Want to know the
10 Secrets to a
Great Workshop Experience ?
1. Pick a Location that appeals to you.
Is there someplace you've always wanted to go? What better way than to spend the time there doing something you love in the company of other artists?
2. Look at the organization of the workshop.
Is transportation or organization at painting sites included? or will you spend precious painting time driving around looking for places to paint? Or better yet, looking for the class? Is the class limit reasonable , or will you be vying for attention with 20+ other participants? Is the painting schedule flexible to allow for non planned opportunities?
3. Look at the work of the instructor.
Does the work represent a direction you would like to go in? or perhaps try something new to give your work a jump start?
4. Come to the workshop with an Open Mind
A workshop is a place to try new techniques and ideas.
If you approach the workshop starting in doing what you've always done, the way you've always done it, you defeat the purpose of the new experience, saturated in creativity.
A workshop is not a place to show off your skills.
5. Keep a journal
I ask my students to begin a journal 3-4 days before the workshop and continue it for at least that long after they get back home. The journal should be something you keep for yourself. Don't use this as a textbook, be personal. Write down your goals for this workshop. This will enable you to relive your workshop experience when you need your memory jogged.
6. Bring a camera
Record your travel, your painting locations and any demos your instructor may do. Sometimes it's the little things you may miss that makes a difference.
7. Ask questions
No such thing as a silly question at a workshop.
No questions... no answers!
And the person next to you may have the same question.
8. The Cookie Cutter Syndrome
If your instructor specifies that you use ( for example) the exact pallette that they do, you're not getting individual attention. An instructor should meet you ''where you are' in terms of your painting knowledge. This is not to say a beginner or someone looking for guidance in buying supplies should not take instructor's suggestions. Some fantastic painters are not necessarily good instructors. You've all seen classes of 'cookie cutter' students where you can pick out the instructor by looking at the work the class has done.
9. Network - Be a Sponge
Rarely do you have the opportunity in a creatively charged atmosphere where you will eat, sleep and breathe painting.
The osmosis in such an adventure is amazing!
Take the time to know your fellow students, some of the most enduring friendships are born in a workshop.
10. Don't expect finished Paintings
If your goal is to come away with finished paintings, you're going to miss a lot of stuff! It's tempting for all of us to do this.
A. You may not be experienced painting outdoors and may be overwhelmed by the information in front of you. Give yourself some slack time to adjust. If you have normally painted in a studio, you will now be doing problem solving 'on your feet'.
B. Use Professional Materials
Don't let your struggle be with inferior student grade paints and supports. Buy a few good artist grade materials instead of a store full of cheaper supplies.
C. If you put your energy into 'finishing', you're missing your next great painting.
It may very well be your "AH HA" painting!
The Best thing I can give painters at my workshops is a "Pocketful of Seeds" to take home...
tools that you will have the week after you get home, and the week after that, when you're problem solving on your own.