Welcome to Almasart!

Katharine Doyle Almas

Katharine's formal training includes the Vancouver School of Art, Banff School of Fine Arts, and the Peter Aspell School of Abstract Design. Her teaching credentials, among others, include Bob Ross Landscape, Bob Ross Wildlife and Bob Ross Floral. Over the years Katharine has taught students of all skill levels and from all walks of life.

While raising six children, she went to school with them every day and taught art classes. For thirteen years Katharine was the Artistic Director for her children’s elementary school, kindergarten to grade 7. Her love of teaching has developed in to a mission: to populate the planet with as many painters as possible.

"Painting is a process that takes us inward, it is the safest way to leave the planet. When you walk into a class in progress you can literally feel the creativity and it is contagious."

 

"I look forward to meeting you. See you in class."

Katharine.

Choosing your Coach

All painters striving for excellence know that they are students for life. The process of development is learning by duplication and repetition until what you see in your mind transfers to your eye, hand, brush and canvas. All serious painters have guidance, inspiration and instruction but finding the right coach/teacher can be difficult. Once you have a candidate feel free to ask to visit a class and see how it is run with an opportunity to talk to the current students. The very best way to judge a teacher is to ask their students.
You may want to ask to pay for a single lesson and try it out. Any teacher would welcome these reasonable requests.

Things to watch out for or, ( if you like more drama) Warning signs!
It is not essential to like your teacher but respect is critical. Not for the person, for the work...  If you do not admire or believe in this persons' ability to paint well....it's over.   You MUST have someone who paints better than you do at this point in your development.
Never paint beneath your own ability while in class, it's a waste of time.

Personal opinions about your work do not belong in the studio, friends and relatives will supply these abundantly. Your coach is there to inspire, encourage and teach you what you want to learn, opinions are pointless.

Even if you like and respect your coach ask questions.  If you are asked to change something not obvious to you, ask why.
Any teacher who cannot justify their instruction is running a scam, you are being cheated.  Dramatic?  Yes, but this is a fact.
You have a right to expect answers, this is not a confrontation, your coach should be pleased to explain the process. It's exactly what you are paying for.  If your questions are received as a challenge or insult you will know, this likely means ego is involved, double warning here.
 
As a student you have placed yourself in a vulnerable position. You are asking for help and technical knowledge to create what you feel.
To this end, ego is possibly the greatest flaw a painting teacher can have. If you sense an attitude of superiority or entitlement, even a hint, pick up your gear and leave. This will not work out. Hidden agendas are toxic.  This is one place bruising does not heal.

Trust is essential, it will not take long to discover whether your choice of teacher is conducting classes only for financial gain. This is not uncommon. No one can teach talent, and the thrill of watching talent excel is the true motivation behind a good teacher. It is a privilege to be present at the moment someone realizes they are an artist.
As mentioned before, no one can teach talent. You have it or you would not even be interested in instruction. The confidence to recognize and own your talent takes time.  As your eye improves (the single most important aspect in painting) you will start to see what your coach sees.  This is an exciting stage.  Artists see more!  Everything starts to look different.  This is the beginning, now when you pick up your brush and leave the planet you can actually see where you are going!

As your eye develops and you start to see more, comparisons are inevitable. Remember that you are learning as you critique while strolling through a gallery or show.  It is not overly critical to see technical errors in other painters' work. You have worked to develop beyond them. You can proudly leave the "just good enough" or "junk art" in the dust.  You have earned the right, it's an educated observation that you have spent precious time to develop. Although these observations are valuable to you as a learning experience, they are probably not appreciated by the painters that believe that lessons are beneath them. It's usually best to keep these thoughts to yourself. Safety first.
An excellent example of this is amateur abstract paintings.  Next time you see a huge abstract that offends you for technical reasons eg...( not even a 4 yr old's knowledge of clean color) don't be fooled by the painters long dramatic explanation of their work. This is visual art.  What you see is what you get.  Not what you are told, or worse what you are told you are supposed to be seeing.

Abstractions are the most difficult phase in a painters development because a pure abstract with no recognizable shapes ,symbols or even lines is about how you FEEL when you look at it.  If it means nothing to the painter, it is nothing.  Decorative junk, color swatches.
Keep walking, there is nothing to learn here except how annoying the sales pitch is.

Abstract has a bad reputation, unfortunately is is well earned by painters looking for what they see as a fast and easy way to make money.  They hope to intimidate the viewer by what they see as lack of experience. If you don't understand it or if it is hanging in a gallery, it must be good. There must be something there beyond my experience and training.  Wrong......Trust me, or not......98% of it is crap.  How should you feel?  Your intelligence has been insulted. Feel away! 
Then.........wrap your mind around genius.  The movement towards pure abstract began with the brave and daring impressionists.  Even if you don't care for this style of painting. Check out Vincent.  If you see an original Van Gogh in a gallery you cannot look away.  His emotional exposure is so raw, so honest, it's hypnotizing. Every stroke is packed with the turmoil, fear, joy and intensity that this particular genius allows us to witness.  His work draws people like a magnet because it invokes feelings.  You have raised the bar, so when you see junk, think of Vincents' honesty and walk on.  But do keep looking.