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Art Classes – sculpture,drawing and painting

Workshops and short art courses

Join a visual art program in the Cradle of Humankind, north of Johannesburg at Mike Edwards Art Studio for drawing, painting and sculpture

Drawing and Painting


3 hour session

6 hour session
Saturday only

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Individual one on one classes


hour session

6 hour session (Full day)

Individual classes by appointment.

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3 hour session

6 hour session
Saturday only

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Full day classes

6 hour session
Saturday only

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Weekly Art Classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Classes on other days are arranged depending on demand.
Monday: 09:00 to 12:30 
Wednesday: 09:00 to 12:30.
Saturday: Flexy time: Any three hours between 07:00 -13:30

Art Classes are offered for the amateur, professional or beginner.
Also offered are art classes for groups to develop team-building and for individuals to de-stress, rebuild confidence, or to just relax and get away from it all for a fun time drawing, painting and sculpting in the country.


The boundaries between the traditional subjects offered in art classes of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture are now less defined than ever before, with artists linking these with striking visual results. However, the traditional basic techniques remain the backbone of Mike Edwards’ approach to his art classes yet, at the same time, he encourages experimentation by breaking away from a too slavish approach to these techniques. His aim in his art classes is to foster and to stimulate a personal vision and interpretation in his students’ work through self-discovery in the use of colour, line and form.


Weekly art classes are run for a maximum of ten people per session on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Monday: 09:00 to 12:30
Wednesday: 09:00 to 12:30
Saturday Flexy time any three hours between 07:00 -13:30

Art class projects are set to cater for both the beginner and the advanced participant.
Technique and medium are discussed and participants are encouraged to use different techniques and approaches to gain experience and facility on a broad front.
Before specialising, participants in the art classes are encouraged to work in and experience watercolours, acrylic and oil colours in painting while proficiency in drawing with pencil, pen and ink, conte crayon, and with many other drawing instruments, is encouraged.
Drawing, Painting and Sculpture participants work together other than when not practical due to the differing technical needs of the two disciplines.
Art class participants are encouraged to interact at all times.
One art class in four is a field trip either urban or rural (weather permitting, transport not included in cost)

COSTS: R225.00 per three hour session, excluding materials.
COSTS: R425.00 per six hour session, excluding materials.

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Art class sculpture projects are set to cater for both the beginner and advanced participants.
Technique and medium are discussed and participants are encouraged to use different techniques and approaches to gain experience and facility on a broad front.
Before specialising participants in the art classes are encouraged to work in and experience clay, plaster and wood, as well as simple casting methods using rubber and resin. Drawing remains important using pencil, pen and ink and conte crayon. The use of other drawing instruments is also encouraged. Individual art classes in sculpture are also offered, the costs depending on the direction chosen by the student.

*COSTS: R225.00 per three hour session for group classes
(excluding materials)
*COSTS: R425.00 per six hour session for group classes
(excluding materials)

but the fees will ultimately depend on the nature of the class, which would be designed to accommodate the needs of a particular student.

Un-supervised studio time can also be built into a given projected learning period.

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Sculpture workshops and short sculpture courses are also organized for sculpture enthusiasts keen on learning about particular methods and techniques. These workshops cover casting methods, mould making, clay and the use of various similar materials, ceramic sculpture and armature building to wood carving, wood fabrication, metal fabrication and bronze casting. They are held on demand for a maximum of six participants per workshop or on an on-going individual basis. Fees will depend on the nature of the material/technique required which would be designed to accommodate a particular person or group.


Team Building, Weekend Art Classes as well as short courses in Drawing and Painting are arranged on demand.
Cost is dependent on the needs of a particular group as well as the duration of such events.
Costs for team building events will include materials as well as teas and lunches.
Accommodation can be arranged within The Cradle area if needed.

Who all can benefit from these art classes, art courses, art workshops, art team building?

  • Individuals
  • Club Groups
  • Corporate Teams
  • Tea Clubs
  • Groups and clubs of all descriptions

– in fact, anyone who has an urge to create something of their own.

