Monday, August 1, 2016

Top Awards for Livermore Art Students

Art Students of Thomasin Dewhurst Fine Art won top art prizes at the Alameda County Fair this Summer, including Best of Show awards, Best of Class awards, Sponsored monetary awards, First Place awards, and Second Place awards.

Congratulations go to:
  • Mariya Lima for winning an overall Best of Show award in the oil / acrylic painting category, Best of Class (youth, painting, 9 - 11 years) and First Place for her oil painting, “Fun-Sized”;
  • Lukas Horstschraer for winning a prestigious $50 LAA Sponsored Award for Best Black & White Pencil Drawing (9 - 11years), Best of Class (youth, drawing, 9 -11 years) and First Place for his pencil drawing, “Battle of the Future”;
  • Jaeden Li for also winning a prestigious $50 LAA Sponsored Award for Best Painting in Oil / Acrylics (12 - 14 years), Best of Class and First Place for his oil painting, “Grizzly in Spring”;
  • Anahi Morales for winning First Place for her colored pencil drawing, “Queen of the Garden” (youth, colored pencil drawing,12 - 14 years), and for Second Place with her oil painting, “A Portrait from within” (youth, painting, 12 - 14 years);
  • Rylee Lettus for winning First Place (youth, pastel, 9 - 11 years) for her pastel drawing “Owl”;
  • Shyanne Li for winning Second Place (youth, oil/acrylic painting, 9 - 11 years) for her oil painting, “Pets”;
  • Reagan Kinsella for winning Second Place (youth, oil/acrylic painting, 9 - 11 years) for all three (untitled) of her oil paintings;
  • Jakob Emerson for winning Second Place (youth, oil/acrylic painting, 12 - 14 years) for his painting, “Dapper Fish”;
  • Alyssa Dennison for winning Second Place (youth, oil/acrylic painting, 9 - 11 years) for her painting, “Sunset on Beach”;
  • Julia Weir for winning Second Place (youth, oil/acrylic painting, 15 - 17 years) for her oil painting, “Apple on a Plate


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Online video Art Lesson - How to draw an eye in pencil (click on the image or the link below to get to the video)

A video demonstration / art lesson on how to draw a realistic eye in pencil.  I use a 4B pencil on lightweight, acid-free drawing paper.  I also use a soft paper blending stub and an artist's kneadable eraser.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Recent Art Party!

I was recently asked to host an art party for a group of adults. Everyone had great fun, and really enjoyed themselves painting a vinyard landscape!

Excellent job on your masterpieces ladies!

For more information about Art Party hosting and prices, please email or telephone.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Wins for my art students at the 2016 Alameda County Fair!

Congratulations to my students, Lukas, Reagan, Jakob, Julia and Alyssa for winning awards at this year's Alameda County Fair art contest!

Lukas really excelled and won the Best of Show award for his drawing "Battle of the Future".

Very well done, all of you!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First online Art classes on Google+ !! - Student artwork

As this school year comes to a close a number of my students will be moving away, meaning, sadly, that, after watching them develop their skills over the years, they will no longer be able to have their regular face-to-face lessons with me.

In light of this, and with the enthusiasm and encouragement of the students' parents, I decided to explore the possibilities of online teaching.  I have taken a number of courses myself through, for example, Khan Academy and Coursera, and acquired some very valuable and useful knowledge through those organizations.  I am also a great fan of youtube as an education resource and a means of sharing information and skills in an accessible, informal and discursive way.

One of the most helpful aspects of youtube teaching is, for instance in art or music demonstrations, watching problems happen during the making process, and then seeing how they can be solved.  In professionally published lessons or demonstrations, I feel there is too large a gap between the starting point of the project and the finished product, where the end result seems to just magically happen without effort on the artist's or musician's part.  All the thinking, searching and discovering, which takes place through the making and confronting of mistakes, has been erased, and what is left is a rather slick and uncreative method of making which relates little to the student's own experience.

A student encounters all kinds of obstacles during the creative process.  Each mark is a problem that needs to be solved, and it is in the finding of solutions where the battle lies.  Things such as how to hold the pencil or brush, what direction to make the mark, how hard to press, how long to make the stroke etc., are problems, and there are an infinite number of choices as to how to solve them, which can make the student (or even the processional artist) feel overwhelmed and incompetent.

A major cause of disillusionment when learning to draw or paint is not realizing how long it takes to make something work. In art, I try to encourage my students to do many reworkings. Every reworking is a note to oneself; a discovery of what does and does not work, and through the reworkings, an artist can get closer to not only how to draw and paint to their own satisfaction and vision, but also the grow that vision at the same time. It can take weeks to arrive at a happy conclusion, and often artworks can look worse after two or more hours of hard work than they did at the start. This is to be expected, and should be approached patiently.

Coming back to my original point, I tried two group art classes on google+ with the intent of becoming more active in the online world of teaching.  These virtual classes did have their hiccups, with images disappearing or freezing during the lesson, and the image resolution being quite low, and so not much detail could be seen.  The students seemed to gain quite a bit from the lesson, nevertheless, and it definitely has its possibilities.

