Setting creative goals in 2019

Sabotaging your new year’s resolution is almost expected.

Let’s look at setting goals in a different way.

Have you made a conscious decision to focus on your creativity this year? You might want to learn how to draw, join an art class, or produce a body of work for an exhibition. Whatever your intention, it is important to set goals and be accountable. This may not sound very “creative”, however many successful artists have goals and rigid daily routines to ensure their practise is central in their lives.

Write it down

Writing goals is something that we should be taught in school. They are so underrated and are key to achieving your dreams.

A great way to begin writing your goals is to start with the big one. What is it? To earn a living painting? Become a portraiture artist? To enter the local art exhibition? Or learn how to paint with watercolour?

Once you have established your overarching goal, you can break it down into smaller medium-term and short-term goals to see what you need to do to achieve it. This will not only make it more manageable, it will show you just how much work is involved (which might surprise you)! Use the points below to help you create your short-term goals.

Structure

Artist Joan Miró adhered to a strict daily routine. He began the day at 6:00am with rigorous exercise, then would work in the studio until midday. He then took a five-minute nap, which he called “Mediterranean yoga”, then dedicated some time to his business affairs. Miró would then return to the studio until dinnertime at 8:00pm.

Women and Bird in the Moonlight 1949 Joan Mir? 1893-1983 Purchased 1951 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N06007

Structure in your day is very important if you are serious about achieving your goals. Now, most of us don’t have the luxury of spending our entire day in the studio like Miró. We have jobs, we need to pay bills, and our lives may be busy. To ensure that you dedicate some time each day to your creative goal, write out your current routine and see where you can fit in time for your craft. It may be as little as 45 minutes. This shows just how important routine is, because after we finish our compulsory daily tasks, that time in front of the TV seems appealing. It’s easy to lose days, weeks and years without really dedicating time to something you ultimately want to do!

The right information

It’s easy to suffer analysis paralysis with the multitude of books, online tutorials, art schools, techniques and advice out there. Don’t spend time absorbing mediocre information. If you are reading a book about technique and don’t like it, don’t read it.  Do your research; read the great books, attend art schools that align with your journey with quality teachers and artists. Don’t stop learning, but be selective.

Mindset

This is a tough one; we can be our own worst enemy.

Only compare your work with your older work, not someone else’s. There will always be an artist who is better than you. The journey is long, and you won’t always produce work you like, but that’s part of the journey.

And what you must remember is that you have something to offer the world, too. Your journey is unique and just as important, and there are people in the world who will enjoy and want to buy your work.

You will also experience plateaus and blockages during your journey. This is normal and part of the practice – it allows for periods of creative abundance. Don’t be hard on yourself, read books like The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, listen to music you don’t normally listen to, or shake-up your daily habits (like walking around the block the opposite way).

Turn up

Artist Gerhard Richter spends weeks in his studio planning his paintings, or rearranging items in his studio, until he feels an internal crisis and need to paint. Then it pours out.

This is probably the most important lesson to take away. Turning up. Once you have written down your goals and established how much time you can dedicate to your art, you must turn up.

Picasso would spend hours standing in front of his paintings every day. Just like Richter, the act of turning up and spending time planning, reviewing and being with their work was key to their processes. Most of us don’t have the time to do this, so we must be more conscious of how we use it. Go to where you create during the time you’ve set aside and stay there the entire time. Don’t make excuses. Just go there and surround yourself with your creative tools and your work. You will eventually want to put pencil to paper. But don’t beat yourself up if this doesn’t happen for a while!

We are here to help

So, to recap:

  1. Write down your goals
  2. Establish structure
  3. Source quality educational tools and teachers
  4. Keep your mindset in check
  5. Turn up.

Melbourne Art Class offers a supportive, creative community for artists who thrive when working with other creatives. Learn new techniques and share ideas with other artists in our group classes or focus on your journey with our one-on-one tutoring. If you’re not interested or ready to join a class, we have a wealth of free resources on our blog, monthly newsletter and Facebook page.

Now it’s up to you – start writing down your goals, and make 2019 count!

Written by Lauren Ottaway.

Capsicums are not just for cooking

Our teens’ Studio Art class produced some incredible drawings and paintings in the – of the humble capsicum.

Zoe, acrylic on canvas, 2018

Michelle Zuccolo presents the class with different materials each week, including still life and examples of famous artwork and gives students the opportunity to try drawing and painting in the same style. The last few week’s classes featured capsicums and the students used charcoal and pencils, creating beautiful tonal drawings. Once exploring the structure of the capsicums, students recreated them with acrylic on canvas. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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10 things a beginner artist needs to know

The beginning of an artist’s journey can be fear-inducing, overwhelming, exciting, inspiring (among many other things)! These ten tips will hopefully help you successfully continue on your creative path, with the knowledge that the journey is just as important (if not more) as the destination.

