Meet an Instructor: Susan Vandyke

Artist, Susan Vandyke, has been teaching with NCE for 4 years. Susan teaches various basket weaving and other functional art subjects. She has two classes coming up this spring: Handmade Paper and Painted Paper Baskets. Learn more about Susan below:

What neighborhood or area of town do you live in?

Just outside Brentwood

Why do you teach at Nashville Community Education?

I want to share my skills and introduce new people to the joys of creating.

If you weren’t teaching a class, what class would you be taking?

I would love to take Spanish and Beginning Guitar…someday

What is one thing you wish people knew about NCE?

The incredible variety of course offerings.

When you aren’t teaching a class with us, how are you spending your time?

Making jewelry and watching Hallmark movies

What’s the last book, podcast, or blog you read or listened to?

Nora Ephron’s Heartburn

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Making a Case for You to Take an Art Class

sue-drawingGuest Blog by Suehyun Choi, Drawing Basics instructor

What color is the sky outside? You may answer, “blue.” If it’s cloudy, you may say, “gray,” just like how grapes are purple, and strawberries are red. You may say that a tree is brown, no matter what time of the day. Leaves, of course, are ever-green. But they can turn into a wide range of oranges in the fall. We know the rhyme: “Roses are red, violets are blue, …” lemons are yellow, and rocks are gray.

I attended a portrait workshop early in my painting career. The world famous instructor told me that “there is no gray in nature.” Nowhere in nature will you observe a perfect blend of black and white. The cloudy sky is not gray, but rather takes on a hue of yellow, brown, or even a little green. Concrete, asphalt, and even stone never adhere to a fixed “color.” They dynamically respond to the presence of light and its surroundings.

As artists, we get the chance to challenge our preconceived notions about what we see on a day-to-day basis. Creating art requires admitting that we cannot exactly replicate reality as we know it. Instead, we take advantage of the opportunity to express how we experience the world. We transpose our understanding and experience of the world and express it in the medium of our choice.

When we create art, we consider the following things:

  1. We analyze reality and select aspects of it that we want to express. We extract them, in a way, and carefully consider the bounds and limits what we perceive.
  2. We select the medium and manner this will be expressed in. We consider the physical characteristics and processes that this entails and execute them.
  3. We decide upon the story, the message, and even emotion that this artwork will bear and deliver.

This artistic process – comprised of an analytical, physical, and emotional component – is not reserved for a particular medium like painting and drawing. No matter what your choice of art is – whether it be traditional art, digital, performing, or even print and moving media – this artistic process welcomes your expression of your experience.

There is a story about an adult who was lead to believe that she was bad at art. As a young student, she drew trees with a black crayon. The black trees were so because it was observed in the dark, because she had experienced them that way. Her classmates and teacher mocked her, “Trees aren’t black – they’re brown.” And so the individual decided that she was bad at art.

The emotional aspect of the process cannot be taught. No one can force you to see trees as black, blue, or even purple if you do not experience them that way. However, a teacher can assist you with observing and analyzing reality. To help you question whether or not a tree is, indeed, brown as you had once thought. In addition, an art class teacher can introduce you to different techniques and medium in the art world. Even a ‘red apple’ does not take a simple ‘red’ color. To truly express a ‘red apple,’ I would incorporate some green, yellow, even blue to create magenta to bring the apple to life.

You owe it to yourself to find a medium that suits your experience. Take an art class today. 😉

We offer Drawing Basics, Handmade Paper, Pintura Sobre Madera (taught in Spanish!), and more! Check out all of our creative classes under the Create and Arts sections of our catalog.

Spring 2017: Registration is open!

We have a great Spring lineup for you. From acting to yoga, there’s something for everyone in 2017. Registration is open and classes start January 17!
Photo of team
It takes a lot of hard work to provide all of these amazing classes. Students mostly interact with our dedicated instructors or dependable Site Coordinators, Tamara Obradovic and Nayele Alamilla. But much of our success also comes from our behind-the-scenes team.

If you’ve ever called the office, you’ve probably heard the upbeat energy of our Administrative Officer, Joshua Hill. Imelda Alamilla, our hardworking Program Coordinator, is responsible for organizing the classes you’ll see here. And then there’s me, Executive Director, Mary Beth Harding. I ensure our program achieves its potential through strategic planning.

Our door is always open, so come meet the team this spring and as always, we’ll see you in class!

Mary Beth Harding
Executive Director