The Little Art School was established by an artist and mother of four who noticed that there were sports, music and drama clubs galore, but that children who loved to draw and paint simply had to sit at their table at home and wait for inspiration to descend.
Founder Joanne Robinson believes passionately that art can be a taught skill. Her syllabus has been developed over many years as she has had 'penny drop' moments of understanding about how a picture is put together. "It's the syllabus I wish I'd followed" she comments. "We start with understanding shape, then move to tone and then colour theory, perspective and on in a logical way through every aspect of drawing and painting."
Joanne's background has influenced every aspect of the development of the Little Art School ethos. She followed an unconventional route to becoming an artist, studying History at Oxford University and then serving as an officer in the Royal Air Force, when she began to do a course called 'Drawing and Painting for those who think they can't'. "I really thought that you either were an artist or you weren't. It never occurred to me that you could actually 'learn' to draw and paint until I saw that course title." Years of reading every art book she could get her hands on and attending evening and day classes has given her an evangelical zeal about teaching art to children.
"My experience as a mother has shown me that children's exuberant and excited attitude to drawing and painting begins to diminish as they become more aware of the judgement of others and start to compare themselves to their peers. For this reason The Little Art School has at its heart an ethos of confidence building. Children are encouraged to talk about what aspects of their paintings they are pleased with and to praise the work of other class members. In a really short time I have seen their confidence blossom and with that confidence comes an incredible increase in their enjoyment of drawing and painting."