FAQs

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Beginner’s School

Why was the Beginner’s School started?

Who helped create the Beginner’s School?

How do I decide which course to start with?

Why are there three painting courses to choose from?

What is a studio and do I need one?

What art materials should I buy? And where from?

I notice there’s a My Locker tab–what’s this for?

I see this Font Resizer on the right side of the screen. What’s this about?

Why is there a License Information box if the Beginner’s School is free for me to use?

I see an orange “Translate” button on the lower right side of the home page. What’s this about?

 

Submissions To The Beginner’s School

Why would students submit selected photos of their work?

How do I submit a photo?

Why does it say on various forms that this website is not for anyone under the age of 13?

How do you decide what photos will be included as examples of student work?

What if I have comments about a Beginner’s School course to share?

 

Using the Student Resource Center (SRC)

What is the Student Resource Center and why did Renewing the Renaissance® (RTR) develop it?

How can new students use the SRC?

How do I search for a specific topic?

How do I narrow my search by using multiple subjects (‘tags’)?

Why are there also articles on nutrition and exercise?

How do I submit my tips or techniques to the SRC?

How do you decide what’s included in the SRC?

How do I find out if my tip or technique has been included in the SRC?

Will I receive any compensation if my article is accepted?

Can I submit a tip to SRC even if I didn’t create it?

What can I do if I think a tip or technique is being used in the SRC without permission?

What if I think an article in the SRC could be improved?

 

Supporting the Beginner’s School

I want to help the Beginner’s School by giving some of my available time! Is this possible?

I know there must be costs involved in maintaining the Beginner’s School. How can I help if I can afford to do so?

 

Renewing the Renaissance

What is Renewing the Renaissance®?

How does Renewing the Renaissance® ‘give back’?

 

Beginner’s School

 

Why was the Beginner’s School started?

The Founder of Renewing the Renaissance® (RTR), Phil Shemanski, was interested in learning about making art but found that while there was a wealth of information on the internet, none of the instruction was geared towards the true beginner—the person considering art for the very first time. Art instruction online assumed a basic knowledge of art. Phil decided to create a website for the very beginning art student that would be available and free to any person with internet access worldwide.

We believe—and studies support—that practicing some form of art increases creativity, helps combat cognitive decline in the senior age group, and improves test scores in students. Thinking creatively is also essential to solving future world challenges that require “outside-the-box” approaches and many businesses look for this type of problem solving ability in their employees. Learning an art form is also a great way to connect with others who share a mutual interest, such as a child or grandchild.

Independent art classes can be expensive and intimidating for beginners. Those who have difficulty with transportation or mobility may find it hard to get to classes. Having an art school online allows students to learn at their own pace from the privacy and comfort of their own home. Funding for public arts education has declined recently, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of creative learning on all sorts of people:

“…that learning in the arts may be uniquely able to boost learning and achievement for young children, students from economically disadvantaged circumstances, and students needing remedial education.” —Critical Links, Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, 2002
“…students who participate in the arts outperform their peers on virtually every level.”–Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, 1999
“…children motivated in the arts develop attention skills and memory retrieval that also apply to other subject areas”–Learning, Arts, and the Brain, 2008
“…seniors who participate in art programs have better health, fewer doctor visits, less medication usage, and more involvement in overall activities…”–The Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults, 2006

Even if you’re not a school kid wanting to improve your skills or a senior looking to maintain cognitive functioning, learning an art form is an exciting and rewarding pastime that will benefit all areas of your life!

Who helped create the Beginner’s School?

To learn more about our awesome team of creative people, check out our Acknowledgements page.

How do I decide which course to start with?

Many artists will tell you learning how to draw is a very important base skill, so you can’t go wrong starting with the drawing course.  Those who prefer working with their hands in 3-dimensions may want to try our sculpting course next. We think most students will tend to select a painting course, if they have a workable studio space to paint in and are able to buy the recommended supplies. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out our post Choosing Your First Course.

 

Why are there three painting courses to choose from—acrylic, oil or watercolor?

Although it may seem like painting is just painting, the different painting media (or types of paint) have very distinct working properties. Choosing which paint is best for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your budget and available studio space.

We think most students will tend to select a painting course, if they have a workable studio space to paint in and are able to buy the recommended supplies. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out our Choosing Your First Course.

 

Each painting course is designed to teach the student about painting in general (color theory, technique, composition, etc.) as well as how to work specifically with the selected type of paint.

