Like all of the UK’s capital cities, Belfast is crammed with opportunities for learning art. Whether it’s printmaking, ceramics, digital photography, or sculptural work you are after, you’ll find the perfect option for you. And this, of course, includes painting – from the still life to the expressive, watercolors to oil paint, portraiture or abstraction. You’ll find it in Belfast.
And that, as you know, is because Belfast is a bustling and busy city with a packed festival calendar – from the Belfast International Arts Festival to the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and the Belfast Children’s Festivals. These – and particular the first – bring art students, professional artists, and young artists from all over the world. There is literature, dance, theatre, and comedy too – and all the different mediums that you can imagine.
But, with some of the best art education institutions in the country – from the prestigious Belfast School of Art to the community centre, Crescent Arts – there are opportunities for art classes for all. And that’s if you are looking for a general art education or if you want to join a little group of painters, if you want to learn about art history or practice your gouache or watercolour, learn to draw and paint together or develop your representational skills on the human figure.
Whatever it is you want to do, you can do it in Belfast!
Take painting courses in Belfast!
If you are on this page, you probably already have a passion for the arts. Maybe you have your own art studio already, you like to work with acrylic paint, with light and shadow – or with whatever – already, and you are happy with your skill and with your creative process.
But do you sometimes feel as though you are just doing the same things? That you aren’t developing as much as you would like, or that you keep returning to the same palette, subjects, or styles?
This, in a nutshell, speaks to the benefit of taking an art class or a series of art workshops. Because you know the benefits of painting already: the outlet for your expressive potential, the joy of filling canvases with your thoughts and feelings, the opportunity to let it all go and give yourself to your artworks, the still lifes, the sketchbook.
But what you don’t know perhaps is the benefit of getting out of your comfort zone, of being pushed into new artistic territories, the pleasure of having an art teacher to give critiques and suggest improvements to your work. Their role is a valuable one for artists who have been painting on their own their whole life – because when you are alone, you don’t necessarily know your full potential!
So, sign up to an art school or individual art lessons, participate in a class on color theory or watercolor techniques and expand what you know about painting!
Let that be your work up there!
But classes in the visual arts – or art classes in general – are not just for those who already know how to paint. There are adult classes – and those for teens and kids – for which no experience is necessary.
These classes for those of a lower skill level will be the most fun you’ve had for ages. You won’t just be learning the technical stuff – from how to mix paints to the theory of underpainting, from the range of art materials to the obvious technique of actually how to paint – but you’ll also be surrounded by people similarly curious and enthusiastic as you.
So, whatever level you’re at, you’ll find that art classes – and painting classes specifically – may well be the best thing you’ve ever done. So, if you’re curious about joining an art center in Belfast, you’re in the right place. Because we’ve put together what we hope to be a helpful little list of some of the best places to learn painting in Belfast.
We hope you find it helpful!
The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast is the well-known arts center on the north end of the city’s Queen’s Quarter. Offering all sorts of art programs to all skill levels, Crescent Arts hosts classes in everything from digital art and digital media to watercolor classes, studio courses, seascape work, and the use of acrylics.
It’s a beautiful little place, with plenty of art studios and different opportunities for teen art and kids art. They are open Monday-Friday, and at the weekend – and have all sorts of different events. The summer, in particular, is a great time to go – as they have weekly summer camps in all sorts of different artistic disciplines.
Check it out if you are in that part of town.
A little to the east of Belfast is the home and studio of Julie Douglas, a local artist and renowned painting teacher. She hosts painting lessons there, and caters to an international crowd.
She has, apparently, been all over the world giving talks and workshops with artists both budding and professional – and she is generally seen to be something of an expert in her field.
Julie runs weeklong workshops for all levels, in which you can develop a personally chosen skill or subject area – in teeny-tiny and therefore intensive groups. If you can’t take the time off to take advantage of these wonderful things, then you can organise weekly classes with Julie. These take place at the major locations in Belfast city centre – from the MAC to the Ulster Museum.
Down near Queen’s University, there is a nice studio art collective that runs adult art courses throughout the summer. These guys – the Lawrence Street Workshops, as they call themselves – teach essentially whatever they have to hand: pizza making, sculpture, guitar maintenance, and something to do with bikes. They also do a funfair.
They are an incredibly fun lot, and their classes are a real experience. You will also learn an awful lot about painting!
Get practicing your painting!
Whilst a group art workshop can be a wonderful thing – fun, mutually supportive, and stretching and challenging in the best way, they also have a few downsides. If you are looking to develop your particular technique – your observational work, say, or your use of pastels – you may find that you don’t get the personal support and guidance that you would like.
That’s totally understandable – and community art centres are not exactly supposed to provide bespoke tuition to individuals anyway.
So, if you want to develop your personal arts skills, why not look into some private painting and art instruction? Whilst you might think these are a little indulgent, you shouldn’t – because the returns on your investment from individual sessions with a painting teacher will be much higher than that from community arts classes.
Superprof is a great place to find such individual painting tuition. In Belfast, we host five painting tutors, charging an average of £18 an hour – tutors who are local artists themselves and offer classes either in their studio or in your front room.
Whichever way you choose, you can be sure that your painting tutor will be friendly, knowledgeable, and reliable!
Providing some of the best arts education in the UK, the Belfast School of Art makes up part of Ulster University. They offer degrees in art and design and graphic design, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
This latter course is your best option for an art program if you are looking to study painting at degree level. It places the art student in a practice-focused environment, in which their creativity is supplemented by additional modules in art history and theories of artmaking and aesthetics. It’s a challenging and prestigious course that sets you up for professional work in the art world, with real skills in visual art.
You’ll be taking part in your own art exhibition and be given plenty of opportunity to impress all the right people in the art industry.
Do it if you are serious about your work!