The most exciting thing about giving a workshop, I’ve found, is the kindling of ideas on how to do it better next time. Inspiration from other artists has informed my work and approaches. It’s easy to forget, working in our studios day after day, about the silent and knowing spirit that exists among lifelong learners.
The most endearing lesson I learned from taking a workshop is how much there is to learn. A wealth of skill and knowledge is out there in other artists who have been seasoned by their muses and, again, by other artists. Joseph Addison said, “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.”
Workshopping — both giving and taking — inspires skill-building, connectivity and personal evolution for artists of all styles, professional levels and abilities. Where solo development is often the key thrust with residencies, a workshop can be an efficient boost to the development of skills among peers. And a workshop getaway can renew passion in a matter of hours or days. Your revolution awaits.
Here are a few ideas if you’re thinking of giving a workshop:
Share your unique, honed skills and inspirations — this is good and expected.
Allocate your resources of creativity — some workshoppers will be shy, some demanding. Listen and consider your response. As an instructor, your words are being held high.
Advise gently — and learn — as you watch your now shared personalized systems being incorporated into the work of others. “The challenge is to work with the artist in the direction he or she is going, at the same time introducing potential windows,” said Dad.
Here are a few ideas if you’re thinking of taking a workshop:
Include a change of scenery — new sights, new eyes, new work.
Allow yourself to be pushed, or push yourself to a better, different way of working.
Do research on your instructor. Be prepared.
Commit to a period of focused time. Watch, listen and don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Accept that there may be some destruction of old habits in the process. My dad told me, “We all stand on each other’s shoulders. It’s what’s done later, in private, that counts.”
Trust in a future treasury of new ideas.
PS: “Art is, after all, only a trace — like a footprint which shows that one has walked bravely and in great happiness.” (Robert Henri)
“I am not a teacher but an awakener.” (Robert Frost)
Esoterica: Our Painter’s Keys Workshop Calendar reaches tens of thousands of artists all over the world. It has a directory organized chronologically, and with each new letter a current workshop is featured. Artist instructors list workshops offered in Tuscany, Sedona, Maine, Mexico, Scotland, and many other places, in every type of painting media and style. Instructors tell us that the Calendar is what helps them find qualified students. Our worldwide community ebbs and flows with the gentle and fiery dream to improve and expand. To view upcoming workshops or to list, you can go here.
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“To know in order to do: such has been my thought.” (Gustave Courbet)