Online class with Mark Daniel Nelson

Since January I’ve been lucky enough to be part on an online class taught by Mark Daniel Nelson, an artist living and working in Denver, Colorado. He has presented his two recent online classes on Thursdays at 11:00 Pacific Time using Zoom software on the internet. The year-long series, started with Simple is not Easy, the second, Look Here, Not There, recently finished. The next class in the series will be about abstraction. He uses cameras, an iPad, computer and other magic to

make his online classroom available to 50 or more students at a time. We can ask questions or make comments and Mark responds to us as though he knows each of us personally. Many have actually taken onsite workshops with him I think.

Mark is a superb teacher. He presents concepts in a scaffolding manner that lets me absorb each new idea before adding the next. He does this mostly by showing us in the online lecture many examples of famous artists’ works from many different styles. He discusses how the new concept plays out in their paintings. But Mark also does this with the work class members do in response to weekly assignments that we then post to our private Facebook group each week. He will use the critique time to help us see how we have successfully interpreted the concept. And if we haven’t quite gotten it he will copy the piece into Procreate (a digital drawing program on the iPad) and share his suggestions by “fixing” the piece before our very eyes. He does this with a true sense of curiosity and exploration and never a bit of judgement. It’s fun to watch our paintings gain in impact and strength with his careful manipulation. And he handles a huge range of painting styles and interests.

I came to the class looking for a boost in inspiration and direction. I was feeling stuck and stale and needed something, but didn’t know what it might be. I have found the inspiration. My head and eyes are newly loaded with a renovated way to approach my painting. I can’t always pull it off, but I have a whole bunch of new tools to work with that will help me. I am excited.

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