“You don’t have to be a professional to express your inner voice,” says Jill Pottle, one of ACA’s amazing art teachers and an accomplished artist in her own right.
Pottle, who has been with ACA for two years now, is grateful to have found a home for her artistic talents and her interest in arts education; she is quick to note that ACA “is a small place, [with] personal attention, nice staff, very interested and excited students.” She also understands the importance of creating and making the arts accessible to the community at large. “It is not about having years of experience,” she says. “It is about process, growth and getting to understand your materials, colors, composition and relationships of forms. I like to see the search for understanding the subject matter, the struggle.”
Pottle, who will be teaching an “Acrylic and Oil Painting” class and “Bold and Brilliant Pastel Workshop” this winter, always knew she wanted to be an artist. She tells me that it was “no decision, I just was that way…always painted and drew.” As for teaching, Pottle realized that often the best art is made by learning from and teaching others. “Teaching seemed like a logical way to make a living and keep me learning new things,” she says. “Students don’t realize how much they educate the teachers.”
Pottle will also jury an upcoming gallery exhibit at ACA: “Darkness Into Light: Paintings Juried by Jill Pottle,” which will be on display in the Gibbs Gallery from January 22 to February 26. Subject matter will concern the slow return of light as the winter season comes to a close. “I’d like to see the artists apply their skills, so quality is important,” says Pottle of what she’s looking for in this year’s submissions. “And to be proud of your artwork at any level…The frames don’t need to be expensive but just clean and well presented. Always sign your artwork as well. I look for originality in their thinking. Surprise me with an interesting interpretation of the subject matter. Get into the meaning of what it means to you.” Submission dates are as follows: January 9, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm & January 11 – 15, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm.
With two courses and a gallery exhibit impending, Pottle has a busy semester ahead of her at ACA. However, as she’s quick to remind me, the students make her seemingly tireless work worth it. “Most rewarding is the gratitude my students express at the end of a session,” she says of what enjoys most about teaching at ACA. “It is always a treat and a surprise. They say how much they have learned. I love to give my students challenges that will help them problem solve in their own creative time.” Her advice for aspiring artists and arts lovers: “It’s not bad to break the rules, doing something just a little different in approach or in subject matter.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. For more info about Jill’s classes this winter or about ACA’s “Darkness Into Light” painting show, visit our website at http://www.acarts.org.