Art instruction: meaningful and useful tools for your creative freedom

Art instruction is a way to find out how one is able to make creativity, drawing, sketching and painting part of their lives and self-care.

I received recently a lot of positive comments about my art classes. Parents admitted that the art instruction which is available in our region (Ontario, Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax) does not actually include learning how to draw or paint for real. That especially referred to art classes for teens. They told most art classes were rather craft classes that deal with glue, markers, inks, papers, mixed media topped on each other, and so on. Basically, they were looking for somebody who has the skill of drawing, sketching and painting and is able to present this skill to others. So they were very happy to find me.

Is that a surprise? It actually isn’t when we take into account the dramatically shortening attention span due to the overuse of devices, lack of commitment due to the inability to prioritize important things in our life and fake positive reviews of entertaining art events like paint nights. While some people who have no art creation experience would assume that entertaining art events with cocktails and food are art classes, as strange as it sounds, I must admit that they simply cannot be by their nature because they won’t teach anybody anything.

We have arrived at very misleading art instruction models. Most of them are designed to please the participant and to make believe that they are gaining a lot.

One of my 12-year-old students literally nailed it during the last watercolor class: most people are interested only in the final products and they have no interest or patience to learn about the process of getting to this final product.

Indeed, we are seeing this frequently. Due to the fact that potential students are made to believe they will learn something about drawing and painting while actually not learning anything, many venues that offer art classes are trying to go the way of the least resistance: they offer paper or canvas with drawing on it, so that the student has to only apply paint as instructed on these surfaces. Most events are a few hours a single night or one day only because everybody is in a big rush. Is it possible to master everything within such a small time frame? No, it isn’t. Alone brushing techniques take months to practice and manage, not to mention that colors, values and composition matter. We always place something in the painting on a certain spot, not where happens, but where it makes sense. Our task is to find out how to detect this spot.

While most people who sketch or paint somewhat representative scenes and subjects implement roads, buildings, fences, water streams, paths, tree lines and distance, only a few are aware that this is done by using linear perspective to which we are adding atmospheric or chromatic perspective to achieve impact and give our image power.

If we want to make art instruction meaningful again and if we want people to really fall in love with creativity and hand-made art, we have to go the long and more difficult way. We have to allow teens and adults who want to learn to do so. Having the final product or masterwork done in just a few hours is an illusion. Nevertheless, there are lots of people who believe in that. Final product or masterwork cannot be the only goal. What matters in this case is the journey to the final product, the multiple techniques and approaches, the enjoyable path to self-discovery, satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment.

So, I received nice compliments about my art instruction because nobody else actually bothers with teaching potential students the understanding of main drawing and painting principles in this area.

Our recent project: progress

I also wanted to make an art class which is impossible to replicate online: just because the content of this class rests on the presence and the interaction between me, group and everybody as an individual.

art instruction: sketching and watercolor

Therefore, I am proud that my drawing, sketching and painting classes provide teens and adults with a meaningful art instruction that ensures one has tools to enjoy a creative freedom and is able to draw, sketch and paint anything they want and the way they would like to. I believe that is different and that works in favor of a student.

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And if you live in Ontario, you can apply for my art classes directly here:

6 Replies to “Art instruction: meaningful and useful tools for your creative freedom”

  1. Very interesting insights…. I like what you say: “Final product or masterwork cannot be the only goal. What matters in this case is the journey to the final product, the multiple techniques and approaches, the enjoyable path to self-discovery, satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment”… I agree with you. Most times Art is related to Art per se, and the pleasure it provides… as a way to sublimate things… or to trascend them
    You mentioned linear and chromatic perspectives… and those are not minor details. I remember my Art classes when I was at High School. The teacher was great, I learnt how to do “perspectives”, but I recall It was very technical and hard for me at the beginning.
    Thank you for sharing, dear Inese. I enjoyed the post <3 Love & best wishes 🙂

