better day tomorrow!!! Today was better than yesterday, my husband got home safely through the ice storm and I got my lesson posted for the class (finally!) last night, so I'm hoping for another improvement on the morrow...
The contrast in values in your work is ALWAYS instructive to me. (Not to mention the hues, drafting etc.)
Well thank you! I really love contrast...must be that whole yin/yang thing. :-)

(Anonymous)

Fabulous!

Kate,
This is one of my very favorite recent paintings! Your work is soooo inspiring!
Shirley
http://www.paperandthreads.com

Re: Fabulous!

Thank you so much, Shirley! It was a real challenge since the values were so close...VERY much fun, though.

(Anonymous)

Cara -- your artwork, as always, blows off my socks -- it's stunning -- the perspective, color, simple CLEANNESS of everything -- the colors are just magic -- gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!

And hon, my heart hearts here ... we have to do something!

HUGS and hugs!
Thank you, Miss Lin...we WILL simplify this!

I was just horrified, because I'd planned this one to BE the first of the more simplified, streamlined classes, putting it on my own website and consolidating. Who could have imagined it could have gotten THAT completely different from what I'd aimed for?! Simple it is NOT. NO wonder the poor students are confused!

I've learned NOT to use the Flickr site for discussions ahead of time...class needs to start when class STARTS, not weeks ahead of time. Then when I've got both sites going, I can't keep up with posts that turn up in the discussion section of Flickr. I've told folks that, but things still get missed, so I'll do it again...I felt really bad that I'd totally missed Sandy's question. Thank goodness Brenda saw it and helped.

I also won't waffle about taking weekends off. I'll announce that again tomorrow, and make it clearer, and simpler.

I just have to make it stick. ;-) (To ME as well as everyone else!)
Yes, I do. Normally they're not THIS stressful, and I really believe it's because we've been working to try to simplify it since April of 2007 and it STILL messed up at the last minute. I thought I had it figured out...instead it was more complex than EVER.

As I've said before, if the Universe is trying to tell me something, I sure wish it had made it a tad clearer, EARLIER. *G*

I do understand, with Bill--bless the man! There's a reason I called this blog the Quicksilver Workaholic. I've been a caregiver and a worker since I was 8 years old. Hard habit to break...but stress is getting harder to handle.

And hey, that lovely CD you gave me DOES help! Music helps, pleasure helps...
It's funny, Joseph really had a sensible solution to the CD problem...put the class off till it was available. But oooooh, nooooo, I said Feb. 5, and that's what it was going to be. SO stubborn...I keep thinking it would be unprofessional to put it off, since some had been waiting so long, but, ya know? It really would have been sensible! *G*

And yes, I LOVE Celtic music, thank you!!
I'm a wee bit too conscientious for my own good.*G* I grew up with not the most dependable situation in the world, I think I'm still trying to compensate! ;-)
Well IF we had been able to use eNuvvo, there was the capability of setting a specific number...as it was, there was just a PayPal button on my site and most people didn't ask if there was room in the class, they just paid. I didn't realize there were QUITE so many till it was a bit late...I need a registrar!

I hope not to have quite such a big class again, and will be looking at ways to limit it...but truthfully most of the posts have been from the same core group, don't you think? There are quite a few people we've never heard from, and if this class is like most I've taught, there will be quite a few that we never will.
I just wish people would BELIEVE me when I say, right up front, that I'm not tech support, and you must be proficient with computers to take the class.*rg* I'm really not kidding...I think I'll be asking when I get a PayPal if someone knows how to use PDFs, group message boards, scanners and such...and if not, just return their money. We really do spend more time than we should with this, and not on teaching the subject people have paid for.
Oh My God! The light in this painting is incredible! This is one of the finest examples of capturing the effect of light in a watercolor I've ever seen. When I scrolled down to this one I just about jumped out of my chair. It's like my screen was filled with light and glowing.

And on the subject of finding balance, and giving more than is right for you, I wish you the strength, courage and determination to fix that! I do too much and then start resenting it, forgetting that I was the one who did it to myself. Then I set up new rules and find balance for a little while but if I'm not careful it starts all over again.

And just to save you a teeny bit of time, no reply is necessary to my posts. Take care of you!
You are SUCH a sweetheart, Jana!

And yes, life can get utterly nuts...mine has decided to pile on a little more, right now, and I'm telling myself to BREATHE...