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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Workshop Advice: Put on Your 'What If' Hat


'Pink Symphony'            11x14          pastel          ©Karen Margulis
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 I can happen to all of us. Stage fright. Performance anxiety. Fear of Failure. Going to a workshop can be exciting but also nerve wracking.  It doesn't matter if you are a student or the instructor and it doesn't matter if you are advanced or a beginner. We often put pressure on ourselves to be successful. In the words of a friend "I worry I will get egg on my face".

I know the feeling well.  But the pressure we put on ourselves to achieve in a workshop can backfire and cause us to freeze. I have some good advice:

Put on Your WHAT IF Hat and keep it on!

watercolor underpainting

What is a WHAT IF Hat?  It is an attitude. It is a state of mind. It is a liberating place to be. The What If attitude is the way we approach painting or any new situation such as a workshop. When things aren't going as planned and when we are struggling we just use the words WHAT IF.  And then try something different. For example, let's say your painting isn't working. Instead of getting frustrated or stressed ask yourself what you could do differently. Ask yourself 'What If" I did this....What if I tried that....and most important your remind yourself that IT IS ONLY PAPER.

yuck! I didn't like what was happening so I sprayed it down with water

I had to put on my What If Hat for today's painting. It wasn't going as planned. Instead of throwing it out I decided to try something else. I sprayed it with water...then worked some more. After several what if moments the painting started coming together.

The What If attitude can help us in a workshop experience. If we go into it with the only expectation that we will learn something new (and not paint a masterpiece) we will have a more successful experience. We need to leave all of our anxiety and fears at the door and remind ourselves that we are there to learn and try new things!




Painting Notes: 11x14 on Multimedia artboard with a watercolor underpainting.

1 comment:

Eileen Sullivan said...

This is such good advice and something we all need to remember! Thanks, Karen.