    1. Thanks, Aquileana! Well, I’ve been teaching since 1985. I have a lot of observations in Europe and in Canada. I must say it was way easier in Europe because my students were not expecting miraculous results. I suppose internet causes people to believe that lots of things do not require any work or effort. When after holding brush for the first time ever somebody is disappointed that their brushing is not a real masterwork, I simply do not know what to say. That is the reality of nowadays in art. Partially, that is due to junk art and calling everything art which it definitely isn’t. All one needs is efficient advertising power and some funds to support it and the new trend in art is born.
      I do want to keep teaching art because that is one of these few manually done things which we still have. We have lost practically everything else. Everything is technology. I also believe that we are heading in a wrong direction putting so much efforts in artificial intelligence and watching how human intelligence deteriorates. I intend to write about that on the other blog.
      I am upset seeing how human brain is not paid the attention it deserves. Manual drawing and painting is an extremely efficient way to keep our memory strong and to grow new neurons regardless of damage to our brain functions. I have seen it working extremely well.
      Other than that, art and real artistic skills are big time underappreciated and undervalued. Real art is so powerful and it involves so much! I have hard times bringing that to peoples’attention. I would love seeing all kids do manual drawing every day in order to decrease anxiety, depression, attention deficit, trouble focusing and memory problems, not to mention addictions, violence and suffering.

  2. While I realize that one (such as I) cannot presume to paint as well as someone such as yourself. It’s very silly to even think that way… Never the less sometimes I wish I felt that something that I painted was good enough for someone to actually hang it on the wall.
    My grandson ‘God love him’ put a paintings that I did of his doggie…in his living room…
    I know in reality it takes a lot of time to learn how to paint effectively…. and beautifully, such as you do…. Diane

    1. Thanks, Diane! Well, this is clear understatement. I’ve seen what you painted. You can definitely hang these paintings on the wall.
      Depending on medium (I cannot do oils since some 20 years or so because of a very strong allergy): pen and watercolor, watercolor, acrylic and pastel need sometimes just a little bit adjustment to become done. That means approaching these paintings critically, but not that critically that you do not see the path of improvement in them.
      I look at students’ paintings, and frequently I can see how just adding a few layers or changing a few spots this painting would turn from average into very good one.
      If you paint in acrylics, you have to pay attention that painting does not look nude. Nude means there is too less paint to really work. That is why we can underpaint.
      I am seeing how many as if teaching places lead people in a wrong direction by making them do everything in one layer and very fast, in a few hours. When dry, such painting shows canvas fabric and colors become flat because the paint is absorbed into canvas. Therefore, most frequently a simple fix is to repeat layers, create stronger image and impact. In acrylic, that takes a lot of time. That’s why I have paintings on which I worked for 60 to 90 days every single day until I reached the layering that works. We cannot achieve that in classes, nobody can. It is a good habit to use more paint (one lady said, when she was doing something on her own, she could clearly hear my voice: use more paint!) and practice efficient brushing: brushing on a spot, similar to running on a spot. We do not create harsh edges and color stays or moves over wherever we want it.
      Watercolor is much faster medium, but we need to be very quick sometimes, especially when the heating is on.
      Any painting can be brought to a good condition. Everybody also damages some paintings, absolutely everybody. Well, by recognizing what went wrong, we learn and move forward, meaning, making mistakes in painting is normal and that is a way we can learn.
      I personally think it is very difficult to teach somebody correct brushing techniques over the internet, hence, the student can see what the instructor does, but the instructor cannot check whether the student understood and is following what they advised. I mean, there is a large range we can interpret wet, dry, small amount of paint, large amount of paint, etc.

      1. Thank you Inese that’s encouraging. I especially liked the reminder about using more paint… and that we can add layers if need be . I tend to not use enough but forget that I can add to it after … Diane

        1. Definitely, add as many layers as it feels right. Many people either overwork or leave paintings unfinished. I too, sometimes simply leave it while the time is right.
          With acrylic, you can do it after a week, month or year, it doesn’t matter. There are no time limitations.

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