Art instruction: meaningful and useful tools for your creative freedom

art instruction

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:

Sketching in watercolor: what’s the advantage?

I’m usually advising my students: if you ever would like to learn drawing for real, do not use photos, grids and other tools, but only your eyes in addition to paper and pencil. That provides with a huge artistic freedom and allows not to depend on camera, printer, computer and photo editing software. That also saves a lot of time. It is more difficult for some people to draw and paint from a real object initially, but it is like everything else: once you’ve understood how it’s done, the improvement is continuous and inevitable.

I grew up and learned painting without any cameras and photos. There was no internet, there were no computers. I suppose, that’s why the number of artists was noticeably smaller, too: in order to paint or draw something, you simply had to employ your visual abilities and imagination. I am disagreeing with those who are trying to convince us that everybody in the past was using some kind of camera obscura in order to capture accurate details, proportions and perspective. It’s believed, mostly amateur artists were using it since they did not have the knowledge and capability of producing good drawings. I know, everybody has heard about Canaletto whose drawings were created that way. Well, there a few others, too. However, majority of artists were using THEIR OWN visual perception and THEIR OWN drawing ability.

I find that most people cannot draw not because of inability to handle pencil and create the image, but because they don’t know what to look for when they are seeing something and would like to re-create it on a paper or canvas. That takes practice and work, that’s all.

I love doing drawings or sketches just for my own pleasure. It’s so great to see some stuff evolving on a sheet of a blank paper. Nothing really compares to this fantastic feeling! That always excited me, and I could spend hours drawing alone while other kids were playing in the yard. I would draw anything in the garden, on the street, I used to do lots of portraits of my sister, other kids and later my daughter and my group-mates at the University.

Paintings are sometimes bothersome, especially the large and very large ones because that simply is a lot of work, it can be hard physical work, as well, when handling huge canvasses.

Sketching with pencil, watercolor, pen, ink or with watercolor and ink is a quick way of capturing the desired scenery of object. I cannot draw recently anything tiny because my eyes are getting worse and am trying not to use glasses. Well, my sketches are between 10 x 12 to 12 x 16 in, but done quite fast.

Sketching still life: ink and watercolor

There are many advantages of sketching with pencil, watercolor, ink and pen or some of these together. First of all, sketching allows to stay focused. It’s like a daily exercise which keeps us in a good shape. Our senses stay sharp and fresh, and it’s easier to get back to larger artwork after a break when one has been often sketching.

Sketching in watercolor and pen

Sketching does not take much time, it is very relaxing. Many artists and people who are doing art for pleasure know that lack of time is an ongoing problem.

Floral sketch, still life sketching

Sketching is a good thing when one wants to experience another medium, try another subject or style. There are millions of different ways of sketching, meaning, there is something for everybody.

Sketching still life in watercolor

Finally, sketching is crucial for those who want to master drawing for real and from live objects, or to capture a plein-air scenery. We can learn writing when we read a lot, we can learn many things just reading about them, but drawing is something which we can only learn by doing it. The more we draw, the more we sketch, the more artistic options we get. We might get this way a new idea, a new approach and we might find a completely new style which works for us. I always have something on my studio tables: flowers, cups, jugs (my favorites, I have a large collection of them!), fruits, berries, room plants, books, painting supplies and so on. I’m already waiting for springtime because that’s when the true sketching starts as the nature wakes up and takes us outdoors.

It is also possible to frame sketches and use them as beautiful art for decorating your space. Sketches can make great illustrations and sometimes serve as a standalone artwork.

Nature, floral still life sketching

Happy sketching! Please share your experiences with different media and subjects if you have time.