I find that an art class is successful when everything comes together: students are patient and willing to learn, and instruction is kept individual and provided step-by step.
Amazing what can be created within some 5 hours or 2-3 classes
My huge experience also shows that theory is fine, but should be provided on “as we go” basis. It is also important that the instructor is able to teach. You might remember from your school years that there were great teachers and not that great ones. It is not enough that teacher has huge knowledge and skills on his/her own, it is critically important that teacher has ability to deliver such knowledge, skills and approaches to students, keeping classes interesting, exciting and rich in content at the same time.
Making time for getting the painting done
Potential students should always have a look at their art teacher’s work: is this something you would like to be able to create, is this something which inspires you? An artist who is very good in drawing and painting realistic plein air landscapes, most likely won’t teach abstracts or cartooning. The basic approach should match your goals or intentions. Every student develops his/her very own style quite soon, and we all have our favorite colours, objects and themes. However, it is not that important whether you start out with drawing jars, cups, apples, tomatoes or flowers. Principles, techniques and how-to knowledge is important. Once you have mastered that, you will obviously turn to themes and objects, you prefer.
One more thing we are emphasizing: whatever you are doing, do it with confidence. Confidence is very crucial. That’s why thinking is an inevitable part of painting. Before you put down your brush with paint on canvas, you should know, why and where it is going. You should decide what colour goes where, what highlights will be applied to what spot. This is called: applying the paint with confidence.
An art class is shorter, a workshop is longer. My workshops always involve demonstrations and step-by-step instruction. Even though, I’m limited in time, I would give some demonstrations during my art classes, as well. This doesn’t mean painting the entire image, but rather some parts and segments of it. I find, this helps students tremendously in order to decide how they will proceed.
Clouds demonstration, painting in progress
First things first: working on background
I will publish more specific tips for starting out with watercolour and acrylic painting in some of my next posts.