Can you really learn a hands-on skill like painting online?
I would not call myself old-school. I try to keep up with tech trends and I use many apps and other services. This website is evidence of that. However I do not even bother to set my cell phone. That is evidently something for my teenage son to do. The TV is the same too. I prefer talking to texting and Angry Birds makes me, well angry. I suppose I am approaching the scrap heap! Being an artist I also prefer to get my hands dirty and painting is blessedly unchanged. Or is it?
There are digital painters sporting tablets and apps with pride. Not to mention the digital photo art that is so popular. Perhaps the biggest groundshift has been in how we learn. Online learning has exploded globally and nobody is exempt. Old and young and all in between are learning online. This digital democracy has brought top quality education into posh mansions and tin shacks alike. I look at my children. They have access to regular school yet find their most stimulating lessons on You Tube or some other website like Udemy or Lynda. Not to mention the mass of websites by experts on whatever topic you may require.
Certificate from a famous university? No problem. Try Coursera. Want to learn java and perhaps some photography skills for fun? Try Udemy.com. Children struggling with maths? Try Khan Academy. All well and good, but what about art? Can you really learn a hands-on skill like painting online? I know many old hands scoff at this notion. I have received sceptical looks from some artists north of 50 who think it is silly to learn online. They still believe that a mentor with a few students is the way to go. Something like in the Renaissance days I think.
The fact is that digital learning is essential for artists today. If you have a desire to teach art then online learning is also becoming hard to ignore. Let us start with You Tube. Once you get past the rubbish there is a treasure trove of excellent teaching on art techniques. Then try Pinterest to research art for inspiration or to find excellent quality images of masterworks. These are essential to learn from.
Of course there are DVD lessons that can be purchased and downloaded in HD quality. No more waiting for delivery. No customs duties and so forth. The hard part remains actually doing the work! Hang on there are courses you can take to teach you how to maximize your time. If you have a moment that is.
I have been impressed with Udemy.com. A website that hosts paid and free courses on just about any topic. Whether you want a certified course in computer programming or to learn business skills or have some fun learning a new hobby this website has it all. So inspired was I with the general high quality of courses that I created my own course, Learn To Paint With Impact, that was launched a few days ago.
This experience entailed a new learning curve for me. There is a big difference between giving a workshop to students in person to facing a camera instead. In many ways I had to rethink my subject to convey the ideas better. This helped me too. Teaching is a learning process for both teacher and student after all.
There are massive benefits to learning art online too. Costs are low. Cut out travel, time and related costs of attending a workshop and you have saved a ton. Plus the convenience of learning when you want to, pressing pause and rewind when you need to check something are also handy. On the downside you do need to be a self-starter and get the course done on your own steam. There is also the practical side of art, which is why I have a series of assignments to encourage practical work. Social interaction? Get a friend to join with you or an art club for that matter. The nice thing with Udemy is that instructors can give their own discounts to groups which is a big plus for teacher and student.
Whether you want to learn art or teach it the internet has changed the landscape forever. There is opportunity for all and excuses are hard to come by. Of course doing the work is the essential ingredient. That is something that should still please the old-timers like myself.
You can read more about my course, Learn To Paint With Impact here. Also check out the special offer for newsletter subscribers.