'Beginning Painting with Barry Stebbing' is a wonderful 3 Course drawing program that is suitable for ages 5 to adult. Noted artist and instructor Barry Stebbing teaches all 3 courses starting with Beginning Watercolors, followed by Beginning Acrylics, and finally Beginning Oil Painting. In the beginning of each course, he introduces himself as Mr. Stebbing, and you know class is in session. In spite of that no-nonsense introduction, his instruction and delivery are friendly, low key and not at all patronizing as one might expect with material aimed, at least in part, at students as young as 5. Mr. Stebbing does a masterful job in presenting material in a way that is easy for even the youngest students to grasp without boring older students.
This 3 course instructional set includes 6 discs. Each course is presented on 2 discs that includes appropriate quotations and masterpieces of some of the great masters of art as well as a bit of classical music to set the mood. The entire compilation is beautifully done and enjoyable to watch even if you're not painting along.
Beginning Watercolors - 2 Discs
Disc 1 of the Beginning Watercolors Course contains 2 lessons and begins with a discussion of the supplies you will need to complete the course. These include brushes, watercolor paper, and water soluble markers. You will also need a couple of jars to hold clean water for painting and water for rinsing your brushes. Mr. Stebbing stresses the proper care and necessity for keeping your brushes clean and undamaged.
The first lesson begins, not with watercolor paints, but with water soluble markers. You will be asked to draw a flower, leaf, sky with clouds, an ocean view with a sailboat, a landscape with mountains, a tropical fish, and Wally the Worm who is a familiar subject from Mr. Stebbing's previous art videos. Lesson 1 is about 32 minutes in length.
Lesson 2 introduces you to working with watercolor paints. In addition to the water jars listed above, you will need a set of basic watercolor paints, paper towels, brushes, and a Styrofoam plate to use as a palette. You will learn about painting wet on wet and wet on dry, blending colors and creating new colors to achieve the look you want. Mr. Stebbing will show you the correct way to hold a brush, proper brush strokes and how to correct drips and errors on your masterpiece. He will frequently show you both the right and the wrong way to do something which is a great way to learn. Lesson 2 is about 50 minutes in length.
Disc 2 contains the third and final lesson in the Beginning Watercolor Course. You will be
drawing and painting flowers, a seascape, a rustic barn, horizon lines and more. You will also begin learning to use different shaped brushes and how to mix colors on your palette. You will create a landscape and some abstract art with a variety of colors. Lesson 3 ends with a list of suggestions for additional subjects that you might paint and a 10 Question True of False Quiz about what you learned. Lesson 3 is about 80 minutes in length.
Beginning Painting Acrylics - 2 Discs
Each Disc of the Acrylics Course contains 4 lessons. Each of the lessons will range from 15 to 30 minutes in length with the exception of the final lesson on Disc 2 which is not really a lesson at all but an assignment to create a drawing on your own.
Instead of having the student draw a figure and then paint it, each of the lessons in the Acrylics Course uses a pre-drawn painting card which the student will use to paint along with Mr. Stebbing. These cards are available as a PDF download for $2.50. The drawings on the paint cards include a Dolphin, a Tropical Fish, a Horse, Sunflower, Monet's Bridge over a Lily Pond, a Tree, and an Apple. I think the paint cards are a great idea and add a bit of polish and fun to the painting process but if one is printing them out on normal printer paper, they aren't going to be cards at all. I don't think the paper will hold up well with the application of paint and water. Perhaps it would be better to make the images available for purchase on real cards instead.
Beginning Painting Oils - 2 Discs
Painting with oils can be messy and requires a greater degree of discipline than working with Watercolors or Acrylics. For that reason, it is recommended that the youngest student should be at least a mature 10 year old and preferably 12 years or older before working in Oils.
Each Disc in this course contains 3 lessons with Lesson 1 starting off with the different supplies you will need including the different kinds of brushes and the proper way you hold a brush to avoid smearing your work. You will learn about paper and Canvas Boards. Mr. Stebbing even demonstrates how to stretch a canvas on a board frame of any size. A staple gun is required for attaching the canvas to the frame. You will also learn how to select a good basic palette of paints that will serve you well with predictable results. Mr. Stebbing also spends some time talking about the care and cleaning of your brushes and the use of the 'mediums' of turpentine and poppy seed oil to thin out your paint or add a creamy texture.
