Tuesday, March 1, 2011

46. Acrylic Fine Art Class I Taught at Michaels as a Certified Grumbacher Fine Art Instructor in 2010

I am not teaching a fine art class at this time, but I did teach an acrylic fine art class as a Certified Grumbacher Art Instructor at various Michaels stores at several locations in Tarentum, Monroeville and Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 2010.  It was a pleasure being able to teach art classes once again and I look forward to doing something similar at some point in the future. The acrylic fine art program will go on and Grumbacher has replaced me at most of these Michaels stores, so be sure to check with them to see if Acrylic Fine Art Classes are being offered at these locations. 
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The following are some of the materials and paintings used in the acrylic art classes at Michaels which may assist you in exploring acrylic painting.  While these may not represent some of my more finished work, they are examples of what can be done with acrylics in a two-hour class.

LANDSCAPE
The image at bottom is the reference photo given to me by Grumbacher for the landscape painting, and the other images are paintings I taught.  As the classes moved into autumn and winter, we shifted the landscapes to reflect the outside conditions.


FLORAL
The flowers on the left are paintings and the reference photos are show on the right.  The first reference photo at top and the one at bottom center were given to me by Grumbacher.  The other two photos are mine.


SEASCAPES
Below are the Seascape paintings I taught at Michaels and at bottom the reference photo I was given.  


STILL LIFE
Below are the still lifes I taught with my reference photos at the right.  At bottom is another reference photo which you are free to use to practice painting.  The

 

(Right) My final acrylic art class as a Grumbacher Instructor at Michaels on 12/18/2010.  Pictured with me are two of my most loyal regular students, Wei-Duan Liao at left and Judy Zeman at right.   Sincere thanks to all of my students. It was great fun while it lasted.

21 comments :

  1. What was working for Michaels like? I'm interviewing for a part time position doing the Painting Instruction. Could you tell a little about it??

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    1. I was contacted by Grumbacher who had made arrangements to organize an acrylic painting class program for Michaels. Technically, I was a Michaels employee but reported to Grumbacher who, of course, was promoting their products. I volunteered to teach classes at three stores. There was a lot of problems with two large corporations trying to work together. The biggest rub was a distinctive lack of enthusiasm, and sometimes cooperation, from some store managers and upper executives at Michaels for this program. Based on postings on the Grumbacher Instructor Facebook pages, these problems were very widespread across the country. Grumbacher was always having top-level meetings with the Michaels leaders over their unwillingness to promote and support the art teaching classes. Hopefully, many of these problems have since been worked out. I do suggest that you keep very good independent records of your hours worked and the pay you actually receive. This was a sticking point with me as it took the threat of a lawsuit after 7 months of work before Michaels finally figured out that it was a misunderstanding of the paperwork by their employees that had reduced my paycheck by 40% of what I was owed. By the time it was all sorted out, I thought it best to resign and move on.

      Working for Michaels was sometimes difficult, but the actual teaching of the art classes was a complete delight! My students were enthusiastic, imaginative and very cooperative. Based on my experience with Grumbacher/Michaels and my previous experience with JoAnn's (teaching oil painting classes and promoting Bill Alexander's painting products) I definitely will return to teaching art classes at some point in the future.

      I wish you luck and success. Keep your brush wet!

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  2. I was certified to teach at Michaels through the Grumbacher certification tests and from the start ,I had nothing but trouble,I didn't receive my teachers kit for over 3 months and Michaels was wanting me to teach,with my personal paint .I thought the whole idea was to promote Grumbacher materials? Also the person in charge at the store wanted me to do pen houses and demos and never set up a display of a class,so I never had any clients to teach.It was the messed up stuff like that ,that will keep me from teaching for them,and I suggest you have a talk with corporate before i would teach a class,It was a mess to start with.I am a Bob Ross instructor and I never had any problems with them so I would suggest going on your own.I also had a demo at the Michaels store and never received a payment for 2 stinking hours,I would advise against starting a relationship with them,Good luck if you do.

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  3. I am a self taught artist, considering teaching at Michaels. This info is consistent with what I've heard from artist friends. I currently teach at a Hobby Lobby store, and they allow me to do my own thing. The students pay me directly. The problem is getting and keeping enough students. Any suggestions on places a self taught artist can teach?
    I'm curious on what the certification test for Michaels is like, if I do pursue this route. Thanks !

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  4. I appreciate the information, as I'm considering applying at a Michaels to teach.
    As a self taught artist, I've conducted classes at a Hobby Lobby store for over 4 years. The students pay me directly, I didn't have to be "certified" and they allow me teach as I wish, with no fee for the class room. However, they haven't assisted much with the advertising, so getting students is a challenge.
    I'm curious about what the Michaels certification test is like, in case I do pursue this. Thanks, and best regards to all. Also where have you found jobs teaching art?

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    1. I taught at Michael's after I was noticed by someone at Grumbacher based on my previous art shows, publicity, blog and website, all of which increased my presence on the internet. By the same token, I had previously been asked to teach oil painting classes at Jo Ann's Fabrics and did so for over a long time at several of their stores. The only other venue for teaching near where I live would be Pat Catan's, which is similar to Michael's. I was largely self-taught and was never required to be "certified" by anyone. As for Michael's, most of the stores near me have not had any art classes for a long time but the program seems to be thriving based on their FaceBook Page (https://www.facebook.com/GrumbacherInstructors). They may have some of the initial problems worked out. Each store varied a great deal depending on the people who worked there. It might be worthwhile giving them a shot. You also may want to check with local artist groups, clubs and organizations as sometimes they have venues (and willing pupils) where you could teach your own class. The companies formed by Bob Ross and Bill Alexander each had programs at one time where they had artists learn to paint in their style, become "certified" and then were sent out to various art stores to give classes in their names. This might be worth looking into. Good luck in your search. You know as well as I how wonderful teaching art can be!

