The Art of Learning Art

Learning to paint and draw should not be intimidating, overwhelming or discouraging. Yes, it can be challenging, but anything worth learning will push you a bit.

Let me explain why so many people are under the false impression that they “can’t do it” or “have no talent”.

I’ll begin with this fact: 50,000 years ago, there were no art schools and the concept of art didn’t even exist. Yet some of the most beautiful, expressive and meaningful art was created on the cave walls of Lascaux, Altimira and countless other places around the globe. Creating images is germane to who we are as human beings and the human experience.

Today, options for learning art are vast; on line classes, workshops, YouTube, books, standalone classes, etc. Speaking from my own experience, I’ve had instructors who catapulted me to the next level and one or two, unfortunately, who did more harm than good. The biggest mistake I made? Enrolling in classes I thought I needed - or worse - trying to chase after a “style”.

Almost 20 years ago, when I resumed painting after a long hiatus from the easel, I was unaware of what I needed to learn, at the time I needed to learn it. I would have saved an incredible amount of time, money and frustration, if someone had simply sat me down and said “Materese, this is what you need to learn now and why. I’m going to teach you; not just the skills, but what you need to focus on to get where you want to go”.

Have you ever been in an art class, struggling because you can’t the right mix colour, the drawing is off, or you’re not sure how to approach the painting? You may have even said to yourself “I have no idea what I’m doing”! Rest easy, it’s not your fault.

The skills you really needed to learn, were not covered, or at best briefly addressed in class. It happens All. The. Time. The cart is put before the horse. In defense of many, very good teachers, teaching art is difficult, and customizing lessons for every student in a group class or workshop is simply impossible.

I take the responsibility and honour of being a teacher very seriously. Because of the issues stated above, I made the decision to stop offering workshops quite a while ago. People still ask if I will hold them, and my answer is a firm ‘no”. Theres’s nothing “wrong” with workshops, but for my own integrity, and the sake of the students learning, I made the decision to stop offering them.

I changed my model of art instruction from workshops and themed classes, (landscape painting, still life, plein air, etc.) to only private classes. The focus was shifted from the subject or theme of a particular class, to the students’ individual needs. It made a huge difference for the students, and for me as a teacher. Students get exactly the instruction they need and I’m able to give them my very best.

The results have been great: students learn faster, with greater ease and some even began to find their own “voice” in an incredibly short period of time. Life is short, art is long - “incredibly short” means 3 to 6 months of consistent weekly or twice a month classes. The quality of the work they produce is far better than what was produced in workshops and group classes.

However, my classes aren’t for everyone, and that’s OK! It doesn’t make you or me a “bad person” - we simply have different goals. Namaste!

You would not want to take my classes if you want to:

· Paint realistically, but are reluctant or unwilling to learn or improve your drawing and composition skills.

· Paint “exactly” from a photograph. If copying a photograph is your goal, I’m not the teacher for you.

· If you believe you can go to an art class for a few weeks, not do any work outside of class and become a good painter, I’m not the teacher for you.

· If you want to draw or paint occasionally and do it for fun, personal self-expression, and it’s a social activity - that’s great! But I’m not the teacher for you. There are countless opportunities from “Paint and Sip” to YouTube videos that will make you happy.

However, if you are saying to yourself: “I really want to become a good painter, and I’m willing to put some time and effort into this. I want a teacher who is going to help me get to where I want to be; Or perhaps your frustration with the “gaps” in your skills is finally getting under your skin. Then, I may be the teacher you need.

If you would like to learn more about my program, please click on the “Art Classes” tab. And of course, I'll be happy to answer any questions you have!




Materese Roche Fine Art Studio & Gallery |  P. O. Box 16  |  Buckingham, PA 18912

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