Stepping into the Unknown:
My first art class

Left: Ready for the class. Right: Work in progress

Being a part of the Museum London Content Team has been a very stimulating experience. Not only does our team get to write about some very diverse topics, but we also get to participate in a range of creative activities that broaden our perspectives on the cultural and artistic world thriving in our city.

As a team, we meet on a monthly basis in the Rhino Lounge to sip coffee, share ideas, and decide on appropriate content to promote the Museum in its endeavors. We happen to always situate ourselves next to what has become one of my favourite paintings by artist Jeff Willmore called “Gaspe”. So, when asked to participate in an introductory acrylic painting class led by Jeff, I couldn’t say no.

“Gaspe” by Jeff Willmore

If you have never had the chance to see his work, I highly recommend you do. Beautiful landscapes and everyday people often influence his paintings. However, Jeff transforms these forms into something special with his unique methods and style of painting.

I have not studied art in an academic level, however, I am a photographer. I am more acquainted with taking away an image rather than putting one-fourth. I have dabbled in painting and drawing, but more or less as a hobby, never having learned technique. I felt extremely fortunate to get the practice and learn some basic techniques from Jeff during my six weeks in his class.

The class was composed of 12 students, and many of them had painted in the past, or continue to now. It can be discouraging to be surrounded by people who have a grip on things a little better than you do, but everyone was supportive of the other and constantly sharing kind and encouraging words on the progress of your piece. Jeff’s approach to his students was very cool, calm and collected. He always gave suggestions in a way that you trusted, and sometimes you’d find us letting him take over our canvasses to show us a different perspective on whatever we had going. Everyone had their own styles and subjects, so it was hard not to be wowed by the creative energy flowing around the class.

I really enjoyed the way Jeff left us to work at our pace, stopping us every so often to give a brief lesson on colours, mixing or under painting. Acrylics are a very flexible, very versatile paint, which I thought reflected the class as a whole. The class was more casual than formal, and I think that allowed everyone to get more done and be more comfortable in their work.

My series of Miami Beach art deco style properties

I chose to do a series of Miami Beach art deco style properties. This wasn’t necessarily what I had planned to paint, but sort of fell into place and will soon spawn into a bigger series I have ideas for. I am thankful to have learned what I did and appreciative of the studio time I shared with fellow creative strangers. I feel more confident in tackling a canvas again in the near future thanks to lessons I learned from Jeff and the others I met during this class.

If this is something you are interested in doing, have a look at the other art classes Museum London offers. It’s fun and insightful, and sometimes you need a little boost to get those artistic juices flowing.

Compiled by content team contributor, Rima Sater.

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