A new drawing and painting class at The Learning Connexion is offering a transformative new approach to two of the most fundamental elements of art. We talk to tutor Karin McCombe-Jones about the class, and her own approach to art.
Hi Karin, you're passionate about the importance of the arts, particularly drawing and painting – why is that?
There is research from institutes across the world about the importance of creativity and exploration. Yet, far too often the arts are the subjects that are axed or squashed on school curriculums. Ridiculous, as these are the subjects that help our hauora.
Covid threw the world into dark and unknown territories. Galleries were closed – but, what did rise was the sales of artwork online. People wanting to look at things in their home that brought them joy, made them smile.
Sales of art materials and online art classes also rocketed around the world – because people wanted to fill time, learn something new and realised painting and drawing gives joy and a sense of calm to one's mind.
Everyone should draw or paint or sculpt for a few minutes (at least) every day. Mental health has and is being affected by COVID – being creative can help and should, I believe play an even bigger role in today's world.
Your new evening class Colouring Your World starts in Term 3. What can people expect from this class?
I am part of an international collective of artists and recently got them to all participate in a unique drawing experience – the Monart Drawing Method. This along with throwing a dice to create by chance are two concepts I will be introducing in my evening class. They are ways to create abstract paintings or drawings that ensure anyone can succeed. Whilst learning to let go: be dictated to by chance and learn colour theory, harmony and balance along the way whilst working intuitively.
Sounds weird? Interesting? Different? Sign up and find out more.
The evening classes will centre around experimenting and creating land and seascapes with colour in all its possibilities being at the forefront.
Beginners should become more confident, and knowledgeable artists should aim to push themselves to try something new.
What is it about teaching that you enjoy?
If I can instil in someone else a love and passion for art I am succeeding as a teacher. If I can get someone to try something new and give something a go I smile, or maybe even squeal in delight!
How do you sustain your creative practice, what projects get you excited?
I only have to visit the TLC Art Shop to get excited or see colourful materials or new ones to wonder about possibilities. Possibilities are everywhere. I have over the years collected things to use in my art practice. I love creating assemblage sculptures – so I’m always finding things at op shops or on the beach I want to incorporate.
Yesterday, I came across maps I had bought years ago to lay down as the base for landscape paintings. Each painting would represent the scene found at that place in the map. This is one of my next projects and on finding those maps again I became excited at possibilities. When a new client gets in touch I get excited about how I can make the piece special to them by incorporating symbols and messages in the underpainting. I get a creative buzz.
So basically, I get excited a LOT!
I always have more than one painting, series or project on the go at once. Marcel a fabulous tutor who used to work at TLC taught me that one years ago – to help quieten my busy mind.
I aim to paint everyday – sometimes life does get in the way, sometimes you have to paint in different places. I always do something involving art everyday. It could be the lesser enjoyed area of marketing. Because putting in the time to network, get your art out there and to coin the phrase 'build your tribe' does benefit you in becoming a sustainable artist.
Karin, we're intrigued. How would you describe yourself as an artist?
OOhh where to start when describing oneself.
Do you mention that you are not the tallest person, quite dramatic, gesture with your hands and that you have a mischievous sense of humour? Or that you are passionate about the arts being fostered, promoted, attainable for all and allowed to bloom in all corners of the globe? That you have battled for the arts in many establishments and several countries you have lived in including New Zealand?
Comment upon the fact you’d like to see all homes full of colour or that seeing colour being worn by people makes you smile?
Or mention that art can play an important part in getting messages out there?
Or sneak all of the above in?
OK, so it's not that easy. How about: where do you get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration everywhere, I am one of those people that sees shapes and creatures in the clouds or look at metal fittings and see faces.
I do predominantly work with movement in my pieces and vividly paint ’things’ that move – rolling waves, shifting clouds, children, animals.
I think I am being wild with my colour choices then I learn there is a blue bee in existence and lizards can be orange and blue in their glorious natural existence.
Wishing to share the message that animals and nature needs our help to survive for future generations to experience them is also a huge influencer for my work.
Sometimes I do this in a whimsical way where animals' expressions capture the viewer's eye without them necessarily realising the creature is endangered.
What advice would you give to people starting out at TLC and wanting to pursue a creative pathway?
To pinch another phrase 'JUST DO IT’.
I wish I had ventured into TLC years before I did. It helped me in so many ways. BUT, I would also say do not waste that precious time. Be present, learn from others around you not just your tutors. Experiment, explore – even if you think you are a painter – try 3D. Or if wishing to sculpt, give printing a go.
TLC is a magical place and magic will occur if you are open to it. You will find a whanau that will support you in years to come in your art endeavours, as they are like-minded people. Part of that important art tribe!