 

What is a studio, and do I need one?

A studio is a place where an artist works, much like an office for a business person. For beginning students, a work space area is fine! Preferably, it’s a place with internet access, free from the disturbances of others. Depending on the course you choose, you may not need a work space. For example, if you choose painting and plan on painting en plein air, your work space can be the great outdoors! Check out our Setting Up Your Studio lessons for each course for much more information about work spaces as well as our plein air lessons for information on painting outside.

 

Where should I buy art materials if I am just starting out? And what should I buy?

We want our students to be able to easily acquire their art supplies, particularly the supplies on our course recommendation lists. We also understand certain countries may prohibit the shipment of certain art supplies across borders. We want to come up with a list of art suppliers by country in the next 12 months that our students will be able to use. Until then, there are a lot of places you can go to buy great art supplies. Find your nearest art supply store and utilize the knowledge of the people working there if you need help to find or figure out what you need. Before you go, print out our course recommendation list for the appropriate course (drawing, acrylic, oil, watercolor, or sculpture). If there aren’t any art supply stores near you or you have trouble getting to one, you can always order art supplies online from a variety of art supply retailers.

In the United States, DickBlick.com and Jerrysartarama.com have great prices and supplies for every level of artist, so be sure to check what’s available. Before you do your shopping, have a scavenger hunt for some supplies you may already have! Read through the Supplies and What Do I Need to Buy lesson for your selected course to find out more.

 

I notice there is a My Locker tab—what’s this for?

The My Locker tab is the one place to conveniently find all the documents, worksheets and forms used here at the Beginner’s School. Select what you want to look at from the dropdown menu list.

 

I see this Font Resizer on the right side of the screen. What’s this about?

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 10.54.05 AM
Many seniors need larger text to see the words clearly, so we’ve added this font resizer that allows the student to change the size of the text. Click on the large A on the right, and the text size will increase. One can actually click on the large 4 or 5 times, and the text will continue to increase in size. One knows one is at the largest size when the A itself no longer increases in size when clicked on. In our experience, the text will even remain at the selected size when one comes back to the School!

 

By clicking the middle A, the text returns to its original size. We think the small A will be not used much—for nearsighted folks to reduce the print size perhaps?

 

 

There is a License Information box on the right side of the home page. I’m confused as I heard the Beginner’s School would be free for me to use?

The use of the Beginner’s School is free for all individuals.

For groups of 50 or more (‘organization(s)’), there is a $1 per person per year licensing charge (15 cent fee per user in low or lower middle income countries as designated by the World Bank at bottom here : http://data.worldbank.org/?locations=XM-XN), to provide financial support towards maintaining the website and to recognize the benefits of bringing art into larger organizations. The ‘per year’ will be based on the financial year-end of the organization, with the fee pro-rated for the first year. The organization’s users subject to the $1 (or 15 cents) per user license fee can be located anywhere in the world.

 

I see an orange “Translate” button on the lower right side of the home page. What’s this about?

Google has developed an amazing feature that translates the text on the Beginner’s School site into one of  90+ languages. Click on the Translate button and a series of flags will appear in several rows. A different language appears when you hover your mouse over each flag. The languages are organized alphabetically from left to right.  Choose a language by clicking on one of the flags shown and the website text will be translated.

The list of languages is found here:

https://translate.google.com/about/intl/en_ALL/languages.html

Use the Translate button and choose to read the Beginner’s School in your language of choice. You can return to the original site language (English) by clicking on the ‘Show original’ box that appears in the upper left corner when the website is translated. Understand that there may be an imperfect translation of American English expressions in the text of the Beginner’s School. If you’re confused about a certain word or phrase, you can use Google Translate to change the word or expression into your native language.

The videos are all currently in English.

 

Submissions to the Beginner’s School

Why would students submit selected photos of their work?

In each course lesson, we have one or more exercises. For those exercises involving drawing, painting, or sculpting, we want to share some examples of what Beginner’s School students have done so that new students can see and learn from the experience of their peers. We also want to hear your feedback on the lesson and see how you’re progressing! Making art is a unique and fun experience that’s better when shared. Photo submissions also may be one of your tasks for being a successful student. 

How do I submit a photo?