1. You will really learn how to “see”

Drawing is the foundation of many art practises, and you will most likely find yourself learning how to draw again, and during this period, you will learn (or re-learn) how to “see”.

The moment that lightbulb switches on for a beginner artist is unforgettable. It is when you move away from the way you drew as a child. For example, a nose is not a “nose” anymore – it is made up of many smaller shapes – balls, cylinders and curved lines. You will begin to look at previously mundane objects around you and break them down into parts – analysing the different shapes within shapes; the negative space around them; the graduation of lights and darks. Learning how to draw truly opens up a new way of seeing – and it is so exciting!

2. Always be curious

Have your eyes open. Be observant; look at and be engaged in the physical world around you. It can not only inspire you, it can bring forth those moments of inspiration that wouldn’t normally strike you if you didn’t have your eyes truly open.

3. You are unique

You have a unique way of viewing the world and you have chosen to share this through art. Someone, somewhere will identify with your view and love what you do, and even pay for it. Don’t be scared if your work is different; as we all know, controversial artwork in the past has created art movements.

4. Don’t compare your work to others’

The only work you should be comparing is your new work to you old. Everyone is on a journey, and there will always be someone who is ahead of you. It’s very easy to compare your work to other artists’; however, this is not useful if it is affecting your art practice in a negative way. Learn from others, be inspired by others, and reserve the comparisons for your studio only.

5. Prioritise your creative practise

Create every single day or as often as you can. It’s the only way you will learn, and improve. Overcome your internal resistance; it is important to prioritise time to be creative in your life if you want to grow.

6. Keep learning

You don’t have to attend traditional art school to become an artist, however, taking art classes to improve your skills will help get you there faster. If you’re interested in a certain style – research it. Visit galleries and find art the inspires you – then copy it. Learn how the masters created their work; learn about the mistakes they made, and their successes. Take technical art classes, or engage with your local art scene and join an art community to be in the company of other creatives. And don’t stop learning!

7 Embrace your mistakes

The best thing about making mistakes is that you can learn from them. What you might see as a mistake at first, could be part of the journey to a great piece of art. When you believe you have made a mistake, try and push through and continue working. It is often a blockage, and it takes courage to continue working with it. Or leave the piece of work so you can sit with it for a few days – you will often come up with a solution (and you have learnt so much more than if you destroyed the work).

8. Stop thinking

During the creative process, have you ever experienced what can be described as “flow”, where the concept of time disappears and so does your internal dialogue, and it is just you and your work? It’s hard to switch off your inner critic, or your daily running dialogue, but when you do – magic happens. Sometimes it helps not to have a perceived end-goal, and just create for the sake of being creative. This can also help break the initial mental barrier preventing the physical act of creating – to stop thinking/judging/analysing and put that pencil or brush to paper. See what happens.

9. It takes time

It can be frustrating when you are just starting out and can see a masterpiece in your head, but you don’t yet have the skills to bring it to life. Be kind to yourself and remember that every artist has experienced this part of their journey. It takes a lot of work. Enjoy the journey and the improvements you notice in your work along the way.

10. Believe in yourself

Self-doubt can be your biggest enemy. Until you really believe in yourself, you will not understand the true enormity of this statement. These tips above should help you get some of the way there, however you can only truly know when you believe in yourself. We believe in you!

 At Melbourne Art Class we offer a range of art classes for every step of the artist’s journey. You can view all of our current courses here.

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Students’ work from our Abstract Painting Workshop

Marco ran an Abstract Painting Course over the long weekend.

Over seven hours, students explored colour theory, conceptual elements, tone, colour and composition in an artwork.

Students were given a number of ways to approach abstraction by looking for compositional ideas and manipulate shapes and forms. They began by creating collages using images from magazines, cut up paper, or by drawing from life using Still Life. These collages were then used to create the composition on their canvas.

This course provided a unique opportunity to explore abstraction and different compositional elements of an artwork. Take a look below at the incredible work that was produced during the workshop!

Below are the initial abstract concepts:

And here are the final works:

If you would like to join our next Abstract Painting Workshop, visit our course page and join our waiting list!

Have you asked Google “how to draw”?

Google recently revealed the top ten “how to” searches of all time, and “how to draw” made it in at number 5.

When you ask Google “how to draw”, the search results show an overwhelming number of step-by-step websites and videos on how to draw anything from a fox to the 3D alphabet. Whilst these instructional blogs and videos seem to satisfy the searcher’s needs, we know that it is with continued drawing practice that drawing skills improve. In fact, we have noticed that some students come to our classes after reaching the limit of what they can do through online training videos.

This is one reason why we do what we do. We design classes that help everyone and all skill levels – including those who are googling “how to draw”.  Our teachers are all practising artists themselves, and aim to help you with whatever you are searching to do creatively.

