about the Courses
We do not have a fixed standard curriculum: all tuition is tailored to the needs of the student. Obviously, beginners who have not touched a paintbrush since leaving school will have different requirements to those artists who are regularly exhibiting. Our aim is always to 'educe' - to draw out from you what you have within you (this was the original meaning of 'education', though somewhere along the way it's turned into 'putting things into you').
We do of course have clear ideas on what skills we would like you to develop, but the way this will progress will depend very much on the beginning skill level and proclivities of the student.
Marisa's preferred media are acrylic paint, crayon and pencil and oils, and initial exercises for beginners will be based around these media. Later on in the course beginners will also explore other media. "...a very laid-back painting course that adapts itself to your level of work in a lovely setting... by the end of the week, they'd made sure I was aware of the areas I needed to work on, but they were also very encouraging about the work I was doing." 2003 Student
However, more experienced artists who prefer to work in a particular medium will be encouraged to work with that medium, either on their own account, or by joining in with some of the group exercises. There is a wealth of natural resources for painting and drawing all around the studio—all without walking more than a few hundred metres.
Generally (but depending on class size and weather) we will plan one day a week to go and do some site work at one of several possible locations, which may include the port of Mahón, one of the early prehistoric 'talayotic' sites which abound on the island, or one of the medieval towns of Menorca. This will be followed by a visit to a restaurant for a communal meal with wine.
A typical week for beginners might be along these lines:
- Day 1: Arrival/settling in, orientation.
- Day 2:
- 10.00-11.00 am: Tonal exercises, in black and white, using pencil or chalk or acrylics... (there may be a prize for the student who produces the most gradations of tone!)
- 11.00-12.00 am: Use of media - exercises with all types of materials, including mixing of different paint types
- 12.00-12.30 pm: Review of work so far, and coffee break
- 12.30- 2.00 pm: 'Learning how to look' - practice with chosen media in a tonal exercise based on a simple still-life, using 'magic mirrors', and blocks of tone
- Then lunch, and afterwards free time.
- Day 3:
- 10.00-12.00 am: Colour exercises using acrylic paints: our aim is to encourage you to mix as many colours as possible by using a colour wheel assignment (see adjacent illustration).
- 12.00-12.30 pm: Review and discussion of work so far, and coffee break
- 12.30- 2.00 pm: Painting practice - a simple still life using the techniques learned in the last two days, with colours and using your chosen medium.
- Day 4: Start developing a sketchbook and/or the use of photography for annotation
- Day 5: Studio: working up the sketches from Day 4 into paintings.
- Day 6: Summary review, mutual critique, followed by a celebratory meal with wine.
- Day 7: Day off.
The exact details will of course vary according to the makeup of the particular group, the time of year, the weather, and the needs of the students.
Intermediate and Advanced Artists
With intermediate and more advanced artists, in the first two days we will work on a series of more complex still-life exercises, applying to these some of the tonal exercises and 'magic mirrors'. These exercises may prove useful if you are yourself intending to take up teaching at some future point.
After the first two days we shall concentrate our efforts on painting or drawing themes based upon the varied subject matter presented by the studio, the house and gardens, the surrounding woodlands and fields. We shall also undertake some site work with our sketchbook and cameras.
For expert artists, we will map out a suitable supervision and discussion schedule by mutual agreement.
Northern Spain is an astonishingly beautiful area, and it can also boast an extraordinary deep history and tremendous concentration of site of cultural interest. Please contact us for specific information.
What results can you expect?
As with everything else in life, what you get out of the course will depend to a great extent on what you put in! Most students find these techniques of teaching very useful and effective.
For example, adjacent to these words you can see the first tonal painting produced by a student after eight hours tuition, this being the first painting they had attempted since leaving school many years before. Select (click) the image to see a larger version, use the back button of your browser to return... To see more student work, please go to the Student Gallery.
As with everything else in life, what you get out of the course will depend to a great extent on what you put in! Most students find these techniques of teaching very useful and effective. For example, adjacent to these words you can see the first tonal painting produced by a student after eight hours tuition, this being the first painting they had attempted since leaving school many years before. Select (click) the image to see a larger version, use the back button of your browser to return...
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