Adult school students learn a new way to paint

Art class teaches quick painting method


Art students show off the paintings they created in a two-hour session. Art students show off the paintings they created in a two-hour session. LITTLE SILVER — Jack Kolber’s art students are generally surprised when he tells them they will complete an oil painting during the course of his two-hour class.

Kolber teaches at Red Bank Regional High School’s (RBR) Adult School, held evenings at the Little Silver regional school.

“Finishing a painting from start to finish in one class really gives the students a sense of accomplishment,” said Kolber.

He said his students repeatedly say, “I never believed I could do that [seasonal, floral or holiday painting] until this class.”

Kolber, of Burlington Township, became an Alexander Art-certified instructor in 1990 and has been teaching children and adults what he calls “this easy and fun method of oil painting.”

He cites painters Bill Alexander and Bob Ross of the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) as the inspiration for his decision to leave his life as a musician to teach and demonstrate painting as a career.

During the art class, Kolber presents his students with the “painting of the day” assignment and teaches them how to paint it step by step using a wet-on-wet technique.

“It’s not a class where people just come in and paint and I observe. Most students are beginners learning how to paint,” said Kolber.

Those who are not beginners can still benefit by learning Kolber’s method of painting.

“They can broaden their horizons and learn new techniques,” he said.

“It’s a lot of fun. Once they try it, they’re hooked!

“Their friends and families say, ‘You had a hidden talent.’ I say no, I’m a great teacher!” Kolber quipped.

Kolber said that many of his students become so enthralled with painting that they end up purchasing supplies to continue their new-found hobby at home.

Kolber opened his own studio, called The Magic Brush Art Studio, in Philadelphia, where he worked for seven years before moving to New Jersey.

He said the benefits sometimes go beyond the finished painting.

He said that one of his former students in Philadelphia began classes as a withdrawn, shy individual. Through the classes, Kolber said, she gained confidence in herself and began to interact with others.

“It’s great as far as accomplishments go. Art is also therapeutic for many people. It’s soothing,” Kolber said.

Kolber demonstrates and teaches at schools, retirement facilities and community centers.

“People are amazed at what he can paint in such a short period of time,” said Carol Torre, Adult School director.

Kolber has been featured on several local TV stations and PBS. Last year he landed a TV series that airs in both Long Branch and Ocean Township.

Many of Kolber’s students have gone on to enter their works in local art shows and contests, and their work has been recognized.

In 1998 and 1999, five of his students won ribbons for their entries in the New Jersey State Fair for oil painting, he said.

In addition, several of his students have gone on to become certified instructors.

Kolber said his motto is “A complete painting every time,” and he makes sure his students complete their paintings without feeling rushed.

“I want my students to learn the right way, not the fast way,” Kolber said.While the class is intended for adults, Kolber, who has been teaching at RBR for two years, allows grandparents to bring their grandchildren.

“Carol Torre saw my video on YouTube and asked if I would be interested in doing the program,” Kolber explained about his start at RBR.

“With all of the arts being dropped in education, Carol doesn’t want to lose this program,” he said.

The RBR Adult School was created to serve the sending school communities of Red Bank, Little Silver and Shrewsbury; however, its programs are available to the surrounding town residents as well, said Torre, who has been director of the program for the past decade.

Adult School courses include the performing and visual arts comprising dance, drama, painting and photography, several levels of computer courses, a wine-making class, and a boating and navigation course.

A wide range of exercise classes are also offered, including yoga, Pilates and aerobics. The school also has 12 volleyball teams.

Kolber’s next classes will be held Nov. 18 and Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at RBR.

Registration for the RBR Adult School fall semester is ongoing. Online registration is available at