Why do we draw?

We begin expressing ourselves unselfconsciously through drawing before we can say our own name as it is an instinct we are born with. But by the time we finish school, most of us don’t pick up a pencil again for a very long time. As drawing does not seem to be of tangible use for everyday life, it is easy to place less importance on it, and ultimately forget about it.

We draw for self-expression; to process thoughts and feelings; for pleasure; to record moments in time; to read and interpret the world. Drawing is valuable in our lives because it is a form of visual thinking and challenges us in different ways, from hand-eye co-ordination, to how we really understand and “see” an object in front of us.

People often seek drawing classes in adulthood because few things in life can generate the same feeling that creativity can. Drawing can be calming, it can challenge us and change our brain patterns. Drawing classes are also a “mature” way to continue what we loved doing as children; we may attend classes for the familiar feeling that drawing creates within us, or because we want to become a master of the craft.

Jesse Dayan, Two Empty Chairs and a Top Hat Signifying a Brief Absence, Charcoal on Paper, 2012

We have also noticed that many people at Melbourne Art Class, once they have retired, seek drawing classes with us, because they now have the time to pursue something they have always wanted to do. We feel privileged that we can help these people reconnect with their creativity and the lost art of drawing.

The reasons why we draw are subjective and widely varied, however, we want to emphasise that it is never too late to pick up the pencil again.

We can teach you “how to draw”

Our classes provide an environment that cannot be replicated in an online tutorial. When you are around creative people, you feel yourself become more inspired and more likely to be motivated to return week after week. Practice, ultimately, will improve your drawing. And we believe everyone can draw.

We have a few drawing classes scheduled for the remainder of 2017 and we would love to help you improve, or refresh your drawing skills:

Drawing Bootcamp with Marco Corsini – Nov 4  

An intense crash-course introducing you to the fundamentals of drawing

Drawing in Nature – en plein air with Marco Corsini – 5 week course from Nov 12

A unique opportunity to draw alongside, and receive tuition from artist Marco Corsini in his natural element – the outdoors

General Drawing – Cylinders, Flowers, Folds and Fish with Marco Corsini – 6-week course from Nov 11

Be introduced to various classical strategies and techniques for drawing from Still Life

Introduction to Drawing – The Four Elements of Sketching with Hilmi Baskurt – 5-week course from Nov 21 

Explore the four basic elements of sketching and drawing, including understanding the subject’s structure, proportions, and the placement of its compositional elements.

And here is the rest of the list of “how to” questions we have been asking Google. How many have you asked?

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Work from our Life Drawing Class

There are many drop-in life drawing classes around Melbourne, which are fantastic for artists who have experience in drawing from the figure. Here at Melbourne Art Class, we run a unique, six-week Introduction to Life Drawing Course, tutored by a number of our talented artists / teachers. We have designed this course for students who would like to learn the fundamentals of life drawing and receive one-on-one tuition in a supportive environment. During this course, students learn different techniques for drawing the figure, and many of our students complete the course multiple times to hone in on different skills with our teachers’ guidance.

Our current Life Drawing Course is presented by Hilmi Baskurt, and the students have achieved incredible results in such a short time! You can see some of their brilliant work below.

Our next Life Drawing Course will be presented by artist Jesse Dayan, and this will sadly be his final short course at MAC. It has been an absolute honour having Jesse teach our Life Drawing short courses, and we are very fortunate that he will still be able to run Life Drawing workshops here at Melbourne Art Class in the future.

You can find out more about our tutored Life Drawing Courses and enrol here.

Click on the images below to enlarge them.

Inside our Drawing and Mixed Media Workshop

Hilmi ran our first workshop for the year – a Drawing Workshop using Ink and Shellac. It was a marathon workshop, where students created a still life, beginning with charcoal, then two layers of shellac and finished with black ink and white paint!

Hilmi began the workshop teaching students some of the fundamentals of drawing. Students were to choose a number of items of still life that Hilmi had meticulously arranged, with black sheets behind them, which Hilmi explained was important because it creates the shapes of the still life. You see the shape of something by looking at what is behind it, and a dark surface makes this easier.

After students finished the drawing in pencil, they then used charcoal to enhance the dark and light tones within the image.

Once students felt they had a finished sketch, Hilmi put down a big plastic sheet, and made sure everyone wore gloves for, what students felt, was a daunting, yet fascinating process. They laid their works on the plastic sheet and poured shellac all over the page, moving around and smoothing out the shellac with small spatulas. Students were hesitant to pour the runny mixture on the thin paper, however the shellac sealed the charcoal drawing beneath and eventually created a hard surface; changing the images instantly! Students added two layers and then left them to dry for half an hour. If you are familiar with Hilmi’s mixed media works using shellac, he normally uses at least eight layers of shellac!

Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing
Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing

KC smoothing shellac over her drawing
KC smoothing shellac over her drawing

Once the images were dry, the next step was to add ink in the darkest areas, and diluted ink for the mid-tones. Painting over the shellac was unlike anything they had experienced; the new texture of the paper was unpredictable; there were bubbles, rough and smooth areas, which made it very interesting, yet challenging to apply the ink! The final part of the workshop saw students adding white to the lightest areas, which was what Hilmi called creating ‘magic’. It really did lift the still life images off the page!

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If you’d like to join one of our next workshops, you can view them here.

 

Still life and life model paintings from Term 4

We had our talented regulars, plus a few new faces in our Painting Course this Term, and it was a fantastic class. Hilmi’s teaching is based on traditional oil painting techniques, using elements of Flemish painting with a contemporary adaptation.

This term they painted from still life for four sessions, and from a life model for five. Take a look at their brilliant work below!

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Hilmi will be running his Painting Course for Term 1 on Saturday afternoons from February 4th. You can read more about it and enrol here: https://melbourneartclass.com/painting-with-hilmi-baskurt/

We did not receive everyone’s work – so if you do not see your paintings and would like them to be published on our blog and online gallery, please sent them to Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com!

Director’s end of year message

We’ve come to the end of a very exciting and sometimes challenging 2016 for Melbourne Art Class (MAC). What began as a unique art program almost nine years ago, continues to flourish. We have been coming to terms with the ever-increasing scale of MAC and there is little doubt in my mind that everything we have been through this year is laying the foundations for a new MAC era.

I’d like to thank everyone that has participated in MAC this year.

Thank you to our dedicated students who make our role as teachers extremely rewarding. For us as teachers, this environment of small intimate classes is a wonderful way to pass on skills and exchange experiences. I receive so much from my students; sometimes my classes are like a balm for the hard, long hours I work alone elsewhere. I very much appreciate meeting wonderful people who regularly attend our courses and embrace our little community with generosity.

Thanks to the Uniting Church who ignore the possibility of greater economic gain to make Enderby Hall available to artists, in so doing have supported me as an artist.

Thank you Lauren for being a being a constant support for me as I scurry between teaching and art practice. I attribute the friendly tone and sense of community we have managed to retain to your focus and warmth.

Thank you Hilmi as you continue to take art teaching to new levels. The little following of students that has sprouted up around you is justly deserved. I personally continue to gain much from our conversations and it is always encouraging to know that you are there.

Thank you Caz for bringing your generous warmth and experience to MAC’s students. We are fortunate to have your unique set of skills along with the care you have shown individuals.

Thank you to Jesse, you have been a strong foundation for myself and for MAC and it has been exciting to see the new developments in your own art practice this year. We will be watching for your upcoming show.

Thanks also to Irene who worked with us for part of the year. I very much have respect for your breadth of skill and experience.

Thank you to Althea who brings her gift for business strategy to our little school, enabling us to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

I continue to watch MAC develop and grow with a quiet sense of awe. I cannot tell you how fortunate we are to have this unique group of teachers and administrators and it has been amazing to see the way in which each individual ‘appeared’ when we most needed them.

2017 will be a formative year for MAC as we adapt, implement new courses, teachers and spaces. I look forward to continuing the journey with you.

Have a wonderful Christmas and holiday break and a happy new year!

Marco

Marco Corsini

New day art classes at MAC!

We have been asked for a long time now, when will we be holding art classes during the day?!

Well, we are excited to announce we will be running two new Drawing and Painting (Studio Art) classes during Tuesday and Friday mornings from 2017! Finally, we hear you say!

Artist Marco Corsini will be presenting these daytime art classes and they will run the same way as our popular evening Studio Art Class (don’t worry, he will still be taking our Tuesday night class)!

Vicki Mullina, oil on canvas, 2016, Studio Art Class

Marco’s Studio Art Classes are our longest-running and are the foundation of Melbourne Art Class. We welcome people from all creative backgrounds, skill levels – anyone who needs a space to be creative, become inspired, acquire specific skills, continue an artistic project – the list goes on. The unique element about this class is that we limit enrolments to only ten students, so Marco is able to provide critical feedback, drawing and painting tuition or just help you get your idea out of your head and onto the canvas.

To get to know Marco’s classes a little better, you can read about his Tuesday evening class here.

Our classes are held at Enderby Studio, 314 Church Street, Richmond.

Daytime Art Course Dates

Term 1 Tuesday mornings: Feb 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, Mar 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th (8 sessions)

Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

Term 1 Friday mornings: Feb 10th, 17th, 24th,  Mar 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st (8 sessions)

 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

If you have any questions about our new daytime art classes, please don’t hesitate to email Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com! We look forward to helping you add some creativity to your week!