horses for courses…

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23/03/2011 by Sarah Ritchie

[Artists] are pigeon-holded into art courses according to medium and/or subject: ‘acrylics for improvers’, ‘wet-in-wet landscapes’, ‘portraits in oils’. We have all seen such courses advertised, but they put a misleading slant on what art is about. Such courses probably tell us more about the limitation of the teachers than what the teaching of art requires.”  (John Lowry, “Panting and Understanding Abstract Art”)

Interesting comment. The author doesn’t expand on what he thinks the teaching of art DOES require, so I’ll make some assumptions.

Way back, nearly 10 years ago, I attended a one day workshop titled “Painting Animals”. For sure, the aim was to complete a painting of our chosen animal by the end of the day. However, for MOST of the day, we were taught basic painting techniques of observation, shading, application and colour. These skills could be transferred to any medium and any subject.

The title of this workshop lured a group of artists with a common interest, but the content was pleasantly broad.

What might my ideal “art” short course or workshop include?

  • how to work with the various mediums (e.g. oils, acrylics, watercolour, gouche, etc); their differences, benefits and limitations
  • fundamental painting techniques
  • observation and application: light, colour, form, size, perspective
  • colour theory and colour mixing
  • finding and developing ideas
  • finding your unique artistic voice.

Hmm…maybe one day I will run a course just like this. It could be titled “Developing the Artist Within”. It would be the type of short course I have been searching for, but unable to find.

Imagine that…being proficient, experienced and confident enough in art to teach it! Something to aim for perhaps.


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Sarah Ritchie
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Finalist, Estuary Art Awards 2011
Exhibitor, The Original Art Sale 2011


© Sarah Ritchie 2014

Please do not use copies of my original artwork for profit, however you are welcome to share my artwork images as much as you like!

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