In Lesson 1, Part 1 you will begin by painting some trees, leaves, a sky with clouds, an orange and a banana, a single leaf and a magnificent onion study. Each of these exercises will strengthen your brush strokes and teach you about the use of complimentary colors. Lesson, 1 Part 1 ends with a lesson on painting a wall of stones in varied colors, grains and textures. This lesson is about 67 minutes in length.
Lesson 2 on the Disc Menu is actually Lesson 1 Part 2 which begins with drawing a marvelous old twisted tree trunk in a landscape of textured soi and, trees of varying colors. This is not a long lesson at only 35 minutes but you will learn a lot and the old tree trunk with all the textures is a lot of fun to draw and paint.
In Lesson 3, you will be working on a Still Life. Mr. Stebbing's advice is to keep it simple. Even though there are many subjects that you would like to draw, you need to be realistic in your current abilities. You will learn how to set up your composition and create the proper balance with use of color so no single element will overpower the painting as a whole. This lesson is around 40 minutes in length.
In the final 3 lessons on Disc 2 you will copy the Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies by Claude Monet in Lesson 4. Find more subjects for your paintings by copying other pictures, studies from real life and from your own imagination. This lesson is about 44 minutes long.
In Lesson 5 Mr. Stebbing gives another fascinating demonstration on Toning a Canvas. He shows us how to "Rough Tone" and "Smooth Tone" a canvas with a light tone of color to enhance your painting. You will also learn how to use a palette knife. Mr. Stebbing also demonstrates the ease of using a French Easel. In this lesson you will be painting a violet and blue toned Iris with stem and leaves on a Rough Toned background of golden yellow. You will be doing the entire exercise with your paintbrush. About 35 minutes.
The final lesson is a beautiful landscape with a snow covered mountain in the background. When the painting is complete, Mr. Stebbing will teach you the most important step of all, how to sign your name on your work. Lesson 6 is about 35 minutes long.
Over the last couple of years, I've had the pleasure of reviewing several titles from How Great Thou Art Publications and have enjoyed them all but Beginning Painting with Barry Stebbing is the best of the lot. The presentation is smooth and polished with subjects that will appeal to a broad base of students from children to adults. All the lessons were interesting, informative, and entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the Beginning Painting Oils Course which contained a lot of interesting information that I found fascinating. Beginning Painting with Barry Stebbing is available from How Great Thou Art Publications online for $39.95. It is also available in a Beginning Painting Boxed Set from How Great Thou Art for about $62 which includes:
- The Beginning Painting DVDs 6 DVD set
- 4 tubes of Acrylic paint in Red, Yellow, Blue and White 2 oz. ea.
- A set of 8 water soluble markers
- A set of 4 round brushes, Sizes #1, #3, #5, and #9
- A set of 8 semi-moist watercolor paints
- 10 sheets of Watercolor paper and a set of 8 Paint Cards
The set is also available from Christian Book Distributors for $56.99 and includes all the supplies you need except for the oil paints.
The Discovery Kids 3-in-1 TableTop Easel
The Discovery Kids TableTop Easel would make a great companion gift to go along with this DVD set. It includes a dry erase whiteboard, a chalkboard, a large roll of paper, and an easel all in one! Your child will have plenty of room to create a masterpiece in chalk on the blackboard side of the easel. There is a ledge on the bottom of the blackboard to hold pieces of chalk and an eraser. The other side of the easel offers a whiteboard with a ledge for markers and plenty of space to draw with dry markers which are not included.
The TableTop Easel is solidly constructed with a wood frame that provides a sturdy work surface when used on a table, countertop, or even the floor. It can neatly fold away when not needed.
The included roll of drawing paper fits neatly on a dowel between the chalk board and the dry board. Just unroll paper over one of the boards and use the Grip Clip to secure it in place. Draw on the paper with crayons, colored pencils, markers, paints or pastels. Write or draw on the white, dry eraser board with dry markers only. Dry markers are not included. No matter which medium they choose for drawing, your young artist will feel quite professional with a real easel to paint on, just like Mr. Stebbing.
Accessory Kit includes
- 4 pieces of Chalk (red, blue, green, and yellow)
- Dry Eraser
- 49 foot roll of paper
- Grip Clip for holding the paper in place on the board.
You will definitely want to get some more chalk. The 4 pieces that come with the easel won't last an artistic kid very long. A set of basic dry markers would probably be a good idea too. The TableTop Easel is not recommended for Children under the age of 3.
The Discovery Kids 3-in-1 TableTop Easel is available at Boscovs Online for about $20.