Workshop Advice Notes
It’s been about a year since I taught a workshop, so it’s about time to do that again.
I have structured the 2019 workshops for advanced beginners through intermediate painters. I like to work with painters who feel they have a lot to learn, even if they are advanced. I consider myself to be an advanced beginning painter with lots to learn though I have been painting since dirt formed.
I like the idea of being a life long learner. I don’t take students who consider themselves to be advanced painters because I often find they have the need to prove how much they know, and that they need to show off for the instructor and other students. I have worked with many self proclaimed advanced painters who in the end, don’t know all that much ;>) They get angry and frustrated when the assignments are difficult and they can’t deliver. They are disruptive and hard to control in a workshop situation. At my stage of career, I don’t want to work with ego oriented painters. I love painters who genuinely feel pleasure in the painting experience and don’t care to prove anything to me. I have helped many painters who paint far better than I do, because they were willing to think about things in a new way. A workshop should not be a battle of one upsmanship.
I think new beginners should have a class all to themselves. They are nervous and apprehensive about picking up a brush, and deserve careful attention and patience. That should be a separate workshop entirely.
The very best workshop experience comes to painters who arrive with an open mind, ready to try anything for a day or two. Eager to learn and practice, even if they will never do these techniques again.
Plan ahead, make a packing list. Sleep well and rest before the workshop because you will be spending a long day in studio or out doors, depending on the type of workshop. Keep your supplies at a minimum. You want set up and take down to be easy. Keep the bulk of your supplies in a box in your car and replenish from that.
Communicate in advance with the instructor. Ask all of your questions before you sign up. Think about your learning style. Do you like to sit and watch the instructor paint, or do you prefer to get started painting. Do you like hearing information, reading information or just painting a lot with critiques? You should think about that and ask questions about the instructors methods of teaching. If he/she is reluctant to answer your questions, find a different workshop. His/her attitude before the workshop is a good indication of how you will be treated as a student.
Don’t book a workshop out of your experience range. If you are a beginner, doing an advanced workshop will be disruptive for you, the instructor, and other students. You will be lost and irritating to the advanced students.
Don’t book a workshop with too many students. You won’t get much attention. I like to teach from 8-12 students.
Don’t expect to do quality paintings at a workshop. No one should put that pressure on themselves. Consider your painting to be studies and if they are beautiful, be happy with a nice surprise. I give myself permission to do bad paintings at a workshop and for my students to do the same. It is a different atmosphere entirely, from our normal painting routines. I have had far too many students whose expectations were dashed, then blaming me for their poor paintings. These kind of ego motivated students expect their paintings to look like mine after two days. Leave your ego at home if you want to learn.
If you book a workshop and cancel, expect to pay for it anyway. It is so unfair to book a workshop, allowing an instructor to prepare for your arrival and then cancel. They have already done the work, ordered supplies and are counting on that income. Painting teachers have to make a living from their business, just like anyone else. I give back 50% of the fee for artists who cancel, but don’t expect anyone to do that.
Make sure that you like the instructor’s painting style. That doesn’t mean you want to paint like they do, just that you admire their work and it is in the same genre and style that you want to do.
If you would like to have a wonderful experience painting in north Florida, Join me in 2019 for a one day workshop at my Country Studio. I’ll be doing private workshops for groups of friends, clubs and other groups. Painting with your friends will be an enjoyable experience. You pick the subjects or ideas for the workshop and I will plan it. The workshops are on any day you choose and go from 9AM-4PM. Lunch and beverages are included for the fee of 125.00
More musings for artists and collectors to come…
I like to take a knife and thinly slice potato skins first, then the meat of the potato. I oil a sheet pan with olive oil, tossing the potato slices and skin with the oil. I separate them on the pan. I slat/pepper them , then add dried thyme, paprika, dried onion flakes, and a ton of parmesan shredded cheese. I bake them at 400 in the oven until they are crisp and browned. They make a fine snack all by themselves or a side for steak or hamburgers.