Art Lessons by Shelley Capovilla

Eli's wonderful pic, 9 yrs old


Michael's pic, 8 yrs old



Matthew's watercolor - 12 years old


Matt's Sunflowers 7 yrs old


Samantba 12

Betty Jo, 94






Megan. 16

Sanjana Soni, 15

My Philosophy

I truly enjoy teaching and am considered a talented teacher ( I have several references I can give you).  The advantage of having a private tutor is the one-on-one attention.  Nothing falls through the cracks.

I don't have that many solid rules when it comes to art.  Rules are used to give you a reliable result.  If you don't want that result then sometimes you've got to throw away the rule book....BUT you need to know the rules you're choosing to discard and why you're going away from the tested and, you get to do your own thing, but you've got to learn the standard way to accomplish your task also.

The one ABSOLUTE:  The art is for you.  You must create for yourself. What you're learning is to expand and hone your own natural style, not to change into a different artist. That's what you're hiring me to your own abilities.  If you can distinguish one face from another, tell red from green and dark from light, and if you can write your name, you've already mastered the hardest parts!  Now I teach you how to apply what you already know.

PLEASE NOTE:  I am a self-taught artist, therefore, I will teach you the way I learned.  You're not getting a "textbook" education.   If you choose to study with me, expect to have to draw things upside down and write your name backwards. You'll learn that when it comes to paint, your easiest tool is often your own finger and that paper towels create a great background texture,  that reflections come straight down while shadows are opposite your lightsource, and that Monet had cateracts and his palette changed once he had his cateracts removed.


Internet lessons are fun. I send you an email with warm-up exercises, one fun lesson, one serious lesson.  You send a photo or scan of your drawing/painting/etching/etc.  I give you a critique and pointers, you call or email back asking me to go more indepth or asking for  guidance to step up the work or challenging my critique.  And so it goes..........back and forth.  I give you sites to check out.

 These are individual lessons, not a referral to a book with no one to actually help you achieve your goals.   This is not cookie-cutter art, but individualized lessons...and you can do them in your PJ's


Painting party for the Jr League of Palo Alto


Megan's self portrait, 16



Jida won a county art contest with this painting, 8 yrs old



Kessa, 5 yrs old


5 -7 YEAR OLDS   

When it comes to younger kids, joy is the key.  Children should be able to experience the joy of creativity.  They should be exposed to the wonder of experimentation and the smiles their work brings to those who love them.   

Art is different from academics.  Academics require a linear thought pattern.  A leads to B which gives you C. Art requires a different form of concentration and learning. I  teach children to relax and be self-directed and to allow themselves to not be perfect and that mistakes are opportunities to re-create.  At this age art should be fun and perfection should not be the key.  As a teacher, I strive to teach my students to let loose, not to judge another's work harshly but to learn  from it, and to have fun creating.

I work with these children to discover their own style, to discover their own talent and abilities.

8 - 10 YEAR OLDS

Now is the time to teach composition and technique. The older children get, the more the concentration becomes on form and layout. I train students to see with their eyes, not their minds and create with their minds and not only their eyes.   Projects should be more in depth, with a longer development time. Having the student study different styles and how they apply to them, experiment and to continue to develop their own style are important at this age.  

Sometimes, the children's work doesn't look as good to the casual viewer at this age as it did two years prior.  The reason for this is the student is now doing their own design, developing their own color sense and choosing their own subjects.  They are at a crucial learning stage and need the guidance of a more experienced artist.  


12 Year Old to Adult

Students in the middle school range tend to know what they want to create and have a vision. I am their guide to achieve their vision. I teach technique, introduce shortcuts and guide them to achieve a certain look. And I let them make their mistakes. They are extremely self-critical and sometimes need a gentle nudge in the right direction  instead of a solid push.  The best way to learn is to not be afraid to make mistakes. Paint is just paint. If you screw up, you just paint over it...or you incorporate the blob:) in your "new" design

Students need to start projecting more, and planning their end product.  It is important to train their eyes to truly see things.  Now is when I work on vanishing point, structure, and as always, composition.



Adults are usually specific in what they want to learn.  Often adults want to learn how to draw bodies and perspective.  So, we break down the measurements of the body: i.e., the face is based in the width of the eye.  The body is broken into the length of the knee to the floor...etc.


I've taught egg carving, drawing, all mediums of painting except goache, beading, calligraphy, one-stroke painting, candlemaking, computer graphics and digital manipulation, scratchboard, sculpture and ceramics.  Guess you could say I've covered the spectrum......... And if I haven't taught it,  then I'm eager to learn the material and pass it on.


     Kim's 1st painting, 40ish



Abby, 97

Arts and crafts instruction

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