Who’s the newbie art teacher?


Since the good folks at Splashout Art Studio already  made it ‘Facebook Official’, I figured, I should probably make it Blog Official too.

So, after a month-long unplanned hiatus here at ShaiCoggins.com, I thought I’d break the silence with the news: I’ve become a part-time art teacher! On Tuesday evenings, for a couple of hours once a week for 9 weeks (since the middle of October), I have been assisting my lovely and talented art teacher/mentor, Krystyna Ciesiolkiewicz (aka, Krysh), co-teaching the Beginners’ Art Group at Splashout. The class started off with 10 students (pictured below), but it has grown into a lively group of 12 by Week 2.

Yes. Who knew, right?

And, if you’re wondering about my company, Vervely.com - it’s still very much operational. My top work priorities are still my clients at Vervely. Art teaching, for now, is something that I’m doing outside of my normal office hours. Partly for the love of it, and partly to develop new skills that I’ve always wanted to develop.

Okay, now for those who’d like to read up on the back story, skip along to the text after this image of me, during my first official art teaching evening with the fun Beginners’ Group. Otherwise, no worries about reading on. You’ve already got the main scoop. 🙂


Art teaching is something that I’ve always fancied. When I did my Masters’ degree in teaching, some of my favourite lessons to prepare were the art lessons. If you’ve been following my art adventures, that’s probably not surprising.

In those classes, however, I taught primary school kids. Since I enjoy teaching kids, I’d like to think that I aced it back then (mostly, I think :)).

But, I must admit: The idea of teaching art for grown-ups has always seemed too daunting for a number of reasons. I’m keen to do it. But, I wasn’t sure if and/or when I’ll be ready. That’s why even though I liked the thought of it, I decided that it was one of those ‘someday’ things.

Well, the amazing thing about ‘someday’ things is that if you’re aware that you do want them to happen someday, and you manage to share them with some really good people NOW, there is always a possibility that the unexpected happens.

You see, while I was on my epic art trip to Italy with the Splashout folks – I got the opportunity to spend some quality time with a wonderful group of women. This group included Jen and Krysh, the proprietors of Splashout (where I signed up as an art student back in early 2013). Jen is the manager of Splashout and Krysh is the head art teacher.

During the trip, both Jen and Krysh asked me if I would ever consider art teaching. Needless to say, I babbled on about that concept being one of my dreams. But, I also acknowledged that it was a dream that I haven’t pursued actively. They also asked if I’d be keen to do workshops on how to use digital media for artists. I said, yes, of course. I love my gadgets – and they knew it well during the trip.

Then, even before I got over my jetlag, Jen and Krysh talked to me about an incredible opportunity to be part of the Splashout team as a part-time art instructor when we got back to Adelaide. At first, I thought it was going to be about teaching artists on how to use technology. But, as much as they’re keen for me to do that, they had other hopes too. And, those hopes include the idea of me teaching art for  beginners. I didn’t quite expect it, but I was excited.

Of course, it had to fit around my existing personal and work commitments – and thankfully, Jen and Krysh are very supportive of that. And, so far, so good. We’ve completed four sessions and there are five more ahead. I may be teaching, but I am also learning heaps. And, I’m enjoying the delight of students when something works and they get excited about a lesson. That’s why, hopefully, whatever I may lack in terms of art teaching experience, I hope to be able to make up for it with the passion I have for art, teaching, and the joy of simply creating. Plus, it’s great that we get to share a lot of laughs while we play with our art materials on Tuesday nights!

Pictured below are some of the students from the class I’m co-teaching. The photo was taken by Jen after the first session. Gotta love those smiling, happy faces, right?

Now, let’s see where this new adventure goes.


About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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