Oldham County Art Scene

Painter’s technique to be studied
in series of six-week classes

Charcoal drawings and
still-life drawings explored

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2011) – Beginning in January, local artist Mike Prather will be teaching adult oil painting classes and sharing his knowledge of the medium with participants at Gallery 104 in La Grange.

Mike Prather

Photo provided

Mike Prather’s graphic design business lets him stay creative while painting.

The classes are for beginners as well as more established artists. Classes will be held from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays and run through April. Three sessions will be taught, with each session running a six week period with a week off before another session begins.
Prather, 47, encourages participants to bring their own materials, since they will not be supplied by the gallery. A student art show will likely be held at some point, he said.
By taking this class, Prather said students will “learn that it’s not that hard to learn how to paint.”
He begins the class by teaching his own general-to-specific technique. First, Prather asks the students to do “a charcoal rendering, and employ lights, darks and shadows. Then I’ll have them do a monotone painting of the still life and add color.”
Prather has “always been able to paint. I went to college as an artist.” Prather attended Western University, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1985. He now owns his own graphic design and illustration business, PratherDesign, which he began in 1994. “The graphic design business allows me to stay creative in painting. They’re a good complement to one another.”
He said he prefers to paint in oil, as opposed to other medium. The work stays wet longer and can be altered up to the next day if needed, he said. The color palette is more brilliant as well.
Prather, who lives in Buckner, is now working on a series of Kentucky Derby winners and likes to paint portraits. He especially likes to teach others how to paint.
“I’m very good at teaching beginners how to paint because of the technique I teach,” he said. Prather has been a member of the Arts Association of Oldham County for four years.
Prather has been teaching both the adult and children’s oil painting class for some time at Gallery 104, said Kathy Dowling, executive director for the Arts Association of Oldham County and its Gallery 104. He has “a following of three to four regular students who take his adult painting class each session to continue to improve their skills.”
Dowling said that Prather “teaches some of the basics of drawing and painting including an emphasis on color, light and shadow.
He has gained notice with his mural projects which hang at the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Maryhurst, Churchill Downs Junior Jockey Club and the Kentucky Derby Museum Café.

• There is a fee for the oil painting class in addition to materials needed such as paint, canvas and brushes, among other supplies. Contact the Arts Association of Oldham County or Gallery 104 to register and get a complete list of supplies at (502) 222-3822 or email Kathy Dowling at execdir@aaooc.org.

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