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Mike Edwards has been a practicing artist/teacher for over fifty years, having first exhibited professionally on the Fame & Promise Exhibition in Johannesburg in 1959 as well as having started part-time teaching at St. Georges Preparatory School, Port Elizabeth in the same year.

He is primarily known as a sculptor of both abstract, landscape oriented, and portrait sculpture. He taught formally for thirty years, first at the then Free State Technical College and later at the University of Pretoria as Associate Professor of Fine Art until 1991. He holds a National Art Teachers Certificate from the Port Elizabeth Art School as well as a MA (Fine Art) from Pretoria University. He is also the recipient of Silver Medals for Achievement in Sculpture from the Port Elizabeth Municipality in 1959 and the University of Pretoria in 1989.

Besides being responsible for sculpture training during his teaching career he was also responsible for art classes in painting and in particular the adult landscape art classes in Bloemfontein from 1965 to 1972. On joining the Dept. of Fine Art at Pretoria University in 1973 he established Printmaking which included etching, lithography, wood and lino cuts as well as screen printing (serigraphy). Throughout his career in formal teaching he was also responsible for both drawing and life drawing.

Mike has an abiding interest in painting and printmaking in the urban landscape, his speciality being historic buildings of the past.

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outdoor painting

Still Life painting class
Still life painting class

Still Life painting class
Class in progress

Art classs in progress
Building an armature

Building an armature for the clay sculpture
The rubber mould process

Starting the rubber mould process
Making holding caps for the rubber mould

Making holding caps for the rubber mould
Pouring molten bronze into the ceramic moulds

Pouring molten bronze into the ceramic moulds
Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards

Portrait sculpture by Mike Edwards

Personal Statement on his Portraiture

My interest, and enthusiasm for portraiture, was kindled by a visit in 1956, (my final school year) to the painter Dorothy Kay in her studio in Port Elizabeth. On her easel was her portrait of ‘Cookie, Annie Mavata’ now in the Pretoria Art Museum. She spoke with such conviction about her approach, her drawing and the placing of her sitter that I was fired with ambition and resolved to attempt to carry on the tradition of portraiture. Also seen at this time were her self portraits that were painted with an assurance and style seldom seen to-day. Her daughter Joan Wright (senior lecturer at the Art School) was a central figure in my student years with the result that I was fortunate to see (1957-1960) much of the work of this remarkable lady (Dorothy Kay) and experience a little of her tantalising speech which seemed (to a student) to jump from one topic to another with alarming speed.  I was also fortunate in having John Hooper ARCA as a sculpture lecturer who had a great enthusiasm for both the figure and the portrait.

With my portraits I have always tried to balance the likeness of the sitter with the plastic quality of the medium, with the overall sculptural silhouettes of the whole and with an attempt to express something of the inner character of the sitter. I have consistently avoided being bullied into making horribly smooth-skinned portraits that to my mind express only an empty superficial likeness. The impact of light on the surface of a sculpture is very important and can make or break a work. In portraiture, light on the surfaces gives life and movement to the forms. Smooth surfaces are very often needed to portray or imply a particular aspect of the character, but the forms have to be built up to smoothness, not smeared into smoothness.
Overall, it has never been my intention in portraiture to ‘challenge’ or ‘shock’ the viewer. Nor has it ever been my intention to produce superficial ‘picture’ portraits or portraits dictated by the expectations of the subject or a commissioning body.
In this respect I am probably something of a traditionalist. I have never wanted to produce the ‘heroic’ portrait or the ‘drenched in emotion’ portrait.
I think my portraits are more intimate, one on one works that need the support of an interior space or the corner of a garden room and are mostly life-size.
‘Big’ or over life-size has never been better. Monumental needs a special vision and approach, a sculptural simplicity, to achieve a special presence otherwise an over life size portrait remains small both visually and in spirit. 
With a few exceptions I have worked exclusively with clay, that is, the additive process to arrive at the final form.
I enjoy finding and exploring the infinite variety found in the human facial structure, and equallyenjoy the plasticity of clay and the fun in developing profile upon profile to try and freeze a personal moment. The ‘fun’ of course goes hand in hand with intense concentration and unending searching.
Portraits reflect a little bit of history. It has been a great privilege for me to have been able to work from many different people, mostly invited, some commissioned, mostly from life and some posthumously. All of them have touched our lives in some way, all were important in their positions at the time and many have been influential in the shaping of where we (South Africans), artists, academics, politicians, businessmen and families – are today.

