Have you done an art course you thought was really worth-while?
My last post, Why You Don’t Need Another Art Course, ruffled a feather or two.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m self-taught. In fact I’m proud of it.
But perhaps I should have realised that some people might be a bit put out by my suggestion that there might be a better way to learn – particularly people who offer courses themselves!
I wasn’t trying to create controversy. My goal with that post was to encourage you – if you’ve returned to art, want to learn but don’t know where to start – to take the first step in learning on your own. I want to encourage you to take control of your own learning.
I want to do that because I believe that the best way to achieve lasting, sustainable change in our lives is by taking small steps. And because I believe that if a significant proportion of those steps are self directed, it gives us the confidence to take the next, and then the next.
I stand by what I wrote.
That said, I didn’t mean to imply that all courses are a waste of time. Just most of them!
Some interesting discussion did come out of that post, though. Liz Forshaw was particularly eloquent regarding the benefits of studying at The Academy of Realist Art.
I received a few interesting emails from people that run courses too. So now I think it’s time to give the other view a little more breathing space.
Three Good Reasons to Take an Art Course
1: It can help you take that first step
Taking the first step can be unbelievably hard. Fear of making the wrong move and self-doubt can hold you back. It’s even more difficult to do on your own.
What Liz and others pointed out was that having a structure to work to can actually help you do it. Having a clear progression to follow can beat procrastination and fear and allow us to move forward.
There’s something in that.
2: A problem shared…
Another great benefit of a course is the interaction with a community of other people learning the same stuff as you. This certainly isn’t to be taken lightly. As Jerome pointed out in the comments on the last post, learning to draw and paint can be a very lonely undertaking.
It’s difficult to motivate yourself in a vacuum.
3: Teacher feedback
Teachers, if they’re good, may be able to identify areas for improvement that we miss ourselves.
I’ve had an experience like that myself. A while ago I did a portrait painting evening course. It wasn’t perfect and there were some elements of it I found pretty frustrating.
But when the teacher came to look at my work and give some tips, they were all about design and composition.
It threw me.
For some time I’d been obsessed with learning to draw and paint realistically, which meant good values, sound drawing, accurate colour. I could do all those things reasonably well.
But my composition skills were well behind my technical skills.
For all my practice, I couldn’t see the greatest weakness in my work – at least I didn’t attach much importance to it – but the teacher identified it quickly.
Two Questions For You
I’d like to ask you your opinion of a course you’ve done. I want to hear your positive experiences.
Please answer these two questions for me:
- What course have you done? (If you’ve done a bunch, just pick the most important, memorable or useful one)
- What did you get from it that you couldn’t get practising on your own?
Please use the comments to let me know.
Don’t hold back. Be honest. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. Everyone’s opinion is valid here and that means yours is too. We want to hear from you.
I want to hear from you.
Thanks, as always,
Posted: November 25th 2012
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