Tutors

Meet our team of dedicated and experienced tutors.  For your peace of mind, all our tutors are CRB checked and First Aid trained.


Lisa Banks

Lisa BanksWhat classes do you teach?
Life Drawing and Painting.

see Lisa’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I trained as a painter and art therapist, both to Masters level. I worked initially from life drawing and then moved into landscape. Some of my studio-based art explores and integrates aspects of both the figure and the landscape. Studying art through life drawing can be very stimulating and exciting and it has provided me with a great grounding in understanding the basics of art.
I enjoy using a variety of media and have been influenced by a range of styles and approaches – from cave painting to Constable, expressionism to Andy Goldsworthy. I am influenced too by work encountered at art shows and enjoy exhibiting my own work and having my own studio space.

Teaching experience
I have experience of teaching art workshops to both children and adults through artist residencies, adult education, Saturday schools and university lecturing.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I like the fact that Courtyard Arts is a community-based arts centre with a role in the local community. I am local to the area and hope to  support and contribute to this asset.


Debbie Bent

debbiebentplaceholderWhat classes do you teach?
Ceramics for adults and children; Art & Clay for children; art parties for children.

see Debbie’s classes for adults and children

Describe your artistic training and influences
It took ten years of part-time study while working and bringing up three children to get my degree in Applied Arts, spending years on access and then an HNC qualification. With hindsight, I think it was great to go so slowly and to give myself time to reflect and grow into who I am. Working with other creative people makes me feel like I am swimming in a gigantic river that branches off in all sorts of lovely directions with lots of other colourful fish and I can’t imagine doing anything else. The artists that I feel inspired by are Mark Rothko for the emotion reflected in his work, Antony Gormley for the way he makes me think about being human, Andy Goldsworthy for his respect and love of the environment, and Louise  Bourgeois whose tortured mind really makes me think. Artists who make me think and feel are always top of my list for exhibitions to visit.

Teaching experience
Outreach in the community (MIND, Carers in Herts, Dyspraxia group, Paradise Wildlife Park, Vale House addiction centre and others); Artshed; Sele School; my own classes at my Digswell Arts Trust studio; home-schooled children and after school workshops in Saint Albans; various primary and secondary schools.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
Courtyard is a wonderful creative environment where people are treated with care.  Everyone has always been very encouraging towards me as a tutor and I really enjoy chatting to whoever is in and seeing what everyone has been up to. Courtyard treats everyone else the same way, too, whether they have come to look around or to take part in a workshop. I also love having the artist in residence in the gallery for a month each year, it is such a pleasure. Courtyard is full of eccentric artists so no one is surprised when we are a little bit late, a little bit disorganised and don’t remember if anyone has paid or not. The cakes are good, too.


Jane Davalle

Jane DavalleWhat classes do you teach?
Life Drawing workshops.

Describe your artistic training and influences
Access to Art and Design; HNC in Fine Art; City and Guilds Life Drawing; City and Guilds Teacher Training. I have been influenced by many artists – including Van Gogh, Christo and Jean Claude, David Hockney and Peter Doig – the list is endless. I have also been inspired by the group of artists I come into contact with during my workshops and during the exhibitions we organise. Watching people work has helped to develop quite a passion.

Teaching experience
I started to teach life drawing at Hertford Regional College about six years ago, and then established my own classes at Place House Hall in Ware. Over the years I have set up workshops at Gravelly Barn in Braughing, sharing the teaching with a good friend and fellow artist. We now have workshop days and a summer school looking at all aspects of life drawing. I have also worked with A-level students at Broxbourne School and Simon Balle School, helping to develop their portfolios. I have taken several days with local art groups and have just finished the current semester at the University of Hertfordshire teaching life drawing to Animation students.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I have met a fantastic range of artists, each bringing their own enthusiasm to the speciality. Courtyard reaches into the community and enables everyone to enjoy and participate in art. I like being part of that energy.


Paul Fennell

Paul-Fennell-in-his-studioWhat classes do you teach?
Watercolour Painting, Oil Painting and Drawing Media.

see Paul’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
Fine Art & Art History degree. My influences: Renaissance, Pre-Raphaelites, Abstract Expressionism.

Teaching experience
Over 15 years, mainly teaching adults.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
Friendly and informal.


