Sometimes I teach art classes (different than art history which I also teach) and I am always amazed by the range of students that I have. I arrange my classes to be a bit lecture/demonstration and then I let them work. I will go to students individually and help them work through ideas, questions, areas of confusion. I love it! This Saturday I had a class in which my students ranged from 13- retired. It was amazing to see so many people interested in making art.
My younger students are wonderful because their futures are totally unwritten. They come with few excuses, ready to take on the challenge. Sure, they may feel insecure about their work, but ultimately they know that they are not expected to be pros.
My older students are different and I am not quite sure how to put my finger on it...some are there just ready to learn, but others are coming to art for the first time and feel embarrassed while others are coming back to art and want to explain why they left (life, kids, etc.). When do we start doing that? Why do we feel we need to apologize for our level of skill? Isn't that bizarre?
Obviously I don't expect my students to be pros, otherwise I would want to take their class instead of the other way around. What would I have to teach them if they had it all figured out? Plus, I always learn something new when I teach. Honestly I feel for these students of mine. I too feel like I am a late bloomer...that I am just now finding a path that was laid out before me twenty years ago. Not that I am upset about that fact, appreciative that I took a few detours along the way. I am just so thankful to be in a place in my life where I can share art with others.