Aaron Jacob Jones, United Kingdom

Uma’s course gave me so much more confidence to use watercolour in a more free and expressive way, on larger scale pieces that I’ve ever worked on before. Direct watercolour isn’t easy, and Uma’s guidance helps so much, starting with wet in wet colour and tonal exercises painting simple subjects, through to gradually more complex landscapes with a time limit to stop them getting too fiddly. The pace and intensity of the curriculum is a great blend of tuition and self study, with exercises that really stretch you and allow you to experiment and push yourself to try new things with just the amount of risk. Uma’s tuition is just the right level of challenge for each individual artist – she pushes each person to work on their weaknesses and push their strengths. With the zoom format allowing her to watch everybody at the same time, Uma drops in personalised guidance at just the right time for each person. The moment one of us would be in danger of overworking a piece, Uma would swoop in every time with a loud “stop!” which definitely saved at least two of what are now my favourite pieces. Some tutors are only encouraging in a positive way which has never helped me grow as an artist. Uma isn’t afraid to push you hard and give honest critique, as well as pointing out what works and how to improve on your next attempt. She’s a fantastic teacher and I’ve already booked a spot on her next course. Thank you Uma!

Linda Lee, Kansas

Uma’s class was the immersion that I yearned for and had not found with any other instructor.  Despite its challenges (which were unique and I loved), her sense of how to respond to me and guide me to make my own decisions based on the groundwork that she prepared was so intuitive. She managed this with every single student – not an easy feat. By the end of the class, what started out as a bit intimating, was free and comfortable and truly a special experience. I loved the interaction with other students, just enough without any pressure. I came away from the class with renewed energy to pursue this painting dream of mine, and I can’t wait to take another class with the hardest working artist/teacher I have ever met. 

Leslie Riley, Chicago 

I just finished the month-long compose 2022 workshop taught by Uma Kelkar and I am excited about the possibilities for my art. I was challenged with demanding and rewarding activities that addressed my weaknesses and fortified my strengths in an environment where I was seen and safe. I learned loads, and I am left with much to ponder. The exposure to the other artists and their art is stimulating and inspiring. Uma creates a safe environment that fosters an open dialogue for all involved. I learned as much from the questions and comments made to each student and their responses. Uma was able to address the specific needs of each student as their needs became apparent. Seeing how other artists solved the same challenges was inspiring and encouraged new ways of seeing how to solve a creative problem. It will take me months to digest the work that we started in the class. It will inform my choices in the future and it will continue to provide a guide to exercises to support future objectives and a way to vary the exercises according to what I see is needed in my work.

Jane Hannah, Canada

Uma Kelkar’s MasterClass 2022 was an amazing class. I have followed many workshops in my life, and this class was “the one” that I needed to take, as it is totally different from anything that I have taken before. It gave me the permission to make mistakes and not feel downtrodden and made me grow as a painter. Uma was great at analyzing our paintings and helped us find ways to improve them.

She taught us by demonstrating how to solve a problem, gave us theoretical concepts that we applied with exercises, practical warm-ups and analyzing other works of art. We were encouraged to share our thoughts and work with a mentor to help each other. She has an amazing rhythm in her class where you don’t really have the time to overthink… which helped me enormously and I will try to keep that pace up as it works for me.

But most of all, what touched me the most was this very deep, personal way of teaching that goes beyond any textbook. It comes from her heart and mind and skill, and she has become a mentor for me. Thank you Uma!

Ee Sock, Singapore

Most of us go into Uma’s class wanting to paint like Uma. We are attracted by the grace and effortlessness she exhibits. No inhibitions whatsoever. However, do not be deceived. We often want only the showreels of other people’s success and forget the BTS that goes behind every successful artist. Hours and hours of hard work. That’s what you will get from Uma. No kidding, if you are not ready to put in the hours to test things out, you will benefit very little. What Uma has generously offered me in this workshop is sharing and walking me through her thought processes. How she processes the way to learn and how she derives and come to develop her style. Every exercise is cleverly designed to give me the extra tug out of the mud (or sometimes quick sand) when I get stuck in my painting. She designed the exercises to challenge us out of our comfort zone. Beyond that, she has also always graciously acknowledged and addressed every student’s unique preference and aesthetic sensibility. This is NOT A COME AND PAINT like me workshop. Instead this is a come and let’s see how we can approach watercolour with bright eyed curiosity and unwavering discipline. Both get to exist at the same time. I deeply enjoyed Uma’s forthcoming personality and commentaries, wittiness in crafting fond and enjoyable exercises, and deep reverence for the people she chooses to work with in this class. If you are open and tencious, you will be deeply held in Uma’s class. I recommend COMPOSE for painters who are open to exploring ways of perceiving colours, composition, emotions and painting loosely. This class is for you!

Janet Platin, Santa Cruz

This  is a great class for the water color student/artist who wants to take the next step in their practice. So much valuable information and exercises designed to get the information across. The class is thoughtful and engaging and best of all you come away with so many new avenues to explore. Lots of work to be sure and so worth it.