First Impressions : How They Affect us, and Do They Have a Lasting Benefit?

 First Impressions are always interesting to me. I often see or learn something new and walk away wondering what is was about that  painting in the gallery, or  the information I heard  that impressed me so…or failed to  impress me at all….Why did it affect me so? {one way or the other} Let’s talk about it a little more.

Why  First Impresssions can fool you….

 Recently I  led 18 new students and taught an outdoor painting workshop at Beavers Bend State Park.  The first day was way too hot , so We had to stay inside and use photos instead of painting on location…but  it would be a good time to share some basic fundamentals about  painting.

I presented a lot of new ideas and methods of planning an on location  painting and could tell that I had failed to Impress the  students with the importance of the planning lesson. They worked hard, but I could tell some thought it was a waste of time… they wanted to paint… not sketch and write notes. etc….  It seems  I made a poor first impression with that material!

It made me wonder… What was it that I presented about this activity that failed to impress them…. was it too confusing… or did I not give them the right information? Then it hit me… I had talked a lot…but they had not seen the art principles in action… so I began to demonstrate a painting showing them how the plan worked in real time! Boy what a difference that made on them. They  began to see and believe in  the potentail that the information held for them…

Are  First Impressions  Meaninful To Us?

Does the first impression about something or someone really mean anything in the long run? Or are first impressions just something that We have to get to know a little better before We can really say if it has any lasting value? I think the answer lies more in the second part of that  question. Let it hang around long enough… you will find out sooner or later.


 I know from experience that  there are times when I  have been very impressed with an artists paintings I have seen… then when I attended  the artist’s  workshop I  found out that they are great painters,  but are  dismal teachers.  My first impression had been that they had to be a great teacher… because they were  such great painters!    Boy, that was what you would call a mistaken impression…. I was fooled by my own perceptions or preconceived idea..

How To Get To The Final Impression.

   Back to the workshop students and their final impression of the events…At the end of the second day… nearly all came up and told me that they felt like they had learned a lot of good information… and they would continue to try to utilize  and process the information and methods of planning  I  had shown them. Their first impression had begun to change to a lasting impression that what I had given them was valuable and worth the  time they had spent with me.  Hooray. that is thee best compliment I can hear as a teacher!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a brief meeting or quick uptake of information is the best way to think about anything.. instead of depending on information that you might get at the first impression…ask yourself…  DOES it have any lasting value? Will I use it again?  WHAT WAS  IT that made me back away, or WHY WAS I drawn to that particular subject, or painting, or item at the art shop?

and the final  question to ask is … to see if it is a keeper..  DOES IT HAVE ANY LASTING BENEFIT TO ME?

 Do a little soul searching.  The answers might be impressive!

 P.S. Because I had to turn away  so many students who wanted to sign up  for the workshop in Beavers Bend I am going to  share  some of the information I taught . Enjoy! [And be sure and watch for the next workshop or retreat.  Sign up as soon as you can… most are limited to a fairly low number of students.] 

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