Simply click on the Coursework Submission Form box on the right side of the Home Page then complete the Coursework Submission Form that appears. Select the correct course and lesson for the photo you are submitting and include your name and e-mail address. Be sure to include in the comment box the number of the exercise and any comments you’d like to share with us or your fellow students! Attach a clear photo of your work.

To encourage beginner students to submit photos of their exercise work, students sending a submission will also automatically be entered into our monthly free gift card drawing for art supplies where it is permitted by local law.

A small favor to ask to help us minimize our administrative time: if you comment in your local language, please use Google Translate to convert your comment to English, then copy and paste the English comment into the comment box. Here’s the link to the page that makes this process pretty easy:

https://translate.google.com/?hl=en

To use this Google feature, type your comments in the box on the left, choose the language you typed your comment in (Spanish, French or click on down arrow to the right of ‘Detect language’) then choose English as language in the right box. The English translation will appear in the box on the right for you to copy. you can copy the phrase by clicking on the “dual papers” symbol under the English translation:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.18.48 AM

Then paste (control V if on a PC, command V if on a MAC) into our comment box.

 

Why does it say on various forms that this website is not for anyone under the age of 13?

As a result of the requirements found in the Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), we can only accept photos and comments from those students 13 years old or older. Here’s a link to a discussion of COPPA and its detailed rules : https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/childrens-online-privacy-protection-rule-six-step-compliance.

Also take a look at Common Sense Media’s website and their extensive information on privacy and internet safety for children here : https://www.commonsensemedia.org/privacy-and-internet-safety. Now, if a parent wants to use the website’s information to teach their younger child, that’s fine!

How do you decide what photos will be included as examples of student work?

If we think it will add to a beginning student’s learning experience or help them with the exercise, we’ll include it!  Remember that you are eligible for the gift card drawing each month you submit, so don’t be shy! Understand that any photo submissions to the Beginner’s School are subject to our Terms of Service, so become familiar with these Terms before submitting your Exercise photos.

 

What if I have comments about a Beginner’s School course to share?

If you think a School course could be improved, let us know how! Use our Beginner’s School Contact Form and tell us how to improve the school. We will review all Beginner’s School comments and consider them in our updates to the courses. Submitters should be 13 years old or older to use the Contact Form.

 

Using the Student Resource Center (SRC)

What is the Student Resource Center and why did Renewing the Renaissance® (RTR) develop it?

We know how difficult it can be for students and even experienced artists to find the right art information quickly online. We end up wasting precious time looking for information when we could have been creating. At the Beginner’s School SRC, we strive to compile only the best and most useful tutorials, tips, videos, and techniques all in one place.  With everything in one easy-to-search place, our hope is that we’ll be saving you a lot of time by not having to evaluate the results of an endless Google search list.

We decided to open the SRC to everyone with the hope that artists worldwide will share their own tips and techniques with our beginning art students. Shared knowledge is critical to the SRC and to recreating the collaborative spirit of the ateliers of the Renaissance. We expect the SRC to grow as artists worldwide submit their ideas using our Contact Form.

 

How can new students use the SRC?

The SRC can be a great source of further explanation if a beginning student wants more information on a specific topic.

For students who have just completed their Beginner’s School course, looking through the articles in their area of interest (drawing, painting, sculpture) is a great way to figure out their next step. Try out some techniques or paintings on your own—with video or text instruction from other artists. Keep on growing your new creative skill!

 

How do I search for a specific topic?

On the upper right hand side of the homepage, you will see a search bar. Type in what you’re searching for (e.g. “watercolor,” “linseed oil,” etc.) then press the red “search” button. Your search results will appear listed by relevance and date.

 

How do I narrow my search by using multiple subjects (‘tags’)?

You can search for a specific topic by inputting one or more tags. For example, if you want to learn how to paint a sailboat on water using oil, you could search “boat, water, oil paint.” Separate the tags/topics with commas and the results will appear listed by relevance and date added.

 

Why are there also articles on nutrition and exercise?

As students and artists, many of us tend to sit hunched over our work all day without taking proper breaks or eating appropriately. This section is to remind us all to take a breath once in a while and have a healthy snack (away from your work area, of course), exercise and get some blood flowing. By taking care of yourself, you will help your studies, increase your creativity, and live a healthier life so you keep on learning and creating!

 

How do I submit my tips or techniques to the SRC?

