Painting along with the instructor can be very beneficial to help an artist learn special techniques and skills. The danger in attending paint-along classes too long is that many people get very comfortable and satisfied creating successful painting copied from the teacher, then find it quite frustrating to paint when they try it on their own. As long as artists are learning new techniques and processes (not repeating them) it seems that the paint-along process can be justified.
When someone helps each step of the way, results can be almost guaranteed. Painting your own original masterpiece should be as easy - we wish! It's also a lot easier for me to teach a paint-along class, but the satisfaction factor is much higher for me as a teacher when I see artists have successful results while working on their own original works and inspriations. There's just a lot more frustration and struggle they have to wade through to get to that success.
Either way, teaching is a lot of fun, and I wouldn't change my 'job' for anything. It's amazing how much 'work' art can be and how much work that teaching art can be. But it never really seems like a real job, even though it's work!
FYI - I did screen out several people who wanted to take the class. They weren't allowed because they no longer need to copy a teacher to learn what they need to know, and I knew that this new class would actually hold them back as well as stifle their own creativity.
I'll let you know how Wednesday evenings work out.
"MAINE EVENING" Transparent Watercolor on 140# CP Arches 15x 11" COLLECTED