At The Arienas Collective we believe in the well-being benefits of engaging in creative activity, as do all the artists and makers who run workshops here. I spoke to Edinburgh artist Suzanne Kemplay - who runs our painting classes and courses - about what inspired her to take up painting.
What inspired you to become a painter?
My grandfather. I never knew him, but he was a painter and I grew up surrounded by his paintings and drawings. I have always loved looking at pictures whether on the wall or in storybooks. I was late learning to read, but could look at pictures for hours and the pictures would give me the narrative. I was always drawing and painting as a child, and I saw it as an escape from the everyday world around me.
How would you describe your painting style?
I like to look and observe, and have always engaged with observational drawing and painting. I admire all sorts of art, but for me I want to recreate what I see: to capture the look of the person sitting for me, or to catch a reflection on a glass, or the softness of a petal. That's what keeps me motivated.
What do you see as the benefits of painting?
You create time for yourself, and allow yourself freedom of expression. Engaging in creative activity stimulates our imagination and promotes inspiration. We can surprise ourselves with what we can achieve, and receive pleasure and relaxation as we create.
Can anyone learn to paint? People don't need experience of painting to give it a try. The courses I run at The Arienas Collective are suitable for complete beginners, and for returners who want to develop their painting techniques, or have a go at painting with acrylics. I keep the class sizes small so I can give everyone the hands on help and support they need. On the Art & Wine Evenings I also help get people straight to work by pre-drawing the images for them to trace: I want people to have fun playing with paint.
In what ways do you think people can benefit from learning to paint with you?
I hope people will enjoy the process of painting and creating an image that they can admire, and that will inspire them to do something more.
Suzanne runs regular themed Art & Wine Evenings at The Arienas Collective featuring artists who have inspired her work, including the Scottish Colourists and Georgia O'Keeffe. Her new painting course starts on 13 March and will run again in the Autumn term starting in September. The course is designed in 2-week blocks, plus a weekend course; and can be booked as a full course or as individual modules, so you can choose the option that best suits your needs. Go here to find out more and to check availability for all Suzanne's workshops and courses.