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Can You Really Learn To Paint in An Hour?


The subject of our latest StudioTalk Learn To Paint In An Hour demonstration


Welcome to my latest occasional newsletter and blog on painting. I say blog because I’m only moved to write these when I have something of interest to pass on to you rather than churn out a never-ending stream of newsletters about course offers and updates: that’s not really news is it?


Anyway, our latest Facebook Ad (Learn to Paint In An Hour) has attracted some mild controversy because a few people who follow the site to troll us (and who have not taken a course), questioned whether learning to paint in an hour was in fact possible, or was as they asserted ‘a joke’?

We don’t bother feeding the trolls on public forums, but our members read Facebook and do deserve a reply, can one realistically learn in an hour?


The Golden Hour - Since 2007

In the first hour of the studio course for Simply Oils we teach students about grounds (making their oils dry whilst managing rheology), Value (making things appear 3D on a 2D plane), and Optics (giving work depth and making it appear to glow).


Since 2007 when we first started doing that course format we’ve had literally hundreds of students tell us that they learned more in the first hour than on three years on a degree or a lifetime of attending untaught art clubs.


For most of our experienced painters this first hour of formal clear tuition is the ‘golden hour’ it explains key concepts they may have wrestled with for years.

So if you already paint, but need help to know why the things you do work or don’t work, then yes without doubt you really can learn how you should paint going forward in an hour.


Our studio courses are running in our large COVID secure studios in Norfolk offering small group fruition, proven programs and a range of intermediate to advanced options so our tuition grows as you improve.


In the next few weeks we’ll be launching online equivalents to our studio courses, featuring a mix of on demand and live tuition - but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself - suffice to say it will be an amazing creative learning experience, much better than either fully live or pre recorded video tuition !

The Watch and Learn Hour - Since 2020.



But what if you don’t already paint, can you really learn that in an hour? As with all things in life that depends on your expectations and commitment.

Since the lockdown a huge number of people have come to us in need of an absorbing and creative pastime, so on the back of our free community art broadcasts we started StudioTalk. They wanted a new absorbing hobby, needed to know where to start, and wanted to get better at it each time they painted.


Unlike Simply Oils which was aimed at practicing painters looking to move to oils from other media (we really should work on that course title!). StudioTalk was always intended to instruct both practicing painters and absolute beginners in an easy to watch one hour demo/lecture format.

In every StudioTalk session we demonstrate how to paint a carefully curated and chosen painting in well under an hour, plus give enough context to help members follow up the featured artist to see and be inspired by similar works.

We choose the StudioTalk paintings for their accessible technique and each week is a different theme or genre to ensure that over the minimum subscription of one month (4 sessions) they’ll be something inspiring for everyone.

By choosing paintings which are created directly - wet into wet - with a simple palette we’re able to demo accessible works which can be created and recreated well within an hour. If you’ve never painted before and have no idea where to start you’ll be able to give a Monet, or a Matisse, Seago or Sorolla, an informed go within an hour. And each time you do it, you’ll get better.


Our absolutely ‘new to painting’ members are now creating incredible paintings each and every week, and have been practicing since their first one hour StudioTalk.

Was their first painting as ‘good’ as their most recent one? Of course not, practice is the best way to improve anything, but from their first hour of inspirational tuition, they were painting, and more importantly were enjoying their journey to becoming the best painter they could be.


StudioTalk offers a one hour lecture demonstration each week, which you can watch live and re-watch as many times as you like and while you paint along, on demand for 7 days after broadcast.


Moreover, as a StudioTalk member you can interact with the live demonstration to check your understanding, and post up your works for group critique. Watching again and comparing results are learning multipliers, they help you to enjoy your painting more and improve retention.


Our members say on both public forums and in private e mails that StudioTalk is ‘the best part of their week. ‘ a lifesaver during lockdown’ and ‘incredibly clear structured and informative’.


All of this for just £2.50 a week on a one year membership (that’s 50 taught and interactive demonstrations). No wonder the trolls who went on three year untaught degrees are cross.



Perfect technique in an hour?



What we can’t offer you - and nobody should say they can - is perfect technique in an hour.

If glazing or classical painting is your thing then you’ll need to spend a few hours listening to and watching someone who knows how to do it, and then give it a go (well, lots of goes), for yourself.


Naturally that’s precisely what our Masterclass program does, extended sessions on the specific techniques of artists or genres. Enough practical information to get you on the right track, so you can practice good habits and not reinforce bad ones.


Since lockdown, we have delivered Masterclasses on subjects as diverse as American Sublime Indirect Sky Painting (very technical that one), the peinture d’ essence oil sketching techniques of Degas, the aesthetic simplicity of Morandi’s Still Life arrangements, Modern British Landscape Painting technique and a couple of Masterclasses on how to create Abstractions of complex scenes from both interior or still-life arrangements and landscapes.


Being Masterclasses these are best taken if one already paints, but paired with a few StudioTalks most of our new to painting students have given them a good go, and really benefitted from the deeper dive into specific genres we offered.


For the Autumn we have a lot of more classical Masterclasses coming up - mostly because we have lots of painters finding their feet now and looking for more technical challenges. It’s a great time to get on StudioTalk to prep a bit if Classical Seas. Dutch Style Florals, Turner’s work or contemporary America Tonalism are your bag.


Art and Craft



Of course Art is more than just putting paint on stuff - its about having ideas, personal expression and developing your style. Art in other words is one thing, and the craft of painting another.


We don’t pretend that any of our short courses aim to give you all of the creative answers - although they’ll certainly inspire and help, so we have a separate in depth creative style development program: The Diploma.


We’ve been running The Diploma for nearly a decade now however as the studio program depends on regular close tuition are moving it online for 2021/22 with optional physical sessions for those must learn, hands on skills.


You can still join the final physically taught Diploma on a workshop by workshop basis, but you’ll need to be quick as its limited to 16 easels per session and most of them are already booked up for the full program.


To find out more email bryony@norfolkpaintingschool.com


Create Your Blended Program


Pair up a Masterclass with our studio courses or StudioTalk program and you have the perfect mix and match painting course to meet your needs


So can you learn to paint in an hour? Yes absolutely, but learning to paint is a journey you can start in an hour.

Painting is a craft as well as an art, and just like any craft from baking to ceramics it requires dedicated practice to become proficient. But then, when painting is so much fun to explore and learn to do - you wouldn’t want to prefect it anytime soon, the journey not the destination is the whole point of it.


Here’s to slow learning!


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