“Colour is like cooking,” Josef Albers once said. Albers’ teachings in colour theory are a key touchstone in Charlie Hawksfield’s new online art course for Elephant Academy, Acrylic Painting for Beginners. Over three weeks, students will be introduced to the relationship between colour and the acrylic medium, before applying their theory skills to still life and figurative subjects. By the end of the course, they will all have whipped up a number of original artworks.
“I don’t want the course to be just a ‘how to’ on painting. so I am going to be generally geeking out about contemporary and modern painters who use paint in extraordinary ways,” Hawksfield explains. “I want the students to see the many possibilities of painting.” To this end, he will be showing students colourful paintings by a range of modern artists from Albers to Bridget Riley.
“I am excited to see what everyone comes up with,” he says. “I think some of the colour theory experiments should be fun, and I am looking forward to exploring some of Albers’ ideas. I hope the compositions and still life painting we do in the classes afterwards will include some more nuanced thinking about colour.”
“I am going to be geeking out about painters. I want the students to see the many possibilities of painting”
Hawksfield himself is no stranger to learning the building blocks of painting outside of the traditional structure of art school. Although he studied social and cultural studies at Goldsmiths University of London, he is largely self-taught as a practising visual artist. “It means I learned mainly through trial and error,” he laughs.
It is in this open-minded spirit that he approaches the introductory course on acrylics. “I want to encourage artists to feel OK about making mistakes, making mess, going down dead ends and coming out with knowledge of their practice rather than any feelings of failure or hopelessness,” he says. Through his Elephant Academy course he wants to demonstrate that truly anyone can become an artist.
The course is friendly and supportive, and suitable for complete beginners as well as experienced artists. The three-week programme costs £70, which includes a package from Elephant containing all the art materials you will need to take part. To find out more about this online learning course and the many others on offer, take a look at Elephant Academy.
All images courtesy Charlie Hawksfield