Sculptures in stainless steel, bronze and wood by Mike Edwards


Personal Statement on his non-representational Sculpture

Making ‘art-objects’ rather than descriptive ‘image objects’ that attempt the recreating of reality in three dimensions has been my resolve, my interest and my overriding effort.

As a young artist starting out I remember on the one hand knowing that making sculpture (art objects) as distinct from the millions of  utilitarian ‘art-objects’, man has made over time was my passion but on the other hand I realized that most art objects had already been made in one way or another.

During my early years of practice, art / sculpture went through many ‘new’ phases; post 1945, post modernism, minimalism, pop art, super realism, protest, pc art etc. all relevant and vital to our time but none of which was I able to embrace completely. I have tried, am still trying to develop my own form world, that reflects some of the above philosophies, and advances both in technology and thought, but that remain within my reference framework.

My reference framework was laid down as a small boy on long walks with my grandfather in the Karoo around Cradock, visiting ‘Egg’ rock and collecting fossils and succulents with their infinite variety of form, shape and colour.

Thus the over-riding interest in and study of the landscape has continued throughout my sculptural journey. This all consuming interest in the landscape has not been for the panoramic and atmospheric view but rather in the drama of light, the precarious balance of and sometime dangerous forms and shapes found both in rock structures, carved by wind and rain, and in the plant life that struggles to survive in harsh climatic conditions with spiky tenacity.

Having identified this ‘landscape’ source, many of my sculptures (‘art-objects’) happen without direct reference to either place or object while others develop directly from found or observed objects. I draw and photograph details and collect bits and pieces wherever we find ourselves and these forms and shapes seem to arrive intuitively while a sculpture is developing in whatever material I am using at the time. The form transitions, sharp edges, pointed ends and concave/convex undulations for me hold visual clues for the spectator that relate to many aspects of our African life.

On the technical level many (perhaps most) of my sculptures are fabricated, that is made by cutting, beating, welding and grinding in the case of steel and cutting, laminating, carving, glueing and grinding in the case of wood.
Just as we find the gestural line in the graphic arts and the  brush strokes in painting that build the skin of the art work, adding to suggestion in terms of content as well as direction in terms of form and shape so too do the tool and hand marks that are left after manipulating the metal, the wood or the clay of a particular sculpture. Some of these marks I leave while other parts of the surface I give a high polish to create reflections and contrasts to heighten the visuality.

Mike Edwards Profile

Mike Edwards born Port Elizabeth 1938.

Art studies: Port Elizabeth Art School gaining the National Art Teachers Certificate, later a BA(FA) & MA(FA) from the University of Pretoria. He taught formally (1961-1990) in both Bloemfontein and Pretoria.
Much of his work has its roots in the harsh African landscape, a landscape carved by wind and rain with growth forms of visual splendour but often also menacing in their thorny struggle to survive, a landscape that reflects so strongly, the diversity, intolerance and precariousness of African life.
Sculptures reflecting this concern of his are to be found amongst others at the Civitas Building, State Theatre, Medical & Dental Council in Pretoria, Momentum Life in Centurion, the Edenvale Library and the Receiver of Revenue Bloemfontein, Brebner School in Bloemfontein, Pretoria Boys High School in Pretoria and the new soccer stadium in Polokwane.
He is also a keen portraitist with many examples in public and private collections.

His work is also to be found in the collections of the Universities of Pretoria, Potchestroom, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein as well as the Art Museums of Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Kimberly, Potchestroom, Polokwane and many private collections.
A major work of his in the portrait/narrative area is his WW1 bronze panel at the Delville Wood Museum in Longueval, France.
A comprehensive collection of his portraits made over the past fifty six years forms part of the University of Pretoria’s Art Collection.

He has exhibited since 1959 in group shows throughout South Africa as well as in America, the UK, Taiwan, Portugal and Germany and has held solo exhibitions in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Kimberley and Durban, (1970-2013)

dove drawing, artist Mike Edwards

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