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    2. Hobby lobby is great they don't interfer with what I teach and how i teach it. Michaels on the other is a problem from store management to corporate to having to get approval for the paintings and having to detail what was used for painting. I have just about had it. To much of a headache and they don't help at all with advertising the classes. Payroll has been an issue as well as not providing me a space to promote during open house. I loose students because of their attitude.

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  5. I am in the interview process right now - I teach at several well know art centers already and am looking for something else part time for some extra hours. I generally create my own project and develop my own class ideas - but I guess "learning" paintings is something I could do though it seems a bit counter intuitive and like it wouldn't foster creativity or right brain abstract thinking in any way. I guess I will proceed and see what happens.

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    1. I hope this worked out for you. Generally I find many art classes too restrictive, but many of my students have had absolutely no exposure to art and the class is an opportunity for them to get familiar with the medium and the actual act of putting a brush to canvas. Creating something they recognize is a real confidence booster and encourages them to keep painting and develop their skills. True creativity comes later, but you have to learn to stand up before you can run, and all of these classes are very introductory. Still, we all had to start somewhere and anybody can end up being a truly inspired artist. I also believe that much of what is called "talent" is really obtained through experience and practice rather than being innate.

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  6. I was considering working at Michaels as a Grumbacher certified teacher but with the mixed reviews I was aprehensive. Being a snow bird it does work for me but maybe I'd work in two states?

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    1. I'd have to state that the launching of this program was extremely rocky; however, if you should have a Michaels store with a manager who will support you and try to make this work, it can be a very fulfilling experience. As for working in two states, I was working three stores in two counties at the same time. I don't think working stores in two states would necessarily be a problem. See if Grumbacher and Michaels will let you do this. My only other advice would be to be sure to keep your own detailed records of your classes, the days and hours, to make sure you are being paid for your work. Michael's system for paying me was extremely convoluted and it took six months before they figured out how to make sure I got all my wages. I would hope that they have this figured out by now. Lastly, get connected on Facebook on the Instructor's Page (https://www.facebook.com/GrumbacherInstructors?fref=pb&hc_location=friends_tab) as it helps to see and compare what other instructors are doing all across the country. Good Luck!

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  7. Your story is very inspirational. Thank you for paving a path for a new art instructor like me.

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  8. i have an interview at Michael's for a Fine Arts instructor, but i dont know if i need an art degree, i am a 17 year old high school Senior and have no idea if im qualified for the job?! will Michaels still hire me if i have no experience teaching?

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    1. I don't have an art degree either, just experience and the desire to paint. Grumbacher came to me (as did Jo-Ann's earlier) after reviewing my website where I had posted some of my paintings. Show them some examples of your work and impress on them your desire to paint and teach art. Considering your age, I would also emphasize your trustworthiness and reliability. If you are confident in your abilities, it will show. Do these things, relax, and I think you will do well. Good luck!

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    2. Thank you for your advice! I got the job! I just need to be certified by Grumbacher. I was wondering if you can tell me how to set that up, should i just email them at instucors@michaels.com or what should i do?

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    3. Congratulations! You can start by e-mailing them to get the name of a person to talk to. When I was an instructor, Grumbacher contacted me and got me set up to be interviewed at 3 Michaels stores to be an instructor. Technically I was a Michaels employee, but I reported my class attendance information to Grumbacher who also provided me with most of my supplies as this was a joint venture between Michaels and Grumbacher. Check out Grumbacker Instructors Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GrumbacherInstructors?fref=pb&hc_location=friends_tab) for information that may help you. Hope it all works out for you!

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  9. I also want to add the Grambacher Facebook Fan Page (https://www.facebook.com/Grumbacher?ref=br_rs) to the sites you should be reviewing.

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  10. I do have questions about being a certified Grumbacher. How simple or complicated is the exam? Is it common sense or are questions out of the range?

    Thanks.

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    1. If you will review my blog entry and the comments and replies thereafter, you will know that I did not take an exam. Grumbacher instead contacted me after reviewing by blog and website (http://www.bobbickers.net) and asked me to take on this position. That may not be their usual means of hiring people and it may not be the way they handle it now. Nevertheless, if you have any artistic ability at all, you should go ahead and try to be one of their instructors as you may find the experience rewarding. It certainly was for me. Good luck!

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  11. What was some of the questions they asked you when you had an interview with Michaels?

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    1. My talk with the Grumbacher representative was seven years ago and I really don't remember the particulars. It was a friendly conversation and not a test, at least back then. I wouldn't let any of that keep me from talking to Grumbacher if you really like painting and have at least a basic understanding of how to create art. If you don't, then take some of their classes yourself and see what other Grumbacher instructors do! In fact, you really should take at look at the Grumbacher Official Fanpage on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Grumbacher?ref=br_rs and see what other artists are doing. If you become a Grumbacher Instructor, you will have access to another Facebook page for Instructors only. Good Luck to you!

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