Many artists in our local Surface Design group refresh their creativity by taking a class. It can provide the jolt of learning a new technique, a review of design basics, or a chance to hone one’s personal vision. It’s also just fun to hang out with those who are just as bonkers as we are about making great stuff.
We’re very lucky to have three great ‘schools’ handy. Coupeville’s Pacific Northwest Art School brings international artists in photography, fiber, painting, and mixed media. Gail Harker continues to bring the quality of London’s City & Guilds series to LaConner, and Maiwa in Vancouver offers especially tempting textile skills. Nothing like taking 4 or 5 days to immerse yourself in hand-dyeing fabric, learning to use oil sticks, or making your own paper.
I’m currently in a 10-week online art class with Lisa Call that uses the tools of the internet so students can upload their weekly artwork, join in on live meetings with images, and connect with each other through a WordPress comment section. I’m working hard and learning a bunch. The benefits are that I’m working in my own studio and have choices about when to access the audio and email material.
Although this particular class focuses on the creative process of working in a series, there are many shorter technique courses. For example, I learned how to create the crackly seaweed in the image above from Linda Robertson’s encaustic demonstration class. (See www.dianereardon.com for my whale art and www.dianereardonblog.com for info on whales.)
Choosing an Online Class
Courses vary in
- How much audio, video, and written information is provided
- How it’s delivered and how long it’s available
- How much feedback teachers offer
- How students are able to interact
And, of course, cost.
If you’re not an artist, other online courses are sprouting up all over the wild west of the internet. Google your favorite passion or check out www.coursera.com for a set of free university level courses to spice up your winter.