For our latest tutor interview, we went artistic and spoke to Watercolour tutor, Janet Darley, to find out where her passion for drawing and painting came from, how she got into teaching, and what she enjoys most about teaching. Janet teaches Watercolour for us, but out of work she also teaches workshops for both children and adult workshops, so she’s very dedicated to her cause.
Janet has had some personal success recently, her painting “Elmley Marshes” has been shortlisted for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016. You can find a picure of the painting below. As well as being a part of the competition for the third year running, for the last two years her paintings have been used in marketing materials for the competition, and she has been invited to teach at the exhibition for the competition which is taking place at the Mall Galleries in London.
As usual, first we got to know a little bit about her as a person by finding out some of her favourite things:
Favourite food: Paella
Favourite film: Withnail and I
Favourite book: Any of Iris Murdoch’s
Favourite holiday destination: Somewhere within Britain that makes a good place for painting, especially Cornwall and Scotland
Favourite hobby outside of work: Walking
How did you discover your passion for watercolour?
“I’ve always painted since I was a child, and watercolour worked best for me.” Janet has clearly always been a creative person, as she remembers being able to sculpt and model clay from as young as four years old.
How did you begin teaching watercolour?
Tracey went into teaching watercolour straight from finishing art college, which means she went from being taught to doing the teaching practically overnight. “As soon as I finished art college, the Sister Superior of the Convent of Sacred Heart in Maidstone contacted me and wanted someone to teach art at GCSE level at the convent.”
What is it you enjoy most about teaching?
“The discovery that I see my learners make.”
What tips do you always give your learners?
“I tell them to really look around and capture their surroundings so that they can see things they wouldn’t have noticed before. The colours in a tree might seem like just brown and green at first, but if you really study it you see a range of colours to use.” For beginners, Janet always encourages them to express themselves in their paintings, and says the quality of a painting isn’t important at first as long as the learner has expressed their vision of it.
Are there any particularly memorable learner experiences or success stories you can think of?
“We recently took part in a project celebrating the history and positive aspects of Sheppey. Learners found out a lot of things they didn’t know about the island such as that King Henry VIII reportedly spent his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn at Shurland Castle. The learners made a sculpture of the castle, painted various Sheppey landscapes and the Sheppey Bridge.”
In fact, a learner group project, a painting of Harty Church is to be displayed in Sheerness Library in January. Janet has a habit of success with her learner projects, a huge painting of Stonehenge can be found in the reception area of our Sittingbourne centre, and a group painting of Leeds Castle was actually displayed at the castle for some time.
What would you say to anyone thinking of enrolling on a drawing and painting course?
“Go for it, I’ve never had learners not enjoy it or learn new things, and everyone on the course is welcoming and encouraging.”
Are you inspired to find out more about Janet as a tutor first-hand? She has a 30 week Watercolour class for beginners and improvers coming up in September, so make sure to enrol by clicking the button below.Back to the Magazine