How to choose art classes

Many people who feel attracted to art, sign up for art and painting classes in the fall. Certainly, days are getting shorter and the weather gradually changes from very pleasant to quite nasty, rainy and chilly. I will not list all advantages of joining an art class or painting group this time because I’ve been mentioning them multiple times, and there are so many: from building your confidence and self-esteem and finding a great thing to fill up the long nights to effects similar to meditation which allow one floating away from daily troubles and problems, to mental fitness and rejuvenation of brain cells. The created art becomes just another gain along the way.

When choosing an art class, you should first check out what the instructor does: what are his or her favorite subjects, style, colors, approach. If you generally do not like such art as instructor is doing, so most likely you will the class unsuitable. For instance, if instructor is in meticulous copy creation of photos, you most likely will not be learning how to paint abstracts; or if she or he never do portrait painting, it is unlikely the class will provide with portrait painting skills.

Secondly, make sure the size of group somewhat works with you. I hear people complaining that they signed up for an art class and never got any attention, therefore, never learned anything. Well, if a weekly art class is 2 hours long and there are 20 or even more students in the classroom, how would you get a lot of attention? You can count on some 5 minutes of individual instruction in the best case because no instructor can run around all class while they are showing how to paint something. It is obvious that you have to choose a small art class if you require much advice or want very individual approach.

Thirdly, find out what level this art class is for. If some class is intended for advanced painters, most often, if you are just starting out you will not be able to catch up with others.

Beginner is somebody who hasn’t done at least 200 small size paintings or 150 larger paintings.

Next thing is: be realistic in expectations. That is probably the most overlooked aspect of any art class or studies of creative things.

Learning how to use tools takes time. That means: any tools. Although, everybody has seen a painting brush and quite frequently people have tried using it painting something on their own, it does not mean that you know how to actually use it. Any brush (they come in very many sizes, shapes and are made from all kinds of materials) can be used for some very specific things and also for some very general approaches. It is obviously possible to use just one brush start to finish, but the key is to find one that suits you and the task you want to accomplish. That depends also on your personal preferences, medium and subject.

Materials are an extremely important thing also for an art class, so, the best results will definitely be achieved using good quality materials straight from the beginning.

I have heard this often: I’m just learning, so I will use the cheapest materials for now. Well, that might not work at all because using bad materials can easily become a torture and nuisance. Sometimes students struggle around bad watercolor paper and they think they are doing something wrong, but, in fact, it is the paper which prevents from getting acceptable results. The funny part is that when one has a lot of experience they can survive with bad materials because their mastery will cover up the flaws, but initially, when there is very little knowledge, good materials will help overcoming your insecurities.

Equally important is also having your own materials. It might seem: what’s the difference? The answer is: there is a huge difference between paints, brushes, canvas, papers, pencils and even erasers, not to mention that is one of the most important aspects of learning. Tools matter, surface matters, paints and brands matter. There is no other way to become familiar with some materials in particular as using them.

Many people think that art classes and artistic activities cost a lot of money. Comparatively, I have to admit that is not really true. Most classes are way cheaper than going to a movie, about 8-10 times cheaper than attending a concert, at least 2 times cheaper than getting a hairdo, minimum 2 times cheaper than dining out at a medium quality place, much cheaper than boozing at a pub and so on. If your priority is to eat, work and sleep, that might seem like a big expense, but if you are looking for an overall improvement of your mental state, brain flexibility, memory, life quality and health improvement, it is just something which will pay back over many upcoming years. Therefore, the first question should not be “How much”. While the cost makes up an important part of anything we are doing and affording, there are very many other factors to consider. All classes are different: some are just a few weeks, some are a few months, some are short in a very large group and some are long and almost private. The most important part is to sign up for something that you feel interested in. One should also be prepared to learn, practice and memorize things, be spontaneous, courageous, daring and fearless, as well as have enough personal time for not feeling rushed.

I recently got new pictures and got a chance to post some watercolors on DailyPaintworks site.

I always work harder on pictures than actual paintings.

Colors in context images are much more like in reality.

I loved them, I hope it becomes a source of pleasure for other people, too.

This is the updated painting


They sell at $150, plus $15 shipping in Canada and USA.

Clear white on DPW


17 Replies to “How to choose art classes”

    1. They undeniably do. I hear too often that somebody doesn’t want to damage good materials, so, they practically never get to that point when painting becomes pleasure and stops being struggle.

  1. Having good materials makes a lot of sense. It applies to so many areas of endeavour. When we were learning to write, our teacher always made sure we had sharp pencils. It made learning to write so much easier!

    1. Certainly, one can feel the advantage of using good materials or problems when using just cheap materials at any step along the way. You are right, having something decent always makes the experience easier. The other thing is that class will teach only what was intended to teach. I always appreciate when people read and understand what the class is for. However, lack of attention is so widespread that I am scared sometimes: we are going nowhere without paying attention to anything.

        1. It’s a disaster. I’m wondering whether the lack of attention and loss of focus is due to cell phone use. Something is taking it away.

        2. I simply have no other explanation for it because it seems people are very distracted and absent.

        3. Driver distraction is one of the reason behind an increase in accidents in New Zealand.” In 2016, driver distraction was a contributing factor in 23 fatal crashes, 178 serious injury crashes and 917 minor injury crashes” (NZ transport agency quote)

        4. The same here, however, I am referring to the global lack of attention which happens in almost everybody’s head. I mean, people as if do everything, but they cannot keep attention and cannot stay focused. Some are literally absent, especially the youth.

    1. There is a lot to consider. I quite frequently get calls and the first question is not about medium, not about subject, not about the type of paintings we do, but how much it is. It’s tough to answer because I don’t feel like reading the entire schedule, but it also indicates that interest is very superficial and the caller is not interested to learn acrylic, drawing or watercolor, but generally attend some class.
      Diane, you are very artistic already, I have no doubt you’ll find something. It is simply nice to be in a group, sort of cheers up.

    1. Thanks, Cynthia!
      I am somebody who was born with the ability to draw and paint, so, I could start as early as I found the first pencil. However, one still has to work hard in order to develop every skill. I also did not use any cameras and photos practically ever, and that developed the ability to see. I was earning money during University studies by drawing portraits of my fellow students. It was like a new portrait every half an hour. Basically, it really helped me always and if there is something one can take away from drawing real life subjects, I must say that is extraordinary good visual memory.
      I’m actually working on a program to prevent memory losses and possibly reverse damage done by aging. I am looking for sponsors and I will keep looking for them because cognitive function decrease is what nobody should experience.
      Thanks a lot for stopping by!

Your comment is greatly appreciated