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Teaching my First Portrait Course!

Teaching my first ever portrait painting course in oils was an experience that I will cherish forever. I’ve always loved painting faces and creating characters, and so portraits have always been close to my heart over my painting journey.

It’s a joy I’ve always wanted to share with others, but at the same time – teaching portraits has been something I’ve been extremely nervous to do.  I had that nagging voice just saying “you’re not good enough to teach portraits”, “how could you teach, you haven’t been to art school” and “people aren’t going to learn anything from you”. In the end I decided to push on, and just give it a go – what would be the worst that could happen?

As the day approached, I became more and more nervous, but tried to channel that energy into preparing lesson plans and information handouts. I even worked on my own demo portrait to be able to show everyone each step – raw and unedited.

On the first day, I think it would be fair to say that everyone (including me) was nervous. I realised that in the class, we all had our own nagging voices. Some people said “I can’t do portraits – I can’t draw”, or “I’ll never be able to mix the right colours”. What we had in common was that despite those voices, we all showed up and gave it a go.

The beautiful Swati with her gorgeous portrait!

Over the weeks, our portraits came together and somewhere along the way I noticed a shift in the way we talked about our art. We made experiments of which background colours would work, we tried mixing our own unique palettes and we lifted each other up. Classes also became a space for sharing stories about our backgrounds, experiences and feelings about art and creativity.

Ultimately, the class was not just about painting; it was about creating a community and I learned that that was more important than imparting any special or secret painting techniques.

Swati and Lou working away!

Teaching this course taught me more than I could have imagined. It reinforced my belief in the importance of a supportive environment in unlocking creativity. Everyone left with a portrait, but more importantly, with the confidence to continue their artistic journey.

As for me, I left with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity to share my passion for painting and for the wonderful students who made my first portrait teaching course an unforgettable experience.

Our group - Emily and Aurania!


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