“Great style, sense of humor and easy to understand, a natural teacher!”
“He was such a supportive person – he made it easy to learn how to draw.”
“When I started this class I was skeptical about my drawing ability. Stanley made me a believer.”
Each time Stan Kaminski teaches “You, Too, Can Draw!” we get back student evaluations that just glow with appreciation and enthusiasm. Stan, who teaches art at Houston Community College Northwest, has taught drawing classes at Continuing Studies since 1995. He earned an MFA in Fine Art from Louisiana State University in 1992.
We spoke to Kaminski about his art and his teaching:
Why do you enjoy teaching and what is your philosophy of teaching?
I really enjoy helping students go beyond their comfort zones and develop new skills. Making people better at something is exhilarating. I love to see people open, and go through, new doors.
My philosophy of teaching: I imagine myself in a dance class. I’m not comfortable at all on a dance floor, but would like to learn and improve. I would need an instructor who understood how hard it was for me to enroll and show up. It’s probably the same for students who want to learn drawing, so I understand their fears and give as much support as possible.
What motivates you, as an artist?
My art dealer tells me he needs something new! Ha! Seriously, the satisfaction of completing a project, doing something with my hands and continuing a series is the reason for most of my artwork. This past Saturday, I woke up early with an idea for a new print and I worked up a sketch right away. I even have a name for it: “Levels of Truth.” Maybe it will turn out well and make it to display at William Reaves Fine Art on Brun Street. That’s where I show my work.
What artists inspire you?
René Magritte, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Marjane Satrapi, Banksy and Blu are some names that come to mind right away. Michael Bice and Howard Sherman are some Houston art favorites of mine. There have been many teachers, classmates and students along the way who have inspired me, but my high school (Princeton, West Virginia) art teacher, Rita Montrosse is tops. She has many other students who would tell you the exact same thing.
Do you have any memorable stories from your years of teaching “You, Too, Can Draw!”?
While some students reach amazing levels, everyone exceeds their expectations for themselves in that class. I was lucky to learn my craft as a drawing teacher from Walter Rutkowski, a long time director of the drawing curriculum at Louisiana State University. He was the “Bear Bryant” of SEC art school drawing professors. I give my students at the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies my version of his method.
Here’s one of my favorite stories. I was at a reception for “The Big Show” at Lawndale Art Center about 14 years ago. That’s a yearly group competition for emerging artists in the Houston area. It’s the “salon” of Houston, a true honor to make the cut. I did not make the cut that year, but one of my former Glasscock drawing students did. He was a retired man. It turns out, since taking my class, he had been showing his art at other places too. I was so proud of him. He was looking for a new hobby in his retirement and he ended up surpassing his teacher.
I had an older student who worked two jobs and took the bus to take my class back in 1996. She really worked hard and always did more than I suggested. She was an inspiration because of her commitment. Her progress was more than fair, but I’ll always remember the sacrifices she made to be there every class.
Note: Stan will be teaching his popular class again this spring. Registration begins December 15.
UPDATE: This course is offered each semester. For more information and to register go to our online catalog.