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Starting Art September 2009 Edition
September 19, 2009

Issue #26 - September 2009


Welcome to the September 2009 issue of Starting Art!

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Hi again, Bob here.

Sincere apologies for the gap since the last Starting Art. I've started to film a new DVD course for Watercolour Flower painting and this, coupled with the astonishing sales of Watercolour Secrets, has kept me away from Newsletter production for quite a while.

As a compensation, we've put together an altogether bigger issue this time round with three videos by excellent artists on really interesting and varied topics, some very useful quick tips and a special article I've written on some pointers for setting up your own art group or class.

Finally, I must mention that the latest batch of both the DVD and on-line version of Watercolour Secrets is on sale again, but is rapidly selling out - again. See item 1 below for more details on how to get hold of your copy now before they all go.

Best wishes,


*** CONTENTS ***

1. Watercolour Secrets - On Sale Again, But Not For Long!

2. Quick Tip - Watercolour Paper From Wallpaper Lining Paper

3. I Draw and Paint Featured Group - Colored Pencils (aka The Pencileers)

4. Video Tutorial - Sponge Painting

5. Quick Tip - An Easy Way to Paint Tree Leaves

6. Video Tutorial - A Simple Acrylic glaze

7. Video Tutorial - How to Paint a Water Droplet

8. Article - Starting Your Own Art Group

1. Watercolour Secrets - On Sale Again, But Not For Long!

The hugely popular Watercolour secrets DVDs and on-line version are once again available, but - and it's not just 'sales talk' - they're disappearing rapidly. I know very many of you have already purchased Watercolour Secrets and we've published many of your positive and appreciative comments on the Watercolour Secrets Home page. However, we have the best part of 1000 new subscribers to Starting Art every month, so if you haven't had a chance to see what it's all about, click on the link below....

Click here to get to your copy of Watercolour Secrets

2. Quick Tip - watercolour Paper From Wallpaper Lining Paper

This is a tip that's dear to my heart as I've used lining paper for years as a flexible and economical friend when doing impromptu demos and art classes.

Click here to see this helpful idea.

3. I Draw and Paint Featured Group - Colored Pencils (aka The Pencileers)

This enthusiastic group concentrates on using coloured pencils. Now you might think this is a relatively 'minority sport' amongst painting and drawing media, but believe me some of the work that the members produce is stunning. And remember, I'll bet there's hardly an artist anywhere who hasn't used coloured pencils at some point or another, even if it's to sketch an idea before they paint!

Click here to find out more

4. Video Tutorial - Sponge Painting

Here, artist Terrance Lun Tse shows us how to produce wonderful palm trees with nothing more sophisticated than a cheap kitchen sponge. By the way, at the start of this video a message may appear saying the video isn't available. Ignore this. It appears to be a mistake. Just let it run on past the message and enjoy the lesson.

Click here to see how it's done....

5. Quick Tip - An Easy Way to Paint Tree Leaves

Here's a quick tip on a different way of producing leaves from I Draw and Paint Australian member and prolific painter Owen Jones.
Click here to read how easy but neat the idea is!

6. Starting Your Own Art Group or Class

From time to time, I'm asked how someone gets an art group or class started. They're not necessarily teachers, but might be a small number of like-minded painters who just want to get together to enjoy their painting as a group. Often, it's the social contact that's as important as the painting itself - and there's nothing wrong with that!

You could start an art class in several ways. If you have a group of friends (maybe 3 or 4) you could start with those numbers in someone's house. If they like it then the word soon spreads amongst their friends.

However this isn't ideal for all sorts of obvious reasons, especially if the venue is always at the same house!

Have a look around local churches, community halls, libraries etc. for availability, hiring rates and conditions of hire. Check out the place. Is it light enough, too big/too small, warm/cold, have a kitchen, easy access, parking, etc ? Are other (noisy) classes (music and dance) going on next door or over your head at the same time? Are you going to turn up one week and find your light-hearted banter is mixed in with the sombre conversation of strangers because the Church has suddenly booked the hall for a wake on one of your dates?

Above all, do you feel comfortable in the place. If you don't, then your friends/students probably won't either.

Insurance is an important issue these days. Organisations in the UK like the SAA (Society for All Artists) offer an insurance policy specifically geared to art classes. In your part of the world, check out similar Arts organisations who should be able to point you in the right direction. Don't assume that the 'standard' insurance held by a church or community hall is going to cover any claims against you from either them or a third party.

If all is OK do an advert for display in the hall and around local shops, (especially art shops), supermarkets, galleries, libraries, post offices and so on. Maybe your local radio station has a community activity slot to give you some air time or at least a mention of your existence.

Think about times of classes. 10 - 12 noon is good and so is 1 - 3pm as this allows adults to drop or pick up kids from school and still have time to attend. Evenings are fine as well, say from 7 -9pm.

If you just want to teach, you could approach a local adult education college. They'll pay you an hourly rate which is going to be less than what you might get for a private class but the venue's sorted and in theory they should organise the adverts and class members (though in my experience, this falls mostly on you in a mad last minute panic just before the week the classes are due to start....)

With Colleges there's much more paperwork involved to justify your existence (and someone else's no doubt) but it's a useful way to try things out without committing to more than a few weeks of a term and up-front costs of your own.

Colleges can also pull the plug without warning if the class size is perceived to be not big enough to pay its way even though there are good numbers and they're rising. Been there, had that done to me....

However, I found that when I started with classes of 3 or 4, that often jumped to 15-20 in a few weeks through word of mouth. So once you get going you'll find there's a constant demand.

I'd say 15-20 is about the top limit one person can handle and give reasonable attention to everyone as well as a general group demo.

For private classes, you need to assess your overall costs including materials and then charge a rate that will cover this and leave you a reasonable profit that you think is worth your while.

Don't overlook preparation time before the class and thinking up a complete set of subjects to paint throughout a term or payment period and how you're going to deliver them.

Incidentally, my first private classes that I used to run largely came from people in a college class that got pulled and they said they were happy to pay a bit more than what they were paying in College to keep things going.

You could also advertise 1-2-1 classes for students in your own home, especially if you're doing oils which is easier to have set up and ready in your own place. You can of course visit other students, but you're not as in control of the environment and work area...

If young people are involved either as a student or group member, you may well find that the local authority will require some kind of criminal records check on you as teacher/organiser beforehand. It'll certainly be the case before they let you teach even adults in a College. We all support the good reasons why it's done. Nevertheless it's another piece of bureaucracy for teachers and group organisers to contend with these days.

On a related issue, if you're not sure whether teaching is for you, consider volunteering a morning a week at a local care home. They're always on the look-out for cheap (or free!) help with classes for the residents. At times this can be challenging but also extremely rewarding when you see the look of joy on resident's faces as they create something they never thought they could possibly manage....

This isn't an exhaustive list but hopefully, it will give those thinking about starting a teaching or self-help art group a few pointers to get going.

Best of luck.


That's it for this issue. Best wishes and see you next time.


Note: Please do NOT reply to this e-mail as it won't reach anyone at How to Draw & Paint. Because of the number of subscribers we now use mail-out software and replies will get lost in cyber space. If you have a question please use the contact form.

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