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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

7 Tips for Better Painting Demonstrations

'Joyful Skies'            9x12          pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $145
I like to have a plan. When I have a plan and know where I want to go it is much easier for me to relax and let go. This mindset is important for my painting but it also works for doing painting demonstrations. I remember my very first painting demo and how nervous I was. I wish someone had given me some advice for overcoming the butterflies.

Perhaps you have been asked to paint for a group or to demonstrate some pastel techniques. No matter the size of the group butterflies are normal but preparation is the key to success. I have just returned from a workshop during which I painted over 10 demonstration paintings. I am now prepping for my next workshop which will also require 10 demos. I thought a list of demo tips would be helpful. No matter what your level of experience at some point we are all asked to share some painting and pastel tips! Enjoy the list.

Back in the studio prepping fro my next workshop!

  • Paint something you are familiar with. In fact I prefer to paint something I have already painted. Having familiarity with your subject will allow you to multi task and talk as you paint. If you are unfamiliar with the subject you might be too preoccupied with making the painting work to talk or answer questions.
  • Practice the painting on your own. Plan out your palette and plan out the points you want to make. Then practice the painting in front of a friend. Have the friend interrupt you and ask questions. 
  • Practice talking about the painting process and the steps you are taking without actually painting. Imagine you are painting as you talk. Do this over and over as often as it takes for it to sound natural. I like to practice my speaking in front of the dog and cats!
  • If you can talk about your process and paint at the same time your audience will appreciate it so practice, practice and practice some more. If you know your material then it will be easier for you to improvise and respond to questions.
  • Come to your presentation prepared. Have your pastels selected and your paper mounted. Don't forget business cards and a handout with information about your materials and process.
  • Come early and get set up before the audience arrives. This way you will have time to relax and talk to the audience before you start. This often helps to alleviate some of the butterflies!
  • And finally here is a tip I overheard from a conversation among pastel masters.......If the painting isn't working or going in the direction you wanted keep painting and don't apologize or even let on that it isn't working. Your audience will probably never know. If you get nervous and start apologizing it will make the audience uncomfortable. 

Come paint with me!! 
There are still a few spaces available in my upcoming two day workshop in Ann Arbor Michigan. I will be teaching at Artensity Workshops the first week of November. The three day workshop filled quickly so we added a two day workshop. The workshop theme is 'The Mystery and Magic of the Underpainting' and will be held on Thursday and Friday November 9th and 10th.  Click here for details and registration.  

My unfinished cloud demo from New Mexico before adding some final marks.

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