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Sunday, January 28, 2018

How to Prepare for an Art Workshop

I love taking workshops! I also love teaching and the many workshops I have taken over the years have made it possible for me to grow as an artist and now to be able to share the things I've learned with you! I have a busy year ahead with workshops and other fun travel (more on that soon) and I hope it will be my pleasure to have the opportunity to meet and share with many of you!

If you are planning to attend an art workshop this year, here are some tips for preparation.

  • 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!

1 comment:

robertsloan2art said...

One tip on that Notebook - years ago on a whim I bought a Bienfang Notesketch. It just looked cool, the idea of those old scientific field books appealed to me. Each page is half ruled and half blank for drawing. So there's enough room for both written notes and copied diagrams or other sketches. It kicked around for a while till I took an online workshop.

Whether you tend to lengthy notes as I do or to lots of unlabeled diagrams, the layout evens that out. The fact of illustrating with captions on the fly encourages thumbnails practice in effect - especially when I used small brush pens for it, but soft colored pencils would do just as well. Or scribbled textures in fine point pen. Just something that colors well on unsized paper without bleeding through.

Or you may just use a lined notebook and sketch on it ignoring the lines. It's just that the split page thing also encouraged those little sketches. Doing them helped as much with the lessons because thumbnails got easier, all sorts of preliminary sketching got easier including color studies.

An alternative would be using two notebooks, one plain and one lined, but keeping them in synch might be harder and one might get neglected. I really like the split pages for both taking thorough notes and doing a lot of quick-drawn sketching during any class. I guess it'd work to use a ring binder or mini ring binder alternating plain and lined pages.