In 2015 I attended a ten week Art Class entitled, Drawing and Painting Mixed Ability with Katie Comley. This was my third art class in just over a year, amazing when you consider how I was initially terrified by the thought of going to an Art Class in 2014. Walking home, once the class was over, I realised how completely different each of these art classes have been. During that walk home, I thought it’d be cool to make a blog post looking at how they differ, and how each one offers something unique.
It’s worth noting, while all the classes have been different, they all share one thing; making you realise how inspiring it is to be around other artists. Reason alone to find an art class near you if you haven’t done so already :) The following is a brief of three classes I’ve attended.
Attended | February 2014 – August 2014
Location | Artframe Solution
Time | 7pm – 9:30pm
Price | £30 per week, or £15 if you signed up for 10 weeks
There were five of us in this class, a girl still at School, a oldish man painting for fun, a young bloke trying to get into Uni and an Artist friend of Cheri’s named Chris who did some highly detailed pencil drawings. It was a very intimate class and super laid back. So laid back in fact, that one week we showed up and Cheri was laid out flat on the sofa chilling lol She was a crazy character – in a really good way!
The class was run so that you just showed up each week with whatever you wanted to do and Cheri would spend time with you one on one, offering advice and constructive criticism. She’d always push you to try new things, without Cheri I wouldn’t have started sketching people in public and she played a massive part in helping improve my confidence, allowing me to start taking me tones darker.
Cheri is such a nice person with amazing artwork. You have to see it to believe it, she specialises in finely detailed ink work, with her art taking months to finish. I could relate to her so much and I really didn’t want to leave her class, but towards the end of 2014 I felt this massive desire to start life drawing, and so took the decision to leave and try something new. I do miss Cheri a lot, but at the same time, starting life drawing class was the best thing I ever did.
You can find Cheri on Facebook @CheriHunstonArt
Attended | September 2014 – present day
Location | Swarthmore in Mutley, Plymouth
Time | 7pm – 9pm
Price | £4 per week, plus £15 yearly membership
This class is completely different to Cheri’s. For starters, it’s a much bigger group. In total there must be well over 40 members, with over 20 more on the waiting list. While not everyone attends, the class still gets on average 10-15 people each week. 90% life drawing, 10% tutored sessions, still life, competitions or demonstrations, this class is highly exciting.
These random weeks are a good way to try new things, while the life drawing sessions are totally relaxed and most of the time there is no tutoring, you just turn up, set up, and start drawing. However, we do sometimes have Ian Barlow tutor us. The group is so friendly, you couldn’t ask to be with a nicer bunch of people. Young and old, we’re all just there to try and improve our skills; there’s a very nice vibe to this class. In fact, I adore this class!
One of my favourite parts comes at the end of the evening, when we all get to walk round and look at each others work. For me, seeing everyone else’s work is just as much fun as actually drawing! Being a member of the club has also allowed me to exhibit my work at art exhibitions, and find my way into the Plymouth Hoe Art Fair, which ultimately lead to me getting my art into a Gallery. This class is much more than just drawing, it’s about being around other artists and feeling like you’re part of something bigger.
Visit the Plymouth Arts Club @ PlymouthArtsClub.co.uk
Attended | September 2015 – December 2015
Time | 12:45pm – 14:45pm
Location | Swarthmore Centre in Mutley, Plymouth
Price | £80 for a 10 week course
This was an amazing class. It lasted ten weeks, with a medium sized class of around ten of us. Katie put together the most structured class I’ve been to so far, and I learnt so much from my time with her. I wrote detailed blog posts each week after class: starting with weeks one and two. We did various still lifes, sketches, drawing exercises, paintings … we even had a week for critiquing each others work.
Katie was incredibly nice, and made me feel very relaxed from the word go. She gave me confidence to try new things and I left this class inspired and excited for the future. Once the ten weeks were over, I intended to go to her future courses, but she emailed me saying she was leaving Plymouth and would no longer be running classes :( I was gutted. I really liked her fun, yet structured approach to learning.
You can find Katie Comley Jones @ KatieJonesUK.com
It’s now 2023, and I look back and realise just how different these three art classes were. Cheri’s intimate one to one advice and guidance was priceless, Katie’s structured approach to learning was motivating and inspiring, while the friendly feel and togetherness of the Plymouth Arts Club still makes for a super safe and fun environment to draw, learn and try new things.
These three different approaches have made me realise you really need to attend as many groups, class and workshops as you can; there’s something to learn and take away from each and every one.