I’ve used acrylic paints as an artist for years, and have been teaching adult acrylic painting classes for two years now. I’ve always gravitated towards representational painting and have always loved learning tricks for making something look like glass or skin or water, so some of my favorite teaching moments at CHAW have come from demonstrating how the right paint brush can easily mimic the texture of fur or how to layer washes to achieve the look of wood grain.
In my classes at CHAW, I encourage students to pick their own images for paintings; often students will paint a portrait of a favorite family member, a pet, a beautiful scene from a vacation photo, or copy a famous painting. Though the subject matter is largely self-directed, I do demonstrations at the beginning of most classes. All my students learn how to work from photos, use grids to transfer or enlarge images, incorporate dry media like colored pencils into their paintings, use tape for neat edges, and learn basic color theory and brush handling. Most importantly, I try to make the classes low-key and fun. There’s lively conversation, the occasional breakfast treat, and often we turn on the radio to listen to “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”
Emma Steinkraus, CHAW teaching artist
“Sundown, Arkansas” a recent painting by Emma Steinkraus and a detail of the work below.