For years and years I've taught art to students under the age of 19 at GCSE and A level. And I've delivered lessons to improve their skills and develop their creativity.
So now that I'm a full time artist, I've been reflecting on the very best examples of teaching over the years and working out how to deliver meaningful, enjoyable, useful art classes to adults wanting to learn to paint.
One of my favourite classes (my favourite to teach and the students' favourite to learn) was traditional oil painting.
A bit of research told me that apparently there are too few art teachers teaching technique.
That might sound like a scientific approach, but perhaps courses on kickstarting your creativity, aren't what some people want. One gentleman, after going to an art class elsewhere, told my husband at work " I don't want someone to teach me how to be more creative, I want them to teach me how to paint properly".
So with this in mind I'm launching new art classes in oil painting - based on my old A level workshops.
During A level teaching we devoted one lesson a week entirely to learning new techniques in oil. It ended up being nicknamed the "technical bake" lesson, as it was on the same day as the Great British Bake off!
So each week, their portraits developed, along with their understanding, each time with me demonstrating the content required in the "technical bake", and them working on it.
It was intensive but incredibly enjoyable.
Something that became clear about teaching in this way, was the students' ability to apply the techniques they learned to other paintings later in the course.
They were intimidated by oils at first. That faded in time.
Oils are difficult and intimidating to get to grips with, there are a myriad of mediums and solvents, the paints themselves come in a dizzying array of quality, price, colour. Should you work on board or canvas, how fine should the canvas be? What does hue mean on the tube? Is that good or bad?
And once you've walked out of the art shop a couple of hundred pounds poorer, then what happens? Where to you start? You heard about the rule "thick over thin", but that's not really enough to go on!
Is it really possible to de-mystify the dark arts of oil, in just a few lessons?
Yes. Yes it is. I can give my students the benefit of my experience. I can help them use the techniques of the old masters with the joy of our knowledge of chemicals and solvents to help them create better paintings with developed skill.
I want to share the secrets of painting in a "grisaille"- the art of creating form through monochrome techniques. It can revolutionise the way you use oil. Then you have the foundation to add colour over the grisaille in glazes and thin layers. This creates depth in your paintings.
So are you ready to learn to paint?
I love teaching, I can help you improve your oil painting, I have a lovely studio for you to paint in, and I make a cracking cup of coffee. What more could you ask for?
My classes start on Wednesday15th October.
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