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Friday, March 08, 2013

How to Prepare for a Painting Workshop

'Summer Dreams'           8x10       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
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The workshop is booked. The travel arrangements made. And now the time has arrived. Time to pack your supplies and prepare for the workshop.  I am in packing mode today. I have one day in between trips to get ready to attend a workshop with Doug Dawson.

When I saw he was teaching in Leesburg Florida I jumped on the chance to go. My mom lives nearby so it was a perfect opportunity for some art and a visit with mom. My friend Jayne and I will spend some extra time in the area scouting out photo ops so it should be a good time....and it will be warm!

This week I will be the student rather than the teacher so it got me thinking on how to best prepare for a painting workshop from the viewpoint of both a student and teacher.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Prepare your supplies.  Make sure you have the supply list and clarify any questions you have about supplies before you get there. Find out what equipment will be available at the workshop such as tables or easels.
  • If you have any new supplies such as a new easel or box....try them out at home to be familiar with your new equipment. You'll have enough to think about at the workshop without getting frustrated with your equipment. 
  • Make sure you can manage your supplies. If it is a studio workshop try to get your supplies condensed so you can fit everything in one cart of bag. You don't want to have to make several trips to the car. You also might not have a big space to spread everything out. This is especially important for a plein air workshop!
  • CONDENSE your pastels.  Not only does having several boxes of pastels take up valuable space, it is not the best way to paint. Try to get them into one box...a Heilman or Dakota traveler box is the ideal solution. See my post on this topic here.
  • Don't forget to bring something for your finished paintings. For smaller pastels you can use a pad of tracing paper. or make your own folder with glassine paper.
  • Bring a towel for the floor.....sometimes the floor is carpeted and even if it isn't a towel will cushion the blow for a dropped pastel!
  • Don't forget a NOTEBOOK and pen. I keep a separate notebook for each workshop I take and keep them all together on a shelf. This makes it easy to refer back to my notes. Some like to write notes in a sketchbook which works too!
  • Bring a CAMERA.  You will want to photograph the demos in progress if you can.  Not to mention any photo ops at the workshop location.
In addition to preparing supplies it is just as important to Prepare your MIND.  Reflect on why you are taking the workshop. What do you hope to learn?  Study the instructor's books, dvds, blog so you can have an idea of their teachings. It will make more sense when you hear it again in person!

Adjust your ATTITUDE.  It is most helpful to approach a workshop with an open mind. Be prepared to try things out of your comfort zone and to remember it is not about impressing the instructor with your skill but to learn new things!  Rarely do you do your best work in a workshop because you are in learning mode!

PLAN TO HAVE FUN!  A workshop is part of your journey and it should be fun!


Vanessa said...

Great advice! And just in time as people begin to think about the IAPS convention.

For those that have to travel far and really need to condense their pastels, what basic colours do you think are a must haves? A few ochres and maybe 2-3 f the rest in various values?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an adventure!

Karen said...

Thanks! I will be doing several posts about preparing for IAPS so stay tuned!