If you have a written tutorial, step-by-step guide, or a helpful video you’d like to share with other creative people, send it to us! Fill out our contact form by checking the appropriate box and describing your idea in the comment area. We will consider it for inclusion in the SRC.  Understand that any submissions to the Beginner’s School are subject to our Terms of Service, so become familiar with these Terms before submitting your tips or techniques.

 

How do you decide what’s included in the SRC?

Our staff reviews hundreds of articles to find only the best tips, tutorials, videos, and techniques for painting, sculpting, art basics, nutrition, exercise, artist block and current art culture. If we think it’s interesting and there are no copyright concerns, we’ll include it!  Don’t be disappointed if we don’t select your tip or technique—we may already have something similar to it. By submitting again you will be helping future artists of the world for all time.

 

How do I find out if my tip or technique has been included in the SRC?

Due to a large number of submissions we receive, we may not get back to you right away, so be patient. We will get back to you by e-mail as soon as we can.

 

<b>Will I receive any compensation if my article, tip or technique is accepted?

Unfortunately, we cannot compensate anyone for submitting articles, tips or techniques. Still, you get good karma points for helping us and future generations of artists!

 

Can I submit a tip to SRC even if I didn’t create it?

If you have the express permission of the author (or person who owns the article/tutorial/video/etc.) and submit that with the article, then yes, we will consider posting it to the SRC. If you don’t have permission, we can’t. But you can encourage the creator to submit it and leave their imprint on future artists of the world. As artists, we respect the copyright of other creator’s intellectual property just as we want ours respected too.

 

What can I do if I think a tip or technique is being used in the SRC without permission?

If you feel an article is infringing on copyright law, let us know. How to do that is described in our Terms of Service, link on the bottom of the Home Page. We’ll remove it right away if the submission is found to be infringing on copyright.

 

What if I think an article in the SRC could be improved?

If you think you have a better article, or an additional idea to overcome artist’s block, then submit it using the Contact Form! Make sure that you have the rights to post it (either gain permission from the author or better yet—write it yourself).

 

Supporting the Beginner’s School

I want to help the Beginner’s School by giving some of my available time! Is this possible?

If you’re interested in interning for us (i.e. volunteer for free) and renew the Renaissance, you can click on the Support Us button on the bottom of the homepage for details. Be prepared to submit a resume and cover letter indicating your areas of interest. Thanks for donating your time!

 

I know there must be costs involved in maintaining the Beginner’s School. How can I help if I can afford to do so?

If you’re interested in helping us monetarily to maintain the Beginner’s School, also use the Support Us button to do so. You can find how you can support us financially there and if your donation is tax deductible in the United States.

Thank you for supporting beginning art students worldwide!

 

Renewing the Renaissance

 

What is Renewing the Renaissance®?

Phil Shemanski is the founder and president of Renewing the Renaissance®. We began in 2010, and our team has grown to include more people who are passionate about art and helping differently-abled people. Ashleigh Norman, MFA in Painting, is our content manager and art advisor. Her sister Michelle had cerebral palsy and Ashleigh grew up around Michelle and her friends, the majority of whom were living with one form of disability or another. Their mother was a fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy in the 1970’s and 80’s and her strong view of disability not as dis-ability but different-ability has been passed on.

Our incredibly talented lead sculptor, Kent, has a son that has been diagnosed with autism and a wife who struggles with physical challenges due to an unfortunate mishap. Kent is one of very few artists we know who is able to make a living with his art and he’s always enthusiastic to share his knowledge with others.

Taking a cue from the patron-artist relationships that abounded in the era of the Renaissance, Phil’s aim is to be able to connect our wonderfully talented artists with patrons to allow them not only to be able to sell their work, but to make connections with people that show the artists they are supported and their work is meaningful. His dream with Renewing the Renaissance® is to create an effective model focused on challenged adults’ individual strengths and to provide mentorship, helping them to flourish creatively.

How does Renewing the Renaissance® ‘give back’?

We believe art is important and supporting artists with challenges is how we intend to give back at Renewing the Renaissance®. At RTR, we will work with artists with challenges such as high functioning autism, medical impediments, and executive functioning disorders.  All the details can be found on our website RenewingtheRenaissance.com, where you can purchase original fine art, reproductions, or even commission a personalized art piece.

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The Website is not directed at anyone who we know to be under the age of 13, nor do we collect any personal information from anyone who we know to be under the age of 13. If you are under the age of 13, you should not submit any personal information to us, so please do not use the Comment area, Submission form, or Contact Us form.

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