AD / Paid collaboration with Elephant Academy

Well, hang us in The Louvre and call us Rembrandt. We’ve recently completed a four-week oil painting course and we’re ready to don our biggest beret and get creating. Ok, maybe not that extreme but we are feeling a little creative flourish, which you could too!

Keep reading to find out more and to nab yourself a 20% discount on painting courses…

Welcome to our at-home art studio…

Have you been experiencing weird dreams during lockdown? Us too. It’s lockdown related stress which has an effect on your sleep. And did you also know that if you’re a creative type and you don’t have a creative outlet or release then you’ll also get weird dreams? So basically, if you’re a creative and in lockdown and you’re sitting on your tush all day then you could well be experiencing some acid-trip-like dreams.

Painting, amongst many arts & crafts hobbies, is a great creative outlet. It gives you time to look away from your work screen or the latest Netflix binge and focus on something totally different. And whether you’re painting from life or your imagination, it’s a great distraction from lockdown life.

When Elephant Academy reached out about joining one of their courses, we jumped at the chance. They also caught us in our ‘new year, new me’ state of mind so we were ready and raring to put our hand to a new skill.

Now if you don’t already know Elephant Academy, they’re the brainchild of Elephant Magazine, a print magazine and online platform that explores the world of creativity and contemporary culture in the visual arts. So it only makes sense for them to offer art classes too, right?

Taught by leading artists, Elephant Academy has oodles of courses to suit all levels and styles. There is also a choice of four, six and eight week courses which range from being able to create an independent piece of art through to those who would like a side of historical and educational learnings with their painting. Having dabbled in acrylic painting before we were torn between a watercolour course and an oil painting course but with our sights set on being the next Dutch Master we opted for the latter.

The sign-up was super easy as we enrolled onto our four-week course. The price also includes all your materials, so it’s great knowing that your fellow course peers are all working from exactly the same equipment. No sneaky professionals here! The materials came boxed up before the course started and our oil set included brushes, a palette, paints, canvas boards and the oils. All you’ll need to bring is an old cloth to cover your surface, some rags/kitchen roll, emptied and clean jars or pots and to wear some clothes you don’t mind getting a little mucky.

One of the landscape oils from Week 2…

Due to lockdown shenanigans, this was a virtual course taken on Zoom, and all the details were sent beforehand via email along with your reference images. The set-up was simple, you just log in, meet your course pals (there’s around 15 members so plenty of opportunity to ask questions) and get tutored by your teacher. We had the wonderful artist, Rachel Levitas, who guided us through the skills and techniques needed to master the dark art of, well, the arts.

Artist and tutor, Rachel Levitas leads the class via Zoom

The itinerery for our oil painting course went a little like this…

Week 1 was still life and we put brush to canvas and painted a hanging apple and a bowl of lemons.

Week 2 was a challenge as we tackled landscapes which we couldn’t get our head around as easily as you use the oil paint like watercolour.

Weeks 3 and 4 we created our masterpiece, a copy of Cardinal Camillo Astalli-Pamphili by Spanish painter, Diego Velázquez.

We learnt about glazes, brush techniques and how to mix oils. We went into depth about transparent paints, creating skin tones and layering the paints. It was a four-week deep-dive into the world of oils and we’ve come away feeling knowledgeable and fired up to continue painting. Yes, the outcome may not be the most polished (check out Cardinal below) and you certainly won’t see us hung in the V&A any time soon, but for a Tuesday evening in lockdown it was great fun and we’d definitely recommend it.

From Cardinal to… criminal? David’s attempt at Velázquez gentleman in red.

So, whether you’re looking to brush up on your painting skills or kick-start a new hobby, how about getting arty with Elephant Academy? Use code FORWARDFEATURES20 at checkout to nab yourself 20% off any of Elephant Academy’s courses.

David & Mark x

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