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Unleash the artist within

Art is one of life’s great pleasures, both for the artist and for those admiring the result of their work. Art is actually good for the soul, and good for your health too – creating and admiring art releases what is known as the ‘happy hormone’, serotonin, which makes us feel blissful; it makes us feel alive. So, art is clearly important. But can anyone do it?

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Who Can Do Art?

Although not everyone can be a professional artist, everyone can certainly get involved and enjoy creating art. The secret to this, and the thing that many people forget or don’t realise, is that you don’t have to have any kind of artistic talent at all to simply create. It’s the process that counts and it’s the process that releases a life-affirming hormone hit, so it’s the process itself that will make you feel good – not how polished the end product looks.

In simple terms, everyone can do art. Don’t be afraid to try if it’s something you want to do even if you are sure you have no talent for it. Perhaps you’ll uncover a hidden talent; perhaps you’ll discover a style of art you want to learn further. If not, what difference does it make? You have nothing to lose. Children do arts and crafts constantly, and they’re never worried about how good it is or whether anyone wants to see it. They do it for the love of it, which is a great lesson to take into adult life.

As there are so many different kinds of art to try, you’ll find the process is an ongoing, fulfilling one. Painting, sculpting, pottery, ceramics, drawing, mosaic, photography, even stained glass making – if you find that one genre of artistry doesn’t suit you, move on to the next. The further you research, the further you’ll discover that there is always something new to try.

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How To Get Started

The first rule of art? it’s never too late to start exploring your inner Picasso. There are no upper (or lower) age limits; there are no restrictions when it comes to knowledge, skill, or talent; and there is no ‘wrong time’ to pick up a new, invigorating hobby, or to reignite a love of art that has tailed off due life and other commitments. If it is something you want to do, then you must do it – just ‘doing’ anything is nourishing for the soul and will keep your mind sharp too.

The cost of taking up art depends on what kind of art you want to take up – each one varies. If you want to take a class for example, the cost will be different to starting out on your own. The class may include all the equipment you need, whereas if you just want to get on and create you will have to purchase everything before you start. And what do we mean by everything? Again, it depends on the type of art you want to do, but there are some essentials that all artists (professional and amateur) should be in possession of.

  • Quality Drawing Pencils

If you want to be a sketch artist then a set of quality drawing pencils is probably the most important thing you’ll need in your arsenal of equipment. Whatever kind of art you’re into though, it’s likely pencils will come in handy. You may want to make a rough sketch of what you are going to paint, sculpt, or make, and having good pencils with which to do so will make the difference between something usable and something that becomes smudged and difficult to see.

  • Sketchbook

A sketchbook is any artist’s go-to tool. Take it with you when you’re out and about – you never know when inspiration might strike. If you see something that you think would make great art in your chosen medium then sketching it will help you remember what it was really like.

  • Storage

Where are you going to keep your art? You might be lucky enough to have a room or outdoor shed that you can dedicate to the purpose, but if not, you will want to consider where your art is going to live when it’s done. You may not be able to display it all, so rotating what’s on the wall is a great way of keeping your art fresh and showing off what’s new in your oeuvre to visitors. As for the rest of it, investing in a good art storage bag or box is a good idea. It will keep your work safe and it will mean you know where to find it when you want it. Storage for your equipment is important too. Don’t leave it lying around (unless you have a studio, of course) because it can all too easily be broken or lost. Take care of it all.

  • Everything Else

If you are a painter, you will need good paints – watercolours or oils, depending on what you prefer to work with. You may want a palette to mix your colours; an easel to make painting easier; you might even want to invest in some high-quality canvases. A potter will need good clay, a wheel, and access to a kiln, and a sculptor may require tools such as rasps and rifflers, which are used to enhance the shape into its final form.

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Art Classes for beginners

Once you have worked out exactly what it is you want to do, you will be able to research the equipment needed. But before you settle on something, and before you make that commitment, why not try out an art class or two? There are plenty of art classes to try out across Sussex and Kent, and here are a selection of some of the best and most interesting.

Mark’s oil painting classes and workshops are suitable for complete beginners or anyone who wants to learn how to oil paint using the wet-on-wet technique landscape, seascape and floral oil painting classes are all available and are suitable for families to learn together.

These classes will take you through each subject step by step, allowing you to progress at your own pace, but with expert guidance behind you.

Ever since 2001, Pottery Gagliano have been offering classes for beginners on the potter’s wheel. You can also learn how to create using just the clay; either way, it’s a truly hands on experience.

Lead by professional artist, portrait sculptor and workshop leader, Brenda Burgess, find time for you in these relaxed and informative sculpture workshop days – maybe you’ll uncover skills you never knew you had! All abilities encouraged and made truly welcome.

At The Mill, the atmosphere is relaxed and the creativity free flowing, with all standards and interests welcome; as they say: “skill and experience are not requirements, but enthusiasm is!”

  • Swan Art // Canterbury // www.swanart.co.uk

Covering both drawing lessons and painting lessons, classes are taught in all media and art classes are run in watercolour painting and acrylic painting in addition to oils, acrylic inks, pen and ink, pen and wash, pastels and mixed media, as well as various unusual and creative techniques and collage.

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