Art teacher, Bethany Milam from Basingstoke, can still remember the first time she was praised for her art work.
“It was during junior school and I had done two paintings, one was of a St Lucian parrot, and the other was a copy of Monet’s Water Lillies and Japanese Bridge,” said the 30 year old. “This was the first time my artwork had been recognised as being good and it was a huge confidence boost. The memory stands out to me as I did not enjoy school as a whole.”
Bethany is dyslexic and found creative and visual subjects at school to be an escape. “It was an oasis in what was a difficult environment,” she said.
After finishing school Bethany went on to complete her PGCE and started teaching adult education art courses.
Many of her students are complete beginners and blossom due to her calm teaching techniques.
Suzanne Parker attends Bethany’s weekly art class at the Kingsclere Village Club.
“I hadn’t done any art since I was at school,” said Suzanne, who has been coming to the classes for two years. “I was a complete novice and now my favourite mediums are acrylic and charcoal.”
Fellow art class student, Rowena Hensman, had done some art classes in the past but felt she needed a bit of a push. “I like painting watercolours but Bethany is great at making us try other things. I was so pleased with an abstract painting that I did I had it framed.”
Christopher Masterman, who’s been attending the Kingsclere classses for five years says he couldn’t even draw a stick man when he started. “I really like drawing in charcoal now.” Christopher has got to such a standard that he now sells his paintings in a local market.
Teaching is something that Bethany really enjoys. “As a child I never would have imagined myself as a teacher but I love teaching and sharing my passion for art and all things creative. There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment at seeing my students’ progress as they gain new skills. Plus it keeps me exploring and learning new things to pass on to my students.”
From September Bethany will also be teaching an evening art class. Both the daytime and evening classes are suitable for beginners and intermediates. “We will explore different media and techniques, working at the students own pace,” said Bethany.
“Students need only bring drawing pencils and cartridge paper or a sketchbook, eraser and pencil sharpener to the first session.”
September will be a busy month for Bethany, not only does she start her new evening art class in Kingsclere, but she has a solo exhibition at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke from September 23 for a month.
“I have a strong belief in the importance of art and arts education for all and am keen to pass on this enthusiasm,” said Bethany.