Art Workshops and Art Classes

Neilson with paint brushes

Heather Neilson 
Abstract Artist & Art Educator

email: heatherneilsonart@gmail.com
cell: 1-860-794-8676

Heather has been teaching art classes for seven years in her studio at Whiting Mils in Winsted, CT and around the region including Washington Arts Association, West Hartford Art League, Farmington Valley Arts Center and Arts Center East. Her approach is warm and she encourages and fosters creating from an intuitive, free and expressive place. She teaches primarily with acrylics and is a GOLDEN Arts Educator and Silver Brush Educator, bringing high quality products for her students to use. She teaches principles of good composition, color, line and texture. Students feel free to explore with gentle and encouraging guidance from Heather.

Read Heather’s full biography and artist statement

Heather offers the following classes:

  1. Abstract Painting
  2. Art Journaling
  3. Monoprinting (gelli plates) from Nature
  4. Abstract Landscape
  5. Abstract Collage & Mixed Media

Descriptions and pictures of classes follow. All can be tailored to suit the class dynamic and other logistics.

Abstract Expressive Painting

Length – 4, 6, 8 or 10 weeks, online or in-person

Course Description: Students develop abstract paintings using acrylic paints, mark-making and a variety of other tools. Through a series of exercises, participants learn how to loosen up and paint more expressively. Play with color, line, texture and composition. Experience the freedom and joy that comes from trusting your instincts and taming the inner critic in a warm and non judgmental setting. develop abstract painting skills and confidence using acrylic paints, mark-making and a variety of other tools. Through a series of fun exercises using high quality mixed media paper, you will learn to loosen up and paint more expressively. Play with color, line, texture and composition. These exercises will build your understanding of how to start, build and finish an abstract painting on canvas or panel. Experience the freedom and joy that comes from trusting your instincts and taming the inner critic in a warm and non -judgmental setting. Tap your unique style and bring your full human experience to the canvas.

Art Journaling

Length – 1 day workshop, 4, 6, 8 or 10 week class, in person or online

Course Description: In this art journaling class, you will tap your unique creative expression to build beautiful journal spreads. Each week will be inspired by meaningful themes that we will explore through meditation, poetry or readings, writing, mark making, paint, collage, and more. We will decorate our covers with handmade papers to bring a more personal touch to your journal. You will learn how a visual diary can be a beautiful ongoing practice for honoring your creativity. This is a deeply satisfying process that has endless variations and means to grow personally. It also teaches techniques to bring into your regular art practice.

Monoprinting Workshop

Length – 1 -2 day workshop, in-person

In this art workshop, you will create beautiful nature inspired prints using a Gelli plate, brayer, paper, acrylic paint and materials from nature including leaves, stems and more. This is a fun and easy class with plenty of room for improvisation and trying new methods. The best part is that everyone’s results will be different by experimenting with color combinations and a variety of plant materials. After some practice, you will create several cards that you can later mail to special people in your life. You will also leave with many interesting papers that can be used later for collage or as distinct works of art to be framed or adhered to panel.

Abstract Landscape

Length – 1 day workshop, online or in-person

Course Description: Participants earn how to build stunning abstract landscape paintings on paper using acrylic paint (GOLDEN paints), mediums, layering techniques, mark making and various tools.

Abstract Collage & Mixed Media

Length: 2 day workshop or 6 week series, in-person

Course Description: Heather will guide you in making mixed media creations that reflect your unique visual perspective. The first day you will make personal, hand-made collage papers using a variety of tools to stain, paint and make patterns. We will explore and discuss ideas for how to build your pieces. On the second day, you will use your papers, paint and an assortment of mediums and objects to create unique and interesting pieces. The possibilities are endless! It is a great opportunity to bring your own stash of ephemera or objects to include though Heather will have more than enough material and objects for you to use. Heather’s approach to mixed media is intuitive, creative, freeing and expressive. No experience is necessary, just a willingness to explore!

Student work:

What people are saying……

“I have been studying art and taking classes for 10 years.  I have to say you are one of the shining lights among the host of art instructors I have had.  Each lesson was well planned and the demonstrations were well-explained and easy to follow.  You have a wonderful, pleasant demeanor that let me explore and take chances in my art.  You were encouraging but not stifling or overpowering.  I feel my work has grown and I aim to continue along the lines you taught.  I will be planning to join one of your classes in the near future.” – Bill (March 2021)

“I have taken multiple workshops with Heather, and she is a wonderful teacher, who combines her expertise and skills along with guidance and encouragement. She stresses that you can’t do art “wrong,” which makes her classes so approachable for hobbyists like myself, or perfectionists, also like myself. I recently did my first online workshop with Heather, and all the knowledge and support she shares in person came through seamlessly online as well. Thank you Heather, I can’t wait to take more classes with you!” – Martha (March 2021)

“I have taken two classes with Heather and she is the most professional art teacher I have had. Heather lets you know what to expect and then follows through with professional and kind guidance and instruction. Heather’s live online classes are seamless, and you feel as if you are in the same room with her. I have learned so much from Heather about composition, materials…and more importantly about letting my intuition rule my artwork! Thank you Heather!” – Tia (March 2021)

“Excellent teacher! I took a ten week Zoom class with Heather and would highly recommend any class she was teaching.  Her subject and background knowledge of the class she taught was extraordinary. She introduced us to a wide variety of techniques and mediums and guided us through using them in a very professional, yet personal and non-judgmental way.  I throughly enjoyed this class and it provided me with new ways of approaching and looking at my work.” – Jane (March 2021)

“I’ve never taken an art class, as an adult, until I took Heathers class. I was nervous, but she was reassuring and made it fun. There were other great people there too. I highly recommend it to anyone.”

“Heather …offers a supportive, non-judgemental space to create art and make new friends! I highly recommend and endorse her method of teaching and gentle guidance to bring out the best work in each participant. ♥️”

“I have taken art journaling classes with Heather Neilson and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Heather teaches many aspects of creating a mixed media art journal including image transfer, collage, writing from personal experience and experimenting with ink, color and graphite. Heather is an enthusiastic teacher who has many ideas to share and creates a warm and supportive learning experience.”

“Heather is an amazing instructor. She makes you feel calm and positive about your efforts. She is very helpful and full of ideas. I will definitely take more classes with her!”

“Heather gave us some valuable exercises to explore, then an opportunity to use them freely on canvas. I learned something, materials were provided, a great deal for the price – plus her work is inspiring!”

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