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by Lee Ellwood (EllWords) (subscribe)
A freelance non-fiction editor and feature writer, also fond of quilting, reading, yoga and tea. Visit me at
Published November 17th 2019
Can't say you can't paint with Artfolk
If you were invited along to an art class, would you say, 'Oh, I can't paint or draw'? You know, that's not really true.

Maybe you've never felt really free to try. Maybe you've always compared your work to others'. And maybe you haven't yet met Artfolk's Vanessa Wallace.

Vanessa is an artist and teacher with a difference: an approach that leaves comparison and correction at the front door of the studio. Her empowering teaching style focuses on enjoyment and discovery rather than achievement and perfection.

art workshops with Vanessa Wallace of Artfolk
Artfolk's Vanessa Wallace is a teacher with a difference (photo courtesy Artfolk)

Why? 'I don't believe you need an arts background to engage with, enjoy and create beautiful personalised artworks', says Vanessa. 'Each person already has their own markmaking and creative skills, and a way of seeing and interpreting the world around them.'

This is what Vanessa nurtures and develops when teaching art. 'An authentic experience without comparison encourages your creativity and self-esteem to soar.'

Having attended two Artfolk workshops, I can testify that Vanessa has an amazing skill for taking any thoughts of right or wrong, good or bad, out of your creative experience. It's amazing what you discover when those filters are off!

A few months ago I booked into a Sunday evening Wine and Watercolour class at the Work-Shop in Newstead and, along with about six other students, spent a very happy two hours painting wildflowers.

My very first watercolours!
More recently, I capped off a visit to the Margaret Olley exhibition at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art with Vanessa's in-house workshop, where a long table set with flowers, fruit and homewares in Olley style inspired around 20 people to relax and explore watercolours.

Both times all the students, regardless of age, gender or previous art experience, were completely engrossed in their painting and pleased with what they produced. Each session was a fabulously positive experience.

So how can you, too, experience the Artfolk difference?

Artfolk scheduled workshops

Vanessa offers a schedule of workshops in different media at regular locations around Brisbane. The workshops are suitable for everyone, no matter how little they think they can do or even enjoy art.
Botanical watercolours
Discover how to use watercolours (photo courtesy Artfolk)

Whether you try watercolour, mixed media or ceramics, you'll receive professional teaching in a relaxed and social environment that will free you up to try, experiment, and play with the art materials just for the fun of it.

Some of the sessions include a glass of wine, which makes the endeavour even more relaxed and social!

In each workshop Vanessa will show you how the medium works best and what you could do with it, then set you up to play with the paint and paper and see what happens.

She'll offer encouragement and guidance or answer your questions, but her approach is never intrusive or condescending.

You'll find yourself happily pushing around paint on paper or clay on board, having forgotten all about 'but I can't paint'. And while you're busy enjoying, you'll be surprised at what you achieve!

Private events and parties

Artfolk also takes bookings for private art workshop events, travelling to your home or venue for a special occasion or just a gathering.

Vanessa can deliver private group tuition in homes, local halls, community spaces or just about anywhere for a very reasonable price per person. All you need to provide is the space and the snacks; Vanessa will do the rest, including setting up and clearing away the art materials.

Arty hens parties with Artfolk
Have an arty hens party (photo courtesy Artfolk)

If you're planning a girls' evening, a team-building exercise at work, a birthday party or Sunday afternoon social group, why not contact Vanessa to book an art experience for you? You'll be surprised how affordable it will be and how popular, too!

Artfolk at Woodford

Going to Woodford this December? Vanessa will be back again this year, teaching six workshops for ages 16 plus. Why not make the most of your Woodford ticket and blend some creativity in with the fantastic music?

Read more here and book in for your preferred day and time.

About Vanessa and Artfolk

Starting out as a graphic designer, Vanessa has been a practicing artist for over 20 years and exhibits her works at a number of galleries. She has tertiary qualifications in graphic design, ceramics and teaching, and works in government primary schools as a casual art teacher as well as in collaboration with the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. So her teaching experience is broad, skilled, personal and authentic.

An imaginative child with a builder father, she 'grew up constantly designing, making and decorating objects and the space around me', Vanessa says. 'I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not have a creation underway.'

As a lifelong creative, Vanessa loves to inspire people to discover and enjoy their own innate creativity. Artfolk, her teaching business, is also the community of people who've discovered their own creativity through her teaching.

Tempted to challenge that 'I can't paint' self-limitation? Thinking of something different for that upcoming gathering? I can honestly recommend an Artfolk workshop!
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Why? Because really, you can!
When: See website for latest workshop dates
Phone: 0401 818 384
Where: Various Brisbane venues, or at your place
Cost: Varies - around $55 to $65 pp
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