Did you know creating art is good for you? Spending time creating art on your own or by taking an art class, can provide positive benefits such as expressing yourself in a new way or helping to relieve stress. There are a lots of misconceptions about creating art. Some people think you have to be born with talent to be good at it. Some think creating paintings or sculptures is the only "real" art. Others think they may not be good at it so won't even bother trying. It is my belief that everyone has a creative mind and can learn how to express that creativeness. Are you ready to find that creative person living inside of you? As an art teacher, my main focus is teaching painting so this article will be geared around that.
In today's world there are so many options and opportunities for people to learn and explore their creative side and learn how to paint. For many it's hard to know which option to choose. Buying a book or watching a video may work for some, attending a class can be ideal for others. But what sort of class? What's the difference between a Paint Party, a workshop and an art class? With so many different options how does one find the right fit? I've been teaching workshops and art classes for nearly 30 years in Lake Tahoe, Chico and now in Maui. In the past nine or ten years "Paint Parties" have sprung up all over and have become quite popular. I've had students sign up to take a class from me because they discovered the joy of painting while attending a Paint Party and wanted to learn more.
In this article I'll explain the differences between Paint Parties, Workshops and art classes for those of you who wish to learn how to paint. These three activities have common positive benefits and can help you achieve your desired outcome. The common benefits are,
1. Allows you to be creative.
2. Provides a positive, memorable experience.
3. Provides a way for you to relax and enjoy yourself.
4. Will take your mind off of your worries and help relieve stress
Despite the common benefits, the differences between the three are huge. Here is an overview of each to help you decide which would be best for you.
Paint Parties, also known as "Paint 'n' Sip,” are the newest craze in the "learn how to paint" world so I'll begin here. The sessions are accompanied by wine, beer or other beverages which make these group painting parties fun, casual and social. The main focus is on the "party" aspect, not on the learning aspect. You could say they are more about Fun Art than Fine Art. These parties can accommodate large groups with up to 30 or more people and are usually located at a bar or restaurant. The painting subjects are decorative, simple and colorful and everyone paints the chosen image of the night. Students, or party goers are guided through a step by step process by the instructor or Partista ( party artist ). By the end of two hours each participant will have a completed painting to take home along with having an affordable and enjoyable time with family, friends or co-workers. Prices can vary between $30 to $75 per person, art supplies are included. The instructor may or may not be an artist or have an art background.
Now, having said all that, there is one Paint Party business I know of here in Lahaina that does not follow the Paint Party business approach. Instead, it focuses more on the art side and not on the party side of the business. It's called Maui Paint Parties and you can find it on Facebook.
Art Workshops and Artist Retreats, are much more complex than Paint Parties. They can be as short as a few hours and as long as a week or more. Class sizes are smaller so each student can receive individual attention from the instructor. Costs can range from $50 to $350 or more per person per day. Art supplies may or may not be included, so make sure you find out before attending a workshop. There are workshops and artist retreats all over the world. This allows the adventurous student the opportunity to travel. Some will provide sleeping accommodations for an added fee.
People attend art workshops for a variety of reasons and will choose according to what fits into their time, budget and what's being offered. Many people have little or no experience with art and merely want to relax, have fun and explore their creative sides. Some are uncomfortable or intimidated around art and want to become more familiar with it. Others want to develop a creative pastime or hobby they can enjoy without a huge investment. Workshops are also good for trained experienced artists who want to learn a new technique outside of their own area of expertise. If you are an artist you know how important it is to keep learning. Workshops can stimulate your own creative impulses, help relieve artist's block, or give you new ideas and inspirations for future art work. For new students or first timers, workshops can give you the time to focus on yourself and your art work. You can become energized, inspired, learn new skills and meet new people.
There are literally thousands of workshops across the USA and in other countries. Some focus on a particular style such as realism, impressionism or abstract. Some focus on the medium being used such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, or mixed media just to name a few. Others are more focused on teaching a particular subject like landscapes, seascapes or portraits. What ever your interests are I'm sure you will be able to find a workshop that will fit it. One of the advantages of taking a workshop as opposed to a formal course of study is they are less structured and more fun and social. Plus with the smaller group size the beginner and amateurs will benefit from plenty of individual attention by the teacher.
Now you may be wondering how to find a workshop that will fit into your budget, time frame or interest. In today's world that is easy, Google it! Or check with your local art center, Museum or Art Gallery. You can also check out various art magazines at your local book store. Many art magazines have workshops listed in the back section of their publications. Make sure you take the time to view any websites they have or call to get more info. Remember I mentioned above that some workshops include the art supplies, others don’t, in which case, you will need to get the supply list and do some shopping.
If you are visiting Maui you may want to checkout the workshops I offer at my studio. You can view the paintings in the Class Schedule / Workshop section of my Art E Studio website, www.art-e-studio.net.
Art Classes, formal and private are much more focused on the education and career minded student. In this section I'll talk about both the more formal college classes for those of you who want an art degree, and the more casual private classes from a professional artist or instructor.
First lets talk about the formal education, the benefit of an art degree and what you can do with it. And, hopefully I'll ease your mind regarding the "Starving Artist" condition we all hear about. An art degree can prepare you for many specialized art careers which can be very rewarding for the creative minded person. Here is a list of art career jobs you might be interested in.
*Visual communication such as advertising, web design, book publishing, TV and film.
*Media arts and Animation. Wouldn't you love to work at Disney Studios?
*And of course, Professional Fine Artist
This is a short list, and as you can see, there are many ways to earn a living through the arts, there is no need to starve. In the majority of art careers you will find it essential to have a varied portfolio of work to show prospective employers. You will also want to take courses in business, teaching or history for many of the careers listed above. The job prospects for art majors are wide open. Besides the technical skills you will gain from your art degree, you will also strengthen your critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, presentation skills and time management. You can gain these skills through taking a workshop or private art lessons as well. They are potential achievements from learning to be creative.
Now lets talk about private art classes. This is my area of expertise and one that I love. The advantage of taking a private class is huge. The special one-on-one help you'll get is very valuable. If you have never taken an art class or workshop and are nervous or shy, a private class will work well for you and can help prepare you for future workshops. You can ask any question you want, set the pace for how fast or slow you want to go and you get to paint what interests you and in the style you like, using the medium of your choice. You'll learn art terms and their meaning such as composition, light and shadow and values. I'll show you how to mix paint and teach you about basic color theory. I'll teach you what brushes to use and various painting techniques and much much more. I'll pass on so much information that it can feel a bit overwhelming, but not to worry, I repeat myself, a lot. I'll help you discover that creative person hiding inside and lead you to discover the joy of painting.