When artist Marcia Buckley throws open the doors of her home for the next two weekends as part of Coastal Currents she’ll be showcasing not just her own work but the work of a dozen of her students – and she’ll be brimming with pride at what she and all of her students have achieved.
The artists who will be exhibiting – and offering their works for sale – range in age from 13 to 89 and all attend one of the seven art classes that Marcia runs every week from her Creative Art Academy in her home in St Leonards.
She has ben an artist all her life and art is in her DNA; parents and grandparents on both sides of her family were artists too. Marcia began her career in her native US where she trained as a medical illustrator and reminds me, that was in the days before computers when all illustrations were drawn by hand.
Teaching though is what she loves doing and when she moved to the UK in 1996 she taught in schools for a few years before taking the plunge and branching out to do her own thing.
Her classes started in a small way with just two children at the kitchen table. The next month two others asked if they could join too and that’s the way her classes grew. Soon she had too many students to sit round the kitchen table and set up a studio in her home. Then adults started asking if she could teach them too. At her peak Marcia says there were more than 100 people coming to her home each week for art classes and even though she’s tried to slow things down a little she says she still feels she is as busy as ever.
“People come to my classes because they want to learn and they want to be here. I always encourage people to relax, to play around with colour and try things, we learn all the time, I’m still learning. I picked up a whole new idea just the other day working on a painting that I started about 20 years ago,” Marcia says.
Those who attend her classes support each other, they might paint in very different styles but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn from each other or take inspiration from what each other is doing.
Marcia loves to paint alongside her students when she can and enjoys helping them overcome difficulties they might be having in achieving all they want to with a particular piece of work.
She is proud too of the journey of discovery that some of her students go on. One of the artists who will be exhibiting next weekend tried to draw but told Marcia in frustration one day that even after taking classes drawing was too much for her and she couldn’t do it. But she still loved art and working with colour so that’s now what she does, she experiments with use of colour to create striking canvases that make the viewer stop and think.
If you want to see what Marcia and her students achieve you can go along to view the work next weekend (August 31st and September 1st) and the following weekend (September 7th and 8th) from 11am until 6pm as part of Coastal Currents