Peggy Ann Johnston Studio - welcome!

Teaching Philosophy

I have been teaching professionally since 1974; this includes teaching art since 1992. I love teaching art!

My goal here in the studio is to support the creative process for all students by providing an environment free of judgment with access to the highest quality materials, tools, equipment, and technical knowledge. My teaching style promotes self-confidence, problem-solving, and a sense of “I can do it!” in my students.

For me, the creative process is key, not necessarily the product. In my studio, incredible works of art have been created over the years because I support my students with their creative process rather than allowing them to anxiously anticipate the end product.

I truly believe that all of us are born to be creative. To create is to be human, and we have fun here because there is free expression for the urge to create. I have had amazing success with students young and old and all experience levels, from none to those with MFA’s!

In my studio there is no failure...only learning experiences! There are no “mistakes,” and we don't use the word “can't!” Just imagine the possibilities.

Kids having fun  doing art

The following is a partial list of my teaching beliefs


  •  Children (and adults, too) learn by doing.

  • It is the creative process that is key, not the result of the process. Incredible results (art works) come from being genuinely in the process, rather than anxiously anticipating the end product.

  • Our creativity is enhanced by working in a "safe" environment; creativity is a self-expression...if the self isn't safe, there will be no genuine creativity.

  • When given high quality materials/equipment and basic guidelines on how to use and not use a medium, the creative outcomes are incredible. Poor "tools" limit the full potential of creative expression.

  • Kids creating art

  • I like to create with music playing and encourage students to bring music they enjoy listening to.

  • Creative expression can take time. Classes need to be long enough that the artists feels that they are not being rushed to create. It often takes time to "warm up" the imagination and it is part of the process to clean up the studio space and tools at the end of a session. Handling tools/equipment/and materials is an extension of taking care of oneself. The sense of responsibility developed in the art studio can generalize to other areas of the young artist's life.
  • Art/creative expression involves constant problem-solving and decision-making. I work with students/artists to become comfortable doing these aspects for and by themselves, rather than "bailing them out" or "giving them the answers/solutions." I see this as a very empowering aspect of my art classes. It can be frustrating at first, especially for the student who is accustomed to being rescued from the consequences of his/her decisions.

  • Kids create fun art

  • Art experiences serve as incredible opportunities for self-understanding and discovery.

  • I encourage self-evaluation of work, rather than answering questions such as "Is this good, Peggy?" Most often this question is not asked to get my response, but only because it is difficult to know how or whether it is ok to tell others how the student artist is feeling about his/her own creations. Children learn at a very young age in our culture that adult approval is one of the most important things for safety and security. I eliminate the need for this approval in my classes and make it safe for self-evaluation. When self-confidence is maximized, so too will be creativity.
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