Polly Kiernan

Polly_KiernaNwebWhat classes do you teach?
Tiny Artists – an art class for pre-school children and their parents and carers, exploring the creative process and looking at how art-making in early childhood develops skills in cognitive, socio-emotional and motor development. Outreach community-based art projects. Working with a wide sector of groups within the community to help engage in the arts.

see Polly’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
Applied and Media Arts BA(Hons). Childhood associations with the West coast of Ireland – where once religious ritual, myth and magic were an integral part of life – draw me to objects and places that embody a sense of enchantment. Big skies, old storybooks read over and over by the firelight, holy relics invested with so much heart-rending trust. A full moon that showers the garden at midnight with silver. The ability that small children, cats and dogs have to sit and stare at things that adults cannot see. All the visionary artists, writers, poets and music makers that give me joy and make the invisible visible to the world.

Teaching experience
For over ten years I have worked as a tutor for Courtyard Arts and also as a freelance community artist. I work with children and adults of all abilities and I have a wide range of experience and training in planning and delivering bespoke art workshops in the following community settings: primary schools; local authorities; charities who support people with mental health issues, learning disabilities and physical impairments; children’s centres; schools for children with additional educational needs; museums/The Big Draw; Paradise Wildlife Park; residential homes for the elderly with dementia.


Gloria MacArthur

Gloria MacArthurWhat classes do you teach?
Kiln Fired Glass. There are very few places where you can learn this skill, and I am proud to be able to pass on my knowledge to others.

see Gloria’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I have a B.Ed degree in Art and Education from Sussex University.  My glass work has been influenced by Yayoi Kusama, Dale Chihuly, Katsushika Hokusai, Bill Woodrow, Louise Bourgeois, Sophie Ryder, Jaume Plensa, Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash, David Hockney and many more.

Teaching experience
I was Head of Creative Arts Faculty and Head of Art at Sele School, Hertford for 20 years.  I have taught art and textiles in London and Peterborough, and have also taught Kiln Fired Glass in Norfolk and at my studio.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I began teaching at Courtyard in 2015, and have found everyone that I have met so far – volunteers and staff – to be extremely helpful and encouraging.

One of the main attractions of Courtyard is the atmosphere. It is very calming; a beautiful place to be.  I enjoy looking at the ever-changing exhibitions and can guarantee that there will be at least one piece of work that I really like and can draw inspiration from. You can meet friends for a coffee and cake, and the cards and gifts on sale in the shop are brilliant.   It is also very important that we keep the arts thriving in Hertford.


Gillian MacKenna

gillianmackwebMHWhat classes do you teach?
Mixed Media.

see Gillian’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I have a BA(Hons) in Art and Design. I was especially interested in the work of the Spanish artist Antoni Tapies and the sculptural forms of Barbara Hepworth, but in the early stage of my degree course I had already begun working on the organic shapes, patterns and textures of landscapes which I am still developing in my paintings.

Teaching experience
I took on the Mixed Media class at Courtyard in 2008 with no experience whatsoever, but was reassured by one of the students who said, “Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what to do!” I have gradually built up a wide range of lessons including, collage, working with acrylic paint, oil pastels, charcoal, ink, two-dimensional expressions of music and literature, still life drawing and portrait painting.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
The friendly informality of Courtyard spills over into the classes which are very relaxed. I enjoy pushing people out of their comfort zone to make more adventurous and informed choices with their work and I am thrilled when they begin to blossom, especially the beginners who have never picked up a brush before.


Natalie Mills

Natalie MillsWhat classes do you teach?
Abstract Painting.

see Natalie’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I am an abstract painter working mainly in large Acrylic and Mixed Media canvases. I grew up in Birmingham and moved to London to study for a Fine Art BA at The Byam Shaw School, graduating in 1998.

In the 15 years after graduating I never so much as picked up a paintbrush. Life got in the way! But a couple of years ago I started painting again. My work documents a very personal journey, a therapeutic reconnection with art. After not painting for so long the initial phase was quite daunting. As I progressed creatively I became freer, worrying less, learning to look at things differently, and started to enjoy painting again.

“What’s the Worst That Can Happen?” Mistakes are inevitable, and we learn from them. This approach has given me a lot of creative and personal freedom. Everything happens for a reason.

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.” My works are about being spontaneous and freeing the mind in the process; about paint movement and the unknown; about allowing the paint to flow and take a life of its own – almost ‘accidental’; about investigation and behaviours. It’s not about the finished piece, but the process of doing it – using the whole body and having the inspiration to ‘let go’.

Teaching experience
I have run abstract painting masterclasses at a community arts centre in Hertfordshire. I also ran workshops at an orphanage for girls in Southern India.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I like that it is a community arts space where I can work with local people who share a passion for art.


Teresa Morton

Teresa MortonWhat classes do you teach?
Ceramics.

see Teresa’s classes for adults and children

Describe your artistic training and influences
With a BA(Hons) in Ceramics, I am influenced by the human form, especially the implied movement of sculpture and facial expressions. My inspirations include Edvard Munch, Anthony Gormley, Barry Flanagan, ancient ruins and mythology.

