In 2015 I decided to go back to teaching art after completing a Professional Development Programme in Dubai.
It had been several years but I was given a gentle push by colleagues at Tashkeel Art Hub where I was working in the professional studios.
My project was to design an art course that would bring painters up to a high level of accomplishment within a relatively short time. This was a challenge as I was pitching my course to all levels of experience.
The end of the Programme coincided with an international exhibition called ‘Mind the Gap’.
My successful submission was to show through traditional painting and installation, a gap in the market for a condensed academic painting course rather than the usual leisure courses.
Since finishing the programme I’ve produced and taught several classes and workshops between Ireland and Dubai and I love it. I hope that my students love it too.
All this takes up a good proportion of the week and I have my own work to squeeze in too. A refrain of mine is ‘What do people do who don’t paint?’
I love teaching. I find it so satisfying when somebody finds their artistic voice. I can’t pretend that what I teach is easy but I can guarantee that if somebody trusts me, trusts the method and sticks with it they will get a good result.
Attached are some examples from past participants who have learnt and flown the studio. I’ve also attached 2 photos showing the workshop we held today.
We start with portraits, aiming high and we learn a LOT. It’s not a leisure class, no long sessions interrupted by wine and lots of chat but it’s not too scary either. We work really hard and I hope you’ll agree that the results are stunning.
I don’t believe in limitations. My sons remember me saying ‘you can do anything you want to do’, (this was usually accompanied by their affectionate, teasing and rolling of eyes). I feel the same about the talented artists that I teach.
What about taking the art forward? What next? I’m happy to say some of my past and present students are now accepting commissions, some are regularly exhibiting their paintings and we have had many prizewinners.
This has made me very proud and all that was needed was a gentle push.