Of all the cities in the UK, Leeds’ art pedigree surpasses. This city was one of the first in the country to hold large-scale art shows, called Polytechnic Exhibitions.
Native Loiner Patrick Heron, a figurative and abstract artist, once famously proclaimed that Leeds College of Art is the most influential school since the Bauhaus – the German institute that combined crafts with fine arts.
There must be truth to that assertion: the list of notable artists and sculptors who attended that art school is long indeed!
Are you an art student, already enrolled at Leeds Arts University?
Would you like to find other studios or venues where you could diversify your art education and hone your painting and drawing skills?
Or are you the proud parent of such an art student who would like to get in on the awe and mystery of executing a credible life drawing?
Let Superprof take you on a tour of studios, workshops and ateliers full of people who ply their skill and artistry to beautify the city, and still find time to teach people how to unlock their creativity and express themselves.
You may reproduce your design by printing it onto a shirt or paper Source: Pixabay Credit: Free_Photos
We are going to overlook, for now, what most people limit their definition of art to painting – watercolours, oils and acrylic; and drawing, be it charcoal or pencil.
Fact is, visual art comes in many forms: two-dimensional, three-dimensional, functional, aesthetic…
And, while all art should be possessed of a singular beauty, not every beautiful piece is considered fine art.
Here, we might devolve into a discussion of whether beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder…
Consider architecture, for a moment. It is born of an idea and transcribed onto paper through a series of lines and shapes – much as the human form is sketched, except using a harder pencil and no shading.
Architectural masterpieces serve to beautify a landscape but are not thought of as fine art.
By definition, fine art represents only those pieces whose artists have embraced the purity of the discipline by replicating the techniques of the Old Masters.
If that were all that art could ever be, we might have only a very limited representation of the human experience!
Furthermore, such works of art would be so scarce that their prices would be exorbitant!
Can you pause for a moment to think about how much the Mona Lisa is worth?
Fortunately, you can own your very own copy of Da Vinci’s enigmatically smiling lady thanks to a modern artistic process called printmaking.
This art form is so ubiquitous that people do not really consider it art at all: designs on T-shirts and patterns of fabric; maybe even that famous, some say androgynous face on a coffee mug, poster or T-shirt.
By no means are we encouraging you to commit art plagiarism by reproducing any well-known artwork without permission!
Printmaking as an art form involves creating prints of original works rather than a reproduction of an already-existing work of art.
Types of print include:
screen printing – the most common means of T-shirt printing; also called silkscreening
That last, as the name implies, means the matrix or image meant to be printed will only be reproduced one time.
Let us imagine that you are planning a great event with multiple attendees, such as a family reunion or a company retreat for work.
You may want to provide every participant with a unique keepsake in the form of a shirt or mug.
You could send your design to Leeds Print Workshop and let them do all the work, or you could pick up a new skill by attending a workshop or two.
Their curriculum currently includes courses on making Christmas cards: you may learn to screen print or lino-print them.
Imagine how thrilled friends and family will be at receiving such a one-of-a-kind holiday greeting!
You may learn how to create stained glass window hangings Source: Pixabay Credit: Natalia Aggiato
Some art forms involve a bit more than pencils and paper, like making pottery or jewellery, or even putting together a stained glass sun catcher.
At Swarthmore, you can learn how to throw a pot, make a ring or necklace (or a matching set!), make prints, or make a lovely stained glass roundel for your kitchen window.
You could also learn to paint with acrylics and execute a life drawing.
If your art studies at university leave you feeling stressed and confined – by the rigorous schedule or the singular focus of your classes on only one medium at a time, you could blow off some steam by attending classes that have nothing to do with your classes.
The joy of creating should be a relaxing and positive experience, and you could get away from the rigours of producing art on-demand by producing what you want when you want!
You may even improve your painting techniques by participating in a Chinese calligraphy course at Swarthmore.
As opposed to the art of handwriting with a nib – long practised in Europe, Asian calligraphy employs brushes of various types. The control one must have to execute flawless characters is exquisite and the finished product is sublime!