The lessons were around an hour long, and I demonstrated all the time, which was quite hard work! (I am very used to having the pleasing experience of watching other people draw for an hour or two).  We got some good drawings out of the lesson, and here are some examples of students' work.

I will be offering around three more free art lessons through Skype or Facetime through the end of June 2016.  These are offered on a  first-come-first-served basis. Please contact me for details.

 adult art student

 8 year old art student

19 year old art student

adult art student

Friday, August 21, 2015

Alberti perspective, Paleolithic Cave Paintings and Stongehenge - the first of this school year's art lessons

Today my students in my home-school Art History as well as my Friday home-school Art Practical class learned about Leon Battista Alberti, an Italian artist and architect (as well as being many other things as well) who was born in 1404. During the time of the Renaissance (the 14th to the 17th centuries), many artists were interested in incorporating perspective into their two-dimensional works.  Alberti was the first person to develop a mathematically-precise method of creating perspective.  This method was called linear perspective.

Together, my students and I worked through the many steps of Alberti's method of creating linear perspective.  We made drawings of rooms with one-point perspective, using penciled guidelines (such as are used in the example of a two-point perspective staircase below).

File:Staircase perspective.jpg 
An example of a staircase in two-point perspective (from Wikipedia)

My students, some of whom were quite young (6 years old), worked hard to practice using a ruler  and measuring precisely.  A lot of the students had doubts as to whether their drawings would be successes or not (and whether it would be as much fun as some of the other projects they had done in art), but in the end, their rooms magically became three-dimensional.  The students looked really happy with the results.  Some were so inspired they started a second drawing of their own accord, and some told me how useful this knowledge was for other projects they had had in mind.

 Student example of one-point perspective

My homeschool Art History students looked at Paleolithic (or "old stone age" - "paleo" meaning old and "lithic: meaning stone) art and the cave paintings from Lascaux, France. 

We talked about how old the cave paintings are (about 17,300 years old) and what the artists might use as brushes and paint.  Suggestions of leaves, plants, sticks and hand for brushes, and blood, charcoal, plant material and clay or stone were great ideas from the students, and close to what the artists used in reality (a lot of the art at Lascaux was made with mineral pigments).  

We had some ideas about what some of the art might be about, keeping in mind that because there is no written documentation from the time of the Lascaux Cave paintings, there is nothing really to tell us the motivations of the artists who made the paintings.  Many archaeologists have many ideas about what the paintings are about and why they were painted, but no-one knows for sure what the reasons are. 

Some of the students guessed that the animals that looked as though they were running may be escaping from the people who were hunting them.  A good guess since the Paleolithic people were mainly hunter-gatherers and nomadic in habit.

We also looked at Stonehenge located in Wiltshire, England.  The people who built Stonehenge were Neolithic (or "new stone age" - "neo" meaning new and "lithic: meaning stone).  They lived about 10,000 years ago.

Neolithic people were no longer hunter-gatherer nomads who moved location every few months.  Neolithic people settled in one area, built dwellings and farms, and grew crops and bred animals.  Since they did not need to move around frequently from place to place, they could make larger, and more permanent buildings; not just houses, but monument-like structures they, perhaps, used for worshiping or as burial grounds.  

Stonehenge is just such a place. Massive stones placed in a circular design form what people think might be a monument to a sun god (it is precisely aligned to the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset) or a burial ground (many bones of many people from neolithic times have been found near the site) but, again, no-ones knows for sure as there are no written documents explaining it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My 9 year old student won 1st Place and Best of Show at the Alameda County Fair!

My 9 year-old student just won 1st Place and Best of Show at this year's Alameda County Fair for her wonderful painting of a California Mission.  Congratulations Jori!  You deserve it! Excellent work!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kids beginning Knit and Sew classes

I am offering a new beginning KNIT and SEW class.

The class is open to children ages 5 to 18 who have new sewed or knitted, or have just done a little sewing and knitting.

  • We will learn basic knit /pearl stitches and how to make different patterns using them.
  • We will make a simple blanket for a doll, a scarf or a hat.
  • Students bring their own medium-sized knitting needles and yarn (which you can get cheaply from Walmart or Joann Fabrics)
  • We will sew by hand, learning to thread a needle, sew neatly and securely to make strong seams.
  • We will make a simple sleeveless top, a skirt or an embroidered cushion cover.
  • We will learn to add extras like buttons or zippers.
  • We will learn to use a sewing pattern.
  • Students bring their own materials, which, again, can be bought cheaply from Walmart or Joann Fabrics (please email me for a materials list) 
Class fees:
$24 per student per 1 and 1/2 hour class

Class location:
Bothwell Center, 2466 8th St, Livermore, CA 94550

Days and time:
(to be determined)

Please contact me for further information and to sign your child up for this class.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Student artwork - February 2015

California Mission
Oil on canvas
By 9 year-old student

Swiss Painting
Oil on canvas
By adult student

Acrylic on paper
By 6 year-old student

 California Landscape
Oil on canvas
By adult student

 Camouflaged Chameleon
Acrylic on paper
By 7 year-old student

 Flower Pot (work in progress)
Air-dry clay
By 10 year-old student

 Flower Pot (work in progress)
Air-dry clay
By 10 year-old student