Teaching experience
This has been my first opportunity to teach. Since finishing my Ceramics degree, I worked for over ten years in creative marketing. I am very excited to be working professionally within the world of ceramics, passing on my knowledge, skills and ideas.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I’m thrilled to be part of such a warm and creative environment, to be part of a place where art is for everyone of all abilities. It’s a sentiment close to my heart.


Jude O’Sullivan

Jude O'SullivanWhat classes do you teach?
Printmaking.

see Jude’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
After a Foundation Diploma at St Albans School of Art, I studied Graphic Design and Typography at Wimbledon School of Art. My early career was in advertising and as a freelance Graphic Designer.

I have been influenced in my latest work by Japanese woodcuts and designers Sybil Andrews and Cyril Power. Coming from a design rather than fine art background, my printmaking uses pattern and line to a great degree and is influenced by the Modernist movement. I have also been playing around with type as an image for a number of years, influenced by Alan Kitching and the Dutch typographer Hendrik Werkman. I like to experiment and combine different techniques: mono printing, lino, dry point and screen printing. I always take a sketchbook with me to record ideas when I travel. I enjoy sharing ideas and find there is always something new to learn from other artists and students.

Teaching Experience
I have 25 years’ experience teaching subjects including Graphic Design, Advertising, Printmaking and Art & Design (at a range of levels: CGSE, A level, BTEC, GNVQ, AVCE, Foundation Degree and community and adult learning). I became Head of Art at Oaklands College in 2009. I am now retired but still teach and run workshops.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I began teaching here after becoming a member in 2013 when I moved to Hertford, but I have known of Courtyard for many years. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach here and am looking forward to getting to know other members.


Deana Kim Page

Deana Kim PageWhat classes do you teach?
Acrylic Painting and Sketching workshops.

see Deana’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I am self-taught. I have worked as a professional commission artist since 2002. My passion and focus is to help others realise their creative dreams and goals in art.

Teaching Experience
I coach, mentor and teach adults and children in art workshops and one-to-one lessons. I run art holidays and teach a range of different media. I have taught at various locations across the region in recent years.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
The people are all so friendly and passionate. It is an honour to be involved with a creative centre offering dedicated creative learning to the community of Hertford.


Alicia Perry

Alicia PerryWhat classes do you teach?
The Little Screen Film Club.

see Alicia’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
I studied Illustration and Animation at Coventry University where I learnt a range of skills in traditional and modern approaches to both practises. During my studies I gained professional training in stop-motion, 3D and hand-drawn animation techniques. I continue to practise freelance illustration and am fuelled by the influences of modern illustrators and designers such as Anna Bond, Rob Ryan and Paul X Johnson.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
I love having the opportunity to teach animation to children. It is wonderful to see young students come to class with a flair for animation and watch them apply their innocence and ideas to some time-old and complex techniques.


Claire Preston

Claire PrestonWhat classes do you teach?
Fun Art for children.

see Claire’s classes

Describe your artistic training and influences
Art has played a big part in my life since childhood. I studied Graphic Design at Hertford Regional College after leaving school.  During my time there, I found a love for illustration and painting. I am interested in finding new ways to produce art works and I continue to enjoy learning and being inspired by those around me.  My influences include Monet and Van Gogh; Picasso and Dali are also particular favourites of mine. And from the world of illustration, Quentin Blake (of course), Maurice Sendak and Anthony Browne, to name a few.

Teaching experience
I am currently an Early Years Foundation Stage teaching assistant at a local Hertford school.  My experience also extends to teaching art clubs and helping with various art projects for the school over the years: back-drops for plays, printing and model-making are among the things I have been involved with.  More recently, guiding Year 6 children in producing canvases for their leaving legacy to the school.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
Courtyard is full of inspiration, from the exhibitions, to the people I have met and continue to meet.  It is a friendly, welcoming place for all.  To be able to be part of Courtyard and provide children with a place to explore their own creative sides is a dream come true.  It has provided great opportunities for my own children also, who have attended – and still attend – classes here.


Sue Wagstaff

Sue WagstaffWhat classes do you teach?
Art & Clay for home educated children; Ceramics.

see Sue’s classes for adults and children

Describe your artistic training and influences
BA in Fine Art; PGCE in Art & Design; trained to teach Arts Awards (bronze and silver).

Teaching experience
Teaching in schools and private tuition.

What do you like about teaching at Courtyard?
It’s a friendly, caring environment with varied classes and activities aimed at a broad audience.  The small class sizes mean you get to know your pupils and vice versa.