If you are indeed studying drawing and painting, dabbling in this style of calligraphy would be well worth your while, if only to build your focus and develop brush control.
Whether you are looking for art classes for adults or kids’ classes, you may be surprised at all you could find at Swarthmore.
You may even find your artwork on exhibit: wouldn’t that be a huge confidence booster?
Haven’t we all gaped in awe at the scenes of daily life in ancient Egypt, rendered in tiny pieces of coloured tile?
Working with mosaic as your medium involves equal parts of artistic talent and a knowledge of a branch of mathematics called tessellation.
Don’t worry, you are already acquainted with it: if the walls in your home are covered in decorative paper, you have been staring at repeating patterns for years!
Fortunately for you, you do not have to become a math whiz to enjoy the challenging art of creating a mosaic piece for your home or garden; you could simply attend a class or workshop hosted by mosaic expert Francis Taylor.
She works with schools and community groups in and around Otley. When not thus engaged, she throws open the doors to her studio to welcome fans of mosaics to teach them her art.
You needn’t know higher maths or anything about stone or tile; her curriculum welcomes beginners as well as anyone experienced in the art of tiling.
All you have to bring is enthusiasm and a willingness to learn; you don’t even have to be good at drawing!
But if you wanted to be good at drawing…
You too could paint delicate florals in a Leeds art class! Source: Pixabay Credit: Lolame
Besides the illustrious College of Art so fondly touted by Patrick Heron, you have a choice of art classes you may attend, in and around the city.
If you know not so much as which end of the paintbrush to use or which pencil to select for your sketching, you may find beginner art courses suited to you at Leeds Art Group.
You may learn how to paint a landscape in their Drawing from Nature course, which starts out with subjects such as fruit and flowers.
You might also find their watercolours course useful, which addresses how to mix colours and how to develop brush control.
You may be happy to know that enrolment in any of Leeds Art Group courses includes free membership as well as discounts at select art supply houses.
If you are an art student wishing to refine your technique in life drawing, Inkwell Arts has just the course for you!
As you may know, there is more than one way to draw and attending this class will expand your technique to include methods of lining and shading that you’ve perhaps not yet been introduced to.
Proportion and fore-shortening being two of the major stumbling blocks that fledgeling artists run up against, in the relaxed atmosphere of Inkwell’s studios, you may discover different methods to approach figure drawing.
Inkwell is not just for art students, either! Absolute beginners are also welcome to these open classes; all you need to bring is enthusiasm.
Drawing and painting are so tightly woven into the Leeds landscape that Leodensians have formed a drawing club!
This friendly bunch not only celebrates fine art but hosts workshops on how to create the perfect life drawing.
You are welcome to bring your own materials but they will provide the basics, and you have your choice of booking individual tutored sessions or purchasing a block of sessions at a discount.
Whether sculpture, watercolour, charcoal or mosaic is your medium of choice, you have so many outlets to practise your art in and learn more art forms in Leeds!
Please refer to this table for select venues you can get your art on.
|Facility Name||What you can learn||Physical address||Web address|
|Leeds Print Workshop||silkscreening, woodcutting, printmaking||130 Vicar Lane, LS2 7NL||http://leedsprintworkshop.org|
|Swarthmore||painting, drawing, jewellery-making, pottery, stained glass||2-7 Woodhouse Square|
|Firefly Pottery||pottery, ceramics||116 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 4AH||http://fireflypottery.co.uk|
|Mosaic Mania||mosaics||Ilkley Road, Otley, Leeds LS21 3PN||https://www.mosaicmania.co.uk|
|Leeds Drawing Club||pencil and charcoal drawing||232 Meanwood Road, Leeds LS7 2AH||https://leedsdrawingclub.com|
|Leeds Art Group||Beginner watercolour, drawing||Headingley Parish Hall, St Michaels Rd, Leeds, LS6 3AW||https://leedsartgroup.co.uk|
|Inkwell Arts||Life Drawing||31 Potternewton Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds. LS7 3LW||http://www.inkwellarts.org.uk|