I had the opportunity to attend the 'Learn To Paint Like A Professional' sessions held by ResLife over the last few weeks. The 3 sessions at The Ridge, taught by Mark Beachell, were evenings well spent.
Around 55 people showed up on the first day - a number that was initially daunting but later tuned out to be great for making friends. Each session went much the same way in terms of format, after a short introduction as to how we should try to experiment for the evening, we'd all grab our sponges, paints and large sheets of paper. There were also inspiration drawings available that many participants decided to use as references.
I personally really liked the fact that we were allowed a lot of creative freedom when it came to what we should paint as it allowed both the amateurs and more skilled participants to have a great time. From personal experience, I'd start with the inspiration drawings as reference but would stray some point and end up with something quite different and interesting. It was fun to try and salvage something good when we'd make a 'mistake' (are there mistakes in art???).
We split up into groups, big and small, and got started- blending our colours and letting our minds (and our sponges) run wild.
All 3 sessions involved inspiration from the paintings of J. M. W. Turner (or as we were told, the creator of Britain's favourite painting, 'The Fighting Temeraire'). The first session focussed on big, sure movements - painting with your body à la Edvard Munch in The Scream (I also learnt a bit more about art and particular artists through these sessions, can you tell 😄). The idea was to paint with your body and be 'involved' in the art. The second and third sessions taught us how to use texture and varnish to add 'weather' to our paintings (there was lots of cornflower involved).
My favourite thing about the sessions was being able to get feedback and recommendations on art we should check out from our instructor based on what/how we were painting.
Some vivid moments that I remember are -
Our mistakes leading to philosophical conclusions (particularly the painting one participant aptly titled 'Failed Dreams'), palettes that started looking like paintings themselves, a surprisingly good rendition of starry night, lots of sceneries and some really pretty nightscapes.
P.S. The paint on my jacket and hands washed off which was a relief : )