A former Havant & South Downs College Art student who has followed her path to becoming a professional painter returned to the College to share her skills in an oil painting masterclass.

Claudia Cole came to the College in 2010 where she studied A Levels in Art, English Literature and Language and Philosophy. After leaving the College, Claudia completed an Art degree at the University of the Arts London (UAL).

Speaking about her experience, Claudia said: “I really enjoyed my time at UAL and learned a lot about myself and my painting. I stayed in London after my degree working and painting but then I moved back to my home city of Chichester for a more relaxed environment.”

Claudia has recently decided to pursue a career in teaching, where she can share her talent with the next generation of students. She added: “I am planning on beginning a PGCE at the University of Portsmouth, so I have been coming to Havant & South Downs College to hold workshops for some students to get some experience and start my journey into teaching.

“I would like to teach at College level because there are still a lot of struggles young adults have to go through at that age, and I want to help where I can – I believe art is a really good outlet for that.”

Reflecting on the beginning of her journey at HSDC, Claudia explained how the College helped to develop her passion into fine-tuned skills.

She said: “My time at Havant & South Downs College has helped me with my career now mainly with the technical side of working – I started College when I first started to paint, and now I would say I am a painter. The lecturers here pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me try something new with my work which really set me up for where I am now.

“My highlights were definitely the social aspects of the College, I made loads of new friends who were likeminded and interested in the same things as me. Another highlight was my time spent in the Art Department.”

Claudia has been helping current Art students with their oil painting skills through a series of masterclasses.

Speaking about the workshops, Claudia said: “In the masterclasses I have presented a brief overview of my work as well as the materials and processes I use. I then spoke about oil paints themselves – they’re an amazing material so I explained how you use them as well as traditional techniques.

“They have been doing some still life paintings in monotone and building up tone. It was good to see what they made of them, some people love oil paints and some people hate them, so it was a good chance for the students to try them out.

“The students’ work has been really good - they have just got on with it which has been impressive. It’s been a really nice environment with everyone together working on their art.”

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