Paint Magazine November 2017

‘THE ACCIDENTAL TEACHER’

AS FEATURED IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE OF SAA PAINT MAGAZINE

This is the full article I wrote about my experiences, please read until the end…..

My story about how I fell into teaching watercolour painting started when I moved to Bulgaria to semi-retire in 2008.

I had always wanted to be an artist, and after some life changing family events, I decided to take up my brushes. In my small Rural Village was another ex-pat who asked me if I would show her. During her ‘lesson’ her husband who was listening nearby said ‘have you thought about doing this for a living’?

Though I have no formal teaching qualifications, and am a self-taught artist, I looked for private work and ended up teaching Bulgarian Children. Whilst doing so, (initially to help me to learn the language) I found the reverse to be true. The kids coming to me, to practice their spoken English language skills.

During this time I also looked for an art club to join and found none, so I decided to start my own. Teaching ex-pats was a steep and valuable learning curve for me & I still run several art clubs to this day in Bulgaria.

I also decided to write a book and over a 6 month period (the coldest in living memory) I pounded away at the pc (wearing all my warm weather gear, and even fingerless gloves and a balaclava) and an e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ was born. I still give this away free of charge, hoping to bring art to those least able to afford it.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

Please email me if you would like a copy of my book

My experiences in those early days lead to openings in 5 star luxury resorts in Bali, Thailand and Malaysia where I taught for many years. Nowadays I prefer my workshops and painting holidays to be more ‘local’ concentrating on Bulgaria and Greece where we bought a small old English yacht (despite not being a sailor), so I can now be found on deck overlooking the harbour in the early and late season, painting and teaching.

During the Summer I run watercolour holidays from our White Boat Studio in beautiful Sozopol, Bulgaria, where I also invite guest artists and their students.

White Boat Studio Sign - Single

So that one chance encounter, all those years ago and the ability to be patient, adventurous and flexible lead to personal fullfilment in a totally unexpected way.  And thanks to that I realise that my skill being a plain speaking Yorkshireman, coupled with my ability to strip away the mystique has meant that I can literally change people’s lives, and add to their enjoyment of art.

As I say ‘give me 2 hours, and I’ll change your life’. And the hundreds of people who come on holiday, read my blogs, watch my YouTube channel and follow my Facebook pages will testify.

Sarah & Martin

Sarah and I

Incidentally, (and this is not something I wanted to share in the article) the life changing event I mentioned was the diagnosis of my dearest Sister Julie’s cancer. After a long battle we finally lost her. She was a lovely person and a teacher of teachers. After her loss I decided NOT to put off all the things I wanted to do until I retired.

I painted her a present of a scene from our childhood, which had been in my head for over 50 years. Sadly she went blind in the final stages and never got to see it.

DSC05766

‘For Julie’

So I worked on my exit strategy, I sold my business’s, bought a small red sports car, drove through Europe in it, bought a house in the sun, and finally fulfilled my life long ambition to travel and become an artist. All the things that were on my bucket list.

Sarah and I met in Bulgaria.

When people wonder why I am so driven, giving and motivated… now you know. All the days painting (I try to do it every day),  filming, editing and encouraging others to paint is my way of giving something back, after all, that painting went unpainted for decades. Now in my advancing years there is no time to lose.

Happy Painting

Martin Stephenson (stevo)

ps Stevo was my nickname at school (not very original) but shorter to sign on my paintings, signed in the style of Zorro !

 

Comments
  1. Pat Kelly says:

    Great blog Martin. It fills in a lot of blanks and very moving!

  2. Denise Gowell says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Steve, so very sorry for your loss. I read, years ago, in an Early Childhood journal, about a young child, who, when asked: “What is it that you love so much about drawing and painting,” her immediate response was: ” Cause it lets the hurt out…” Out of the mouths of babes; I think we can all relate. So glad that art has helped with your grief. And, so thankful for your generosity in sharing your talent by teaching others…

  3. What a remarkable journey. I’m glad that you got to do what you wanted to do early enough. You are a very giving artist and human being. Thank you for sharing with us your passion for watercolour with us.

  4. Glenda says:

    What a great story; thank you for sharing. I fully understand your thoughts about living for now! I retired early and went full
    Time RVing for several years. Who knows what else in the future. I’m so sorry your sister didn’t have the chance to see your heartfelt painting.

  5. […] My unusual route into teaching was featured in a UK art magazine in recent months, and you can read about that journey on another blog of mine on here. https://artstevo.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/the-accidental-teacher/ […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s