I just spent a blissful week of teaching, learning, and expanding my circle of inspiration sources with eleven other wonderful women artists who participated in my ‘Watercolor From The Center’ workshop at the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Art Center near Spring Green Wisconsin.
Some participants were first-time painters, others were experienced artists and teachers already. All were generous with their creative knowledge, experience, and willingness to give themselves over to a learning experience that privileged process over product. We quieted our ‘judges voices,’ experimented with approaches to painting that we had never tried before, and allowed ourselves to see ‘exactly how much fun we CAN have if we get out of our own way’. None-the-less wonderful artworks emerged in the form of paintings, experiment sheets, and artist trading cards.
You know you are ‘in the flow’ when spirals appeared everywhere, even in Carrie’s dried paint dish!
I don’t think I can do a better job of further describing the experience than sharing a poem gifted to me. It describes the experience of the workshop. It was written by the artist who painted the image that leads off this blog, Spring Green writer, Mary Friedel-Hunt.
they all came hungry
each new technique
with an urgency
visible to all
enjoyed by all.
each grabbed up by
artists starving for new ways
to make art…
real, joyful, passionate
gave and gave
to her “brood”
whose open minds and hearts
voraciously took in
all she shared
and share she did.
a perfect week
of art making.
While all of the participants brought amazing gifts to the workshop, some have their artworks available for us to see online. Check out these websites of some of the workshop participants:
- Sue Johnson, teacher and artist extraordinar. Look for her paintings and studio on the South Western Wisconsin 2012 Fall Art Tour, October 19-21.
- Wendy Fern Hutton offers non-traditional doll making classes at the Madison starting in September. Go to the Madison Senior Center for more information and to register.
In this workshop we used art as a thinking process to draw on the knowledge we already have to guide us as we move forward with our creative thinking front and center in our lives. In one of the collage exercises we created a central image representing our most precious creative self, and filled in the negative space (the background) with images of those things that nurture it.
As a final gift to this and future workshop participants, and you, I share below one of the popular painting demos I do in most of my workshops. This technique for developing a watercolor is called Negative Shape Painting. Here the subject is a small grove of birch trees:
Thank you to all the participants in my summer workshops. It has been an extraordinary summer so far. I look forward to continuing the experience next week at Bjorklunden, in Door County (it is full) , and then back to the Wyoming Valley School Cultural Art Center near Spring Green, WI for Watercolor: The Expressive Medium, a weekend watercolor workshop in mid August.
There are still a couple of spots left in the August workshop, and in my week-long watercolor workshop Watercolor: A Fresh Start, designed for beginners and those in need of a refresher, and offered at Bjorklunden in Door County in September. Descriptions and registration information can be accesses here.
Keep making art!