When George Bernard Shaw wrote, “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches,” he wasn’t referring to teachers like Pam Hostetler.
Hostetler is a successful working artist who shows and sells her watercolors and is represented by galleries. But she also makes time to be a dedicated and inspiring teacher.
Her students, whom she guides during weekly classes in Parker, represent a broad range of skills, from those who are professionals – or aspire to be – to true beginners to whom she patiently explains the basic properties of watercolor, how transparent and opaque watercolors behave differently, how to mix greens for different effects, and other principles of the medium.
Hostetler studied art through high school and a year of college, but most of her learning – in drawing, oil and watercolor – was accomplished through workshops and classes later. She has been painting for 35 years.
“I love watercolor because of the many looks you can get when you mix paint with water and apply it in different ways to paper,” she says.
It’s that quality, how the varying ways in which the medium works, that make watercolor as beautiful to the viewer as it may be daunting to the beginner.
“I hate to see people get discouraged,” she says. “You have to give it time.”
And many of her students have done just that – given it time, coming to classes year after year, becoming facile painters and, in some cases, developing friendships.
Even in the congenial atmosphere, Hostetler’s students are bent on learning and improving. On a recent morning, she studies a student’s painting in progress – a still life of beets and their greens. The second attempt is more successful than the first, except for the shadow cast by the largest beet. Hostetler explains how to paint the shadow more successfully by mixing the hues reflected by vegetable.
Even as a professional artist and teacher, Hostetler is a perennial student, traveling the globe and returning with stacks of photos from which her students can learn the nuances of painting animals, people, buildings and flowers. She traveled to Tanzania in 2015 and recently returned from Paris and Barcelona.
“I still take as many classes as I can from well-known artists,” she says. “I learn something from every class.”
If you’d like to see Hostetler’s work, she will be among the artists participating in Parker’s annual Art in the Park Aug. 27-28.
“Some buyers want something to match their sofa,” she says. “Others, because they connect with it in some way. It speaks to them.”