art classes, for adults, teenagers, children and people living with intellectual disabilities

For the younger children having access to so much paint "stuff" is very exciting and they run into the classes and I am amazed at their concentration and the sureness of want they want to do with their work.The parents tell me the children look forward to the class and become upset if they can't come. Their developing personalities and the sheer joy in mastering and wanting to learn and to express themselves. Paintings of dinosaurs are popular especially with the boys who talk stories aloud while painting, make dinosaur noises, describe names, parts and facts about them, from the mouths of 4 year olds. Life affirming! I set up a broad theme for each class - Favorite food on a red table clothe, fire or burning, night skies, night landscapes all on black backgrounds, circuses, self portraits, outer space travel, fields of flowers, "Mr Squiggles" animals.
For the 4 to 8 year olds access to different materials and mediums, exploring, learning to master brushes, rollers sponging and having complete ownership of their own painting absorbs them. Just letting them play, talking aloud while painting and creating their master pieces and to my eye's many are, naturally with the power of cave paintings in there symbolism and reality to the children's world. I see drawers - future cartoonists, film makers, computer graphic masters. Future painters who love the brush and colors attacking the work with their  bodies and passion, completely happy within themselves and so naturally absorbed  with settled brains and totally complete while painting. Kids who love to cut, saw and put together sculptures.
I do a lot of teaching with accessing the right hand side of the brain. My own drawing suddenly became alive when I started to draw with my left hand. My research discovered that (the right brain) is visual and processes information in an intuitive, big picture then detail. This side is about art, music, meditation, mystical experiences.  The other (the left brain) is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole.

So if I'm Left-Handed, Does This Mean My Right Brain is Dominant?
No, hand dominance is not directly related to brain dominance. And, remember, just like you don't do everything with only the one hand, so your brain doesn't do everything with one side, although there is generally a preference. However, a significant number of artists have been and are left-handed, more than would be suggested by the one-in-ten occurrence of left-handedness in the population. While those who are left handed do exhibit a greater propensity for right-brain dominance, being right handed does not preclude your right brain from dominating.
How is the Right Brain / Left Brain Concept Relevant to Artists?
When you start a painting, you need be able to to visualize the final painting in your mind (right brain, working from the whole), then develop the painting, choosing the elements, matching and mixing colors, placing in the shadows and highlights (right brain, working on various things simultaneously), but at the same time be able to look critically at what you've doing (left brain, being analytical). By finding out whether your thinking is dominated by your right or left brain, you can then deliberately set out to use the 'right brain' way of thinking in your painting or drawing, rather than working on 'auto-pilot'. By trying a different strategy you will probably be surprised by what different results you can produce." Marion Boddy-Evans,  
By starting my drawings with my left hand  and concentrating on watching the object I'm drawing I can bypass all the I cant's, its to hard and getting to confused by all the elements I need to put together. I just draw. Its so much more enjoyable and my natural skills just fall into place. For detail rendering I go back to my right hand. The kids don't like doing it at first, it feels like they have applied brakes on their natural newly developed mastery over their right hand but the results have enabled them to make giant leaps. I give them small hand mirrows to do self portraits or I get them to pair up and draw their partners. Adults give themselves permission to do art to explore their creativity.
Childrens art on display at the "Residence" Blackheath.
I love color and luminous paint quality. With both children and adults I teach color theory, cool colors, hot colors.
How to paint background colors, how to graduate them from cool background to warm foreground, as seen in the above pictures.  Children paint and draw symbolically within a flatten picture plane as in many traditional societies. It has a wonderful decorative massage to the eyes but we have also lived through the revolution of perspective and the renaissance and being able to create a illusion of depth. With older children I start them on a process to adult art making. The principles of color, tone, perspective, design, drawing and constructing a picture. I have found if children are not show a way through this path frustrations and anger at their own lack of skills can damage or destroy future participation in artmaking. This can result in only  the most talented from being artists. It can leave a life time of feeling I'd love to paint but I have no talent. Yes, a good visual hand eye co-ordination is helpful for a professional career, loving doing art, dedication, passion and curiosity will win hands down with me over raw but underutilized talent. I have a strong belief that "man" needs to have sources of creativity throughout his or her life. I made that, build this, wrote stories of my journey, painted images of my times, my feelings, I lived and this is what is me, what I leave. As an adult artist we often want to paint with the freedom and spontaneity of a child but we come to this stage from knowledge. The old artist saying goes something like " you've got to know the rules to break them"
Group painting where the students "paint" together on large sheets of paper, working with the following rules, no aspect of the painting belongs to one artist unless stated and the group agrees. All the people respond to what others have put down. Most of the white paper has to be filled and periods must be spent going back as a group to look at the work and then to decide what else to do. As the teacher I put down the first mark,, a spiral will create a different finished result than a rectangle shape. the bonding of the class members, the skills of  painting is learnt in a wonderfully fun and positive manner. The results are beautiful to look at, exciting contemporary paintings and the students leave happy and excited. 
Prints Drawings   art classes   Mural consultant 
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I love to use my Skills to relate and portray multi-layered visual stories. My range of mediums and practice's with examples of my work are displayed throughout this site. Murals are my speciality. Figurative work, genre, landscape, natural and industrial. Large scale paintings. Trade Union banners. Enduring environmental art-design - Conceptualized and site specific community based art work - Paintings - Portraits, public, family, business and community stories.Collaborative team work. Being a  supervising artist on Public art projects.Hand painted ceramic tile murals.I am able to work to the design brief and budget constraints when working with clients,communities,architects and interior designers.I have renovated 4 houses incorporating various paint techniques,ceramic tiles,door features,color co-ordination, murals outdoors,ceilings,walls. Mural consultancies, working with communities vie the Internet,helping with design,mural elements and fabrication techniques while the client works with their own artists to produce the mural on site is a new service. Adult+children's art classes are now on.

All images and stories by Birgitte Hansen are copyright