It’s been a year since I started going to weekly art classes and the biggest surprise from it all has been how much learning how to paint has informed all my other creative outlets. As a ceramist making her full time living from what I craft I thought I was living quite a creative life but the classes are fulfilling a deep need within and it’s wonderful.
By going weekly it’s turned into an arty routine that’s really healthy for me and my creative nature.
5 Art Class Benefits
So here are five reasons why I think makers need to go to weekly art classes:
1. I’m learning new skills.
It’s so powerful for the brain and spirit to be learning something new and for someone who works with her hands to make ceramic jewellery developing the skills to wield a paint brush is great fun.
Plus I’m learning how to see things differently. I’ve always been rather observant and aware of what’s around me but looking for the details to make decisions about what to include and what to leave out, the form and shape to paint and the effects of light takes observation further. I think that keen attention to the subject matter is also very satisfying.
My art teacher is great at making sure that we learn new techniques with each painting while still reinforcing skills learnt from previous paintings. I realised at the end of last year just how much I’d been learning.
Before signing up for class I’d been trying to work through the beautiful how to paint books and really struggling. Now I work at an exercise within their pages, develop further and be pleased with my results. (So the money spent on these books aren’t wasted after all!).
2. I’m getting loads of design ideas.
Yes I know, it’s the doing that begets ideas but I’ve been really surprised with just how effective this is, and not just with my porcelain work, but with developing other areas I’ve wanted to work on for years.
I’m sure it’s all to do with using that creative part of the brain, it’s like taking it out for a healthy run. When I’ve talked to other creative friends they say the same thing to when they give over 3-4 hours a week to a different creative endeavour. I’m just surprised that it only takes so few few hours every week to generate such wide spread results.
Ideas about new porcelain jewellery designs have come through, different ways of applying colour to the designs, a willingness to try a new method of decoration and even exploring alternative ways to work with clay – do note, they’re all ways that others have used, they’re just new for me! But it’s a great to feel inspired and impassioned about my daily work.
I’ve started a new design range in stationery with an expanding selection of cards and A4 inspirational posters. Some are based on my writings, others on my paintings and photography.
3. It’s delightfully social.
This I hadn’t expected at all, to find a new social circle that I really enjoy seeing every week. We are all different characters and all come to painting with different approaches.
I sit next to two very different ladies and find the generosity of friendship and kindness heart warming. It’s a weekly catch up that brings me joy.
I was a little cautious when I first walked into the class, especially when I quickly realised they all knew each other from previous terms but I was welcomed with smiles and that made the world of difference. Now when we have a new person join us at the beginning of term I make sure I greet her as kindly.
4. It’s a supportive community.
For years I’ve loved being part of my creative market family every weekend with strong characters passionate about their own businesses and supportive of all of us who make that little pop up village come alive. This little community of ours is one of the things I love most about doing markets.
So to find another one to belong to during the week is delightful. Very few of the class members have had their own business, most are retired from paid employment and most can afford regular overseas holidays. We are quite different in some ways but the willingness to encourage, support, have a laugh and listen is wonderful. There is far more common ground than gaps.
5. It nurtures my creative muse.
I went along to the art class in the first place because I had a gnawing creature in my tummy wanting me to paint. I’d started painting by myself in my little studio and that helped but there were so many gaps. I started looking around for a class that fitted my schedule – I can only go to a weekday class given my work and it needed to be easy to get to considering peak hour traffic. Once I found the class I started over thinking it all, probably because I was daunted by the idea.
I picked up my courage, booked in and turned up. It turns out it was a big loud invitation for my creative muse to turn up too! Yay!
Every art class is like an open invitation to her, I love it. She lets me see things differently, opens up paths for ideas to come to me, strongly encourages me to write down those ideas that arrive when I’m drifting off to sleep and lightens my soul.
Art class nurtures my creative muse and she rewards me for the TLC. It’s so much better than when I shut her off while focusing on everything else and she feels neglected and turns up gnawing away at my insides. And really, it’s only a three hour class once a week. How good is that?
Finding Your Own Creative Outlet
For me it’s been a watercolour class for a few hours every week that’s been the best thing for me. It will differ for all of us what brings light into our lives, for some it’s scrapbooking, others it’s quilting or music. Whatever it is, the power is in regular doing and belonging to a group who shares the same passion is wonderful.
Whether it’s a few hours during the weekday or the weekend, an evening class or up early before everyone else, figure out what can be worked into your life and what’s around online or in the local community. Life will be better for doing so.
Share what’s working for you or what you’d love to explore sooner rather than later in the comments below.
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