It’s been 2 years since I last took an art class and I’m not proud of it. Although reading books about art and practicing every day makes a huge impact in my creative process, sometimes teaching myself the craft doesn’t fulfill my hunger for knowledge and experience. Here and there I’ve seen myself submerged in a classroom with a bunch of other artists and their works hanging on the walls: I was seven years old when my mom made me take a painting class, twelve when she got me into Color Pencil for Beginners and 20, when I willingly enrolled on Drawing 101. The feeling of being among other like-minded people, observing their development, learning and growing with them is what motivates me to get in a classroom despite my anxiety, but in recent years, I’ve found it really hard to overcome and it’s stopping me from doing something that makes me happy. To push myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve written 3 reasons in which taking an art class will benefit us and I hope by the end of this article, you and I will be taking some action on that matter.
So here a 3 ways taking an art class will benefit your creativity:
IT’LL GET YOU OUT OF A CREATIVE RUT: Ideally, inspiration should catch you working, but when we feel blocked, we tend to fear the paper even more than usual and it stop us from being productive. In a classroom, we are “obligated” to do the work and produce results, forcing your creative juices to get flowing constantly. You might not notice it right away but from day one, the way your hand moves, how you observe an object, how you execute a challenge, will spark zillions of ideas to choose from.
When I was taking my Oil Pastels class in 2014, I was blocked, with no subject I wanted to work on, but thanks to the constant process of experimentation with that new media, by the end of the class I was all about mermaids and the ocean and magical creatures. I wanted to make them all.
Our brains love to be fed and they love to recreate, so feed it, learn a new media, a new style, a new skill, give it a distraction from its left side, I promise it’ll reciprocate all that love with new concepts and universes to create.
IT’LL IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS: Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, taking a class is a good way to look at your own progress and improve a skill. At the beginning of the course, you should consciously choose one thing you want to learn about the most besides the obvious reason you are in x or y class. Let’s say you’re learning the art of pointillism. Obviously, that is why you are in that class for, but perhaps, you’re also interested on learning how to paint better clouds, so you use the class as an excuse to not only learn a new style but also improve artistically on a form you find challenging. When we come into a class with a second intention, it keeps us motivated and focused on the goal and, with a teacher nearby, we can ask all the questions and request as much instruction as we need to, to accomplish the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Keep in mind though, improvement doesn’t have to involve only physical results, maybe with this class you can learn how to look from a complete different angle, a point of view you’ve never tried before; or you could learn to think about composition before getting hands on. Whatever it is, always have an intention for the class and by the end of it, you will be able to analyze your own development. So, what is it you want to improve on? What is it you want to learn? What can you focus on that needs to be looked at differently? Go beyond the obvious.
IT’LL HELP YOU DISCOVER NEW WAYS: While taking a class, you’ll be surrounded by many other creatives like yourself, therefore, you’ll be constantly observing how others work, you’ll get to share thoughts and ideas with them and, your teacher will probably give a lot of feedback from which you’ll start discovering new ways to create, new concepts to develop.
Being surrounded by like minded people is a big source of inspiration because you all will be brainstorming and creating your own little projects in your heads, experimenting new ways, and trying new things. You can teach each other endless lessons. When I was taking Oil Paint 101 in 2012, I made a comment to Joe, one of my classmates who is an amazing portraiture artist, about how I really wanted to move on from graphite with my female portraits to color but I was really afraid of messing with skin tones. After that day, I think he gave me a tip on portraiture painting in every single class and I would analyze (while doing my still life work, of course) how he set up his palette, what colors he was using the most, the way his brush moved around the canvas, everything. If it wasn’t for his feedback and recommendations, maybe today I wouldn’t work my females in oil paint and I’d still be working only in pencil, dreaming about this wonderful world of color.
Look at your surroundings in your classroom, take advantage of your teacher and your classmates, they’ll be more than happy to support you and learn from you too. Interchange ideas with them and learn about their process, discover a new creative world for yourself.
I have two classes in mind I want to take next, one is ceramics and the other one is poetry. I’m aiming to take at least one of them by the end of the year. What’s the art class you want to take next?