The time has come for me to prioritise my time differently, and to return to my own art with a renewed enthusiasm and focus. I will no longer be running art workshops, my weekly art classes or taking on new students for private tuition. This has not been in any way an easy decision to make, and I know that it has been disappointing to those who have been making art with me, and to those who were hoping to do so. I do however believe that change brings with it new opportunities for us all. I trust that you will understand that this new phase is what I need to embrace, and that I move forward a far better artist and a more rounded person for all of the ways in which we have collaborated.
All the way back in 2012, now eight years ago, I designed and delivered my first Learn to Draw workshop which I held in Bugle, Cornwall. I clearly remember my nervous preparation (I had never attended an art workshop myself so wasn’t sure how one should actually look) and how surprised and pleased I was when it became fully booked with eight enthusiastic soon to be artists. We had a really lovely day together, great pencil portraits were created and new friendships were forged on that cold Saturday in February. Little did I know what a potent seed was sown. Once we had all packed away and I was sat in my car reading the feedback forms the students had completed, I reflected on the session and thought to myself, ‘If I could get enough interest to maybe run one of these workshops every couple of months, that would be great.’
Well, I had certainly underestimated the number of people who wanted to learn to draw!
Learn to Draw and Painting in Pastels workshops have taken me all over Cornwall and Devon, partnering with a wide variety of organisations including schools, adult training providers and community centres. I have delivered talks and interactive demonstrations with many art societies, and held countless day workshops in community settings. And I have curated three hugely successful collaborative exhibitions with my students. It has been so much fun!
At every turn I have been welcomed by the enthusiastic through to the mildly terrified, with the majority of my students convinced that they have no artistic ability, or that they will be the one whom cannot be taught. The common denominator has been a story I have heard countless times, criticism of their efforts in art at school or in childhood generally, and/or a lack of tuition in the fundamental skills and techniques of observation and shading. I do not believe this was intentional, but all too often those teaching did not know these skills either, so were unable to impart them to their students.
It doesn’t have to be this way though. We are all born with a desire to be creative, and we can nurture this at any time of life – as so beautifully demonstrated by my numerous octogenarian students who had not drawn in seven decades.
This journey has been truly inspiring to me, and has brought me a great deal of joy and many wonderful friendships. It has reminded me that we each set our own boundaries, but we can challenge them and soar beyond what we might think are our limits. It has honestly been one of the great privileges of my life thus far, being trusted to guide people in finding their inner artist, and watching them blossom and grow as they discover skills they never knew they could possess. It is something I never tire of witnessing.
So to each and every one of you who has joined me either for a few hours of tuition, or for years of regular classes, I say a heartfelt and sincere thank you. Thank you for believing in me, for believing in yourself, for your support of my venture and for inspiring others with your art. I hope that you in turn will each encourage those you know to explore beyond what they may think is possible for themselves, and in turn keep an open mind when you next embark on new learning and expansion yourselves.
And you can see for yourself the great many amazing drawings that my students have created over the years in the albums here: facebook.com/TamsinDearingTheArtist/