Collage and painting classes in Dubai

Why an artistic class could be all the therapy you need to relax and unwind

The last time we had a go at collaging, we were 13 years old and at an art class in high school, and thanks to a less than favourable teacher, we quickly detested the subject. That’s not to say we weren’t creative – scrapbooking was all the rage in the early noughties and we managed to put together a nice little collage or ode to our favourite boybands (thanks, Westlife, for being our inspiration).

Fast forward 13 years and we are sat in a studio in a villa in Umm Suqeim for We Love Art’s painting and collage workshop. Taking place over seven weeks, the course is aimed at beginners and those with an art background and is divided into two levels. Led by Dutch artist and founder Denise Schmitz, the level one class takes place weekly on a Saturday morning from 10.30am until 1.30pm in a studio set up in her home – a beautiful villa with a garden and swimming pool – creating a relaxed, social setting.

The first class introduces us to colour, familiarising us with mixing techniques and the effect of colours. This is followed by a class on perspective, to show how to create the illusion of space. The fun really begins from the third class, when we get to paint a portrait, and then the following week, a still-life composition. Once the basics are covered we are introduced to collage. The technique used to create artworks from an assemblage of different materials – often newspaper and magazine clippings, paint and other objects to be glued to a piece of paper or canvas.

The course ends with the production of our final masterpiece, that demonstrates the knowledge we have acquired over the duration of the course. We each receive a canvas and are given a theme, and the final pieces are exhibited on the We Love Art exhibition night at Raw Coffee Company in Al Quoz, to live music. The level two class includes a sunrise beach painting session, live model painting and pop art collage.

To create our masterpiece we started with a basic collage technique, gluing newspaper clippings and images related to the chosen theme, ‘Peace’, to our canvas. We then sketched images of our choice on top, before adding paint and colour to the canvas. Throughout the class, Denise is on hand to assist and guide us all when needed, and is particularly helpful with beginners. We find it quite tricky to sketch an image of a dove, but manage to complete it after Denise shows us a helpful grid technique to divide it up, step by step.

The course is open to both men and women with various levels of experience – some have painted before, while others simply use the class to escape creatively. We particularly enjoy how relaxed the class is and find it therapeutic to be painting with soulful jazz music playing softly in the background. There is friendly chatter among participants and it feels more like a group hang-out than a class. We experience an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment after we create our masterpiece. And while we aren’t on a par with the likes of Georges Braque or Pablo Picasso, we are pretty chuffed with our colourful canvas – we think it might be time to take those boyband posters down.
Dhs1,550 for seven classes of three hours each, plus exhibition night in the eighth week; all materials are included. Level one classes: Sat, 10.30am-1.30pm; level two classes: Sat noon-3pm (must have completed level 1 first). Until June 27. Villa 21, Al Azaal Street, off Al Manara Road, Umm Suqeim 2, (056 769 1995).

More painting classes for adults

Bright Side Painting Classes
Based on the concept of painting using the right side of the brain, classes will help those participating quickly learn how to paint using special techniques that help to activate its right side, which is responsible for creativity and creative thinking. The three-hour session takes place to soulful tunes playing in the background, to get those creative juices flowing.
Dhs250 for one three-hour class; Dhs650 for three classes. Tue and Thu 10am-1pm; Fri 2pm-5pm. Brushes and paints included. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (052 837 6611).

DIY Painting
Participants will learn oil painting skills working on colour theory basics and a variety of application techniques as they perfect their technique to create a textured and harmonious finished painting. Dhs80 per person (including all materials except oil paints, participants will need to bring their own. Canvas will cost extra). Seats are limited, prior booking required.
Wed 6.30pm-9pm. Until May 27. thejamjar, Street 17a, Al Quoz 3 (04 341 7303).

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