March 11, 2019

Why do Workshops?

Persimmon and Friends, life study 6X8"

I know some of you reading this go to a LOT of workshops, some occassionally, and some perhaps not at all.  Or perhaps you do a few and then take a break....what best serves your growth?  Well, I have an opinion on that, so if my opinion interests you, read on my painting friends.....

I have been learning to paint all my life,  and teaching others that are learning to paint for over three decades.  I have met those that only paint at workshops, those that are afraid that taking workshops will deter them from developing their own style, and those that attend workshops and glean what is useful to them and see how it might create growth and provide tools that they can apply when in front of their own easels.  They stay open and curious, and work hard.  I think you can guess which group experiences the greatest growth.

Here is what I think is most effective:

1. Study with someone who's work resonates with you (ie, you like their work and feel that there are aspects of the way they work that you would like to learn)

2.  Study with someone that knows how to teach.  Brilliant painters are not always good teachers.  Painting and teaching painting are two entirely different skill sets.  Ask around and see what kind of reviews previous students are giving that instructor.  Try not to listen to those that are typically full of sour grapes.  Ask more than one previous student to make sure you are getting fair review.

3. After a workshop, read the notes, and review and practice what was offered.  It is important to lock in the learning with practice.   And, as in an AA group, "take what you like and leave the rest".

4.  Recognize that workshops shorten the learning curve, which is awesome, but they are not a substitute for easel time.  You've got to practice!  Keep those brushes wet.

5.  Don't worry about not developing your own style because you are being too strongly influenced by an instructor.  That will only be a problem if you study with only one instructor, and if you do no painting on your own.  Style evolves as a function of many hours of painting experience.  You do not "create" your own style, so much as uncover it over hours of painting in your own studio.  It develops much as your writing signature did - it already exists.  Right now.  It just has perhaps not become fully obvious yet, but you can trust that it will IF YOU DO THE WORK.

Well, I hope that is helpful to in some measure. I wish you all many happy easel hours!



Here's what's coming up:

March 28, six consecutive Thursdays
Fort Langley
Please contact me by email:  Registration is taking place now.
The workshop includes skill drills, critiques, demos, and individualized coaching on your studio work.

Ellis Art Studios, Kelowna
April 12, 13, 14
For more info, click here

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