Art After Fifty - Part Two

Contentment © Beth Cole, Oil on Canvas, 11 x 14

Contentment © Beth Cole, Oil on Canvas, 11 x 14

This is the second post in my series, Art After Fifty. You can read the first post here.

Finding Classes

It’s fun to learn and it’s fun to gather with other people to make art. It’s even more fun when you find a group of people that are so like minded they feel like a tribe. I think that’s a little of what we find in both online and in person art workshops.

But where to start? There are so many options, whew, it can be overwhelming.

We live in a very rural area, I know I’m not the only one, so many of you understand the lack of art programming, support and availability. So when I began looking for art classes my first stop was Google. I looked for classes that taught to my aesthetic, using colors and materials I wanted to try. And I also looked for people who were anchored in similar principles from our Creator. 

And I found such a place in Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Network. Her classes are varied, affordable, and she has Facebook groups for each of them so you can connect with other artists in the class. It is such fun, and it was a wonderful way to begin my art explorations.

After immersing myself in several of her classes, I learned of other teachers and programs that would give me more basics of art that I really needed. One such experience was Barry John Raybould’s Virtual Art Academy. I studied in this group for about six months and learned a great deal about what I consider tried and true art basics that have really grounded my art process.

I also invested in a few DVD’s, one of the best was Quang Ho’s Nuts and Bolts, I highly recommend this.

About a year after I started painting I began looking for in person workshops I could attend and the first one I chose was the Autumn Art Workshop in Nebraska, only about 40 miles from where I live. My instructor was pastel artist, Marla Baggatta. It was a fantastic experience and I was totally LOST! I hadn’t any experience in pastel, my brand new box of pastels was barely cracked open. I knew what values were, but I didn’t know how to correlate colors with value and I was inexperienced with color mixing, especially with pastels where the colors are mixed on the surface as you paint. It was all such good fun and overwhelming at the same time. I am so thankful for that experience because it whetted my appetite for more practice and more learning.

So having experienced both in person and online classes I think there is a need for both of them. If I had an unlimited travel budget, I would choose in person every time. I think nothing beats an actual face-to-face experience, especially with art. But there is a lot to be gained from the convenience of online classes as well.

What you gain with online classes

  • Camaraderie with other like minded individuals
  • Feedback on your art
  • Instruction on demand, you can work on your art whenever you have time
  • You can watch the video over and over if you want to really practice or see the details

What you miss

  • Chatter in the room
  • Walking over to someone’s easel and really seeing what’s happening there
  • A touch on your shoulder or a reassuring hug
  • Eye contact
  • Laughs and great conversation during breaks

Here are a couple other classes and teachers I have experienced and recommend:

  1. Deborah Paris, The Landscape Atelier
  2. Kim Casebeer, Online Mentoring

On my bucket list:

  1. Fredericksburg Art School
  2. Scottsdale Artist School
  3. Art in the Aspens

When it's all said and done, I have learned that one of the best teachers is experience. You can only gain that by spending time at the easel, chalking up mistakes and getting to the keepers.

So, what art classes and teachers would you recommend?

Next up, recognizing your art aesthetic and dealing with frustration.

Thanks for following along, do take care my friend.

Soli Deo Gloria