Ever since I decided to create a pastel painting course I have been wondering how to do this. So many painting courses (or any course for that matter) follow the same formula: a teacher explains in front of an easel (whiteboard, powerpoint presentation, etc) and then asks the students to go out and do it themselves. I suppose to explain, demonstrate and send students off to follow suit is a tried and tested method of teaching. Yet it feels a little bit stale. I don't think the teacher will notice me nodding off in the back....

Now I have not solved this issue yet. But I have come across some amazing guys who helped me put some creative fire into my plans. The guys from eCourse Adventures (an online course about course making) really turned a lightbulb on in my head. I realised that a course could be as much fun and have as much beauty as any other 'product' that I create (ie art works). In other words, it could be created with as much creativity, fun and games as anything else. 

Why not put as much creativity in creating an eCourse as in creating a painting? Now I am no expert in teaching or education and I won't fool myself I could create something as epic. But what I can take away from this idea is that an eCourse could be whole lot more than just a teacher standing in front of an easel and handing out PDF's. 

And so I created The Pastel Place. A place in an imaginary world - somewhere half way towards a stereotypical French town, retro style, where we might bump into Gene Kelly (why not, a girl can dream!). A world where everything is rosy, happy and colourful (and a bit dusty from the pastel sticks - but that's ok because there is a fountain to wash it all off).  A place we want to visit again and again because it feels welcoming, fun (and perhaps a tad silly) and where we can learn an awful lot about pastel. Every time you visit you will feel inspired to get painting and you'll want to come back again and again.

The Pastel Place is a painted imaginary world - painted in pastel of course. It looks like a small town square and around it we can find some buildings: the pastel studios, the art materials shop, the pastel museum and more. We will visit each place and learn about pastel or practice our painting skills. 

Of course we still teach the lessons. And yes, I will probably be standing in front of an easel telling you how it is done (I'll keep the wagging finger out) and I will send the students on their way to go and practice what they've learned. But if ever I find a way to do this differently I will!  

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About the author

Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. She writes on oil and pastel painting, art history and the life of an artist. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace.

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