Artistic creation can lighten your spirit and restore your soul. It’s easy to forget this truth in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but it’s worth remembering and exploring. If you’re looking to be a more centered, whole and creative person in 2023, consider trying Creative Art with Olivia.
Olivia Garcia-Hassell is an arts educator who taught in Fort Worth ISD for more than a decade and now works with the Kimbell Art Museum and serves as an Amon Carter Community Artist. She is self-taught in art and deeply committed to helping people explore their creativity.
She will offer classes this spring using gouache (pronounced “gwash”) as a medium. “Gouache is water-soluable paint that is somewhere between watercolor and acrylic, and I think it’s super fun to work with,” says Garcia-Hassell. “It’s portable, it dries fast, and the colors are really vibrant. It’s very user-friendly.”
The course will focus on botanical subjects–January will be devoted to peonies, February to narcissus and March to wildflowers–and on learning color mixing and shading. “I want to concentrate on tinting and shading to get three dimensionality and a sort of loose feeling–not abstract, but not realistic, either,” she says.
Garcia-Hassell invites both experienced artists and complete beginners to the class. “I work with people at any ability level,” she says. “If you don’t know anything, I’ll help get you started. If you know a whole lot, I’ll help where you want it. I want art to be accessible to everyone.”
In fact, technique isn’t as important to Garcia-Hassell as self-care. “My expectation is not necessarily a finished product but something that has alleviated stress,” she says. “If at the end you have a work you love, great. If not, tear it up and let it go.”
All supplies will be provided. Students will also be given a list of the supplies Garcia-Hassell recommends so they can continue to explore the medium at home if they desire. Students are invited to take multiple classes, but each session will stand alone.
For those unable to attend or eager to get started, Garcia-Hassell says one of the best exercises for artists at any level is to practice shading to create a sense of depth. “Start with something simple. A lemon is great. You’re likely to have one around, and it’s an interesting shape without being too complicated,” she advises. “You can use paints or even just a pencil and paper. Notice how the light falls on the lemon. Where is it brightest? Where is it darkest? Then try to recreate that on the page.”
She reminds students to regularly step back from their work. “If you stare too much at something, you can’t see it. It’s important to get up and look at the work from a distance. If you think you’ve made a mistake, leave it alone for a while and then come back to it,” she says.
Most importantly, let go of the idea that your work has to be perfect. “I believe a person’s style comes through the mistakes that they think they make,” says Garcia-Hassell. “I think that a lot of artists who become successful in having their own style have learned how to let go of perfection and embrace what they are capable of creating.”
Sign up today for one, two or more classes–and invite a friend to come along. Make 2023 the year you explore your creativity.