Thursday, March 03, 2005

Workshop is finished!

Back from day 2 of the workshop, it was fun and again everyone seemed to enjoy themselves! Here is a link to pictures of the students: Workshoppers (Click on the word Workshoppers)
The workshop was held in the basement of a church that Idaho Watercolor Society had rented. It's not a pretty space but it's very functional, there's lots of room for all the stuff artists like to bring and need for the classes. There is also a handy kitchen with refridgerators and sinks etc.

The goal of the workshop was to help the students understand the value of working in their sketchbooks, how in so many ways it can help to free them up with their art and discover how to be more creative and less predictable as well as realize that the sketchbook does not need any justification.
I had made a packet for each student including an essay giving them a little sketch of my background with art (including a some images of my earliest paintings) along with a couple of demos on how to make a drawing from a squiggle as well as how to make one begining with a letter. I had also printed a list of links to websites with great drawing and art as well as 12 litte examples of how I use markers and pens to achieve line, value, depth and interesting effects in my drawings. I included in the packet of printed materiels that I gave each student a sase with a survey to be filled out after the workshop, it was to find out how they evaluated the workshop and what suggestions they had for how I could improve in the future. I also had my sketchbooks there so the students could look at them and see how I work.

After going over the drawing demos, the first project was to do a drawing or drawings starting with a squiggle or a letter and encouraged them to just relax and not worry about things like if the subject matter was acceptable or if they were doing their drawing "right" or if it would ever become anything besides a drawing in their sketchbooks. I encouraged them to take their drawings to a finished stage, not just sketches but complete drawings (in color) that would stand alone.
The next project was to do a drawing/drawings of anything but to make it emotionally expressive. Since the theme for Illustration Friday is "Jazz" I suggested that as a subject along with a number of other ideas in case they did not come up with something. I talked a lot about "working out problems with composition, design, color, value etc." in the sketchbook which can only happen if the drawing is finished.
It was interesting to watch the women one by one relax and get into drawing with no pressure and just for the fun of it. At the end of the first day each student enthusiastically shared her drawings and talked about the experience. Most of the students wanted to go home and draw more!
We also talked about the "What Ifs". By this I mean that although the drawings were done for the pleasure of drawing, while they were being shared I would ask, "What if" this drawing were made into a watercolor painting and we would talk a little about the possibilities?
The idea that a drawing that was silly or made just for fun could possibly become an interesting painting was really fun to explore and led us to today's projects.
I started the day by showing the students a simple, low tech way to transfer and enlarge their drawings to watercolor paper. After that the day was spent doing just that and then painting. I tried to help everyone in every way that I could by making suggestions and giving encouragement as much as possible on both days. We ended the day with another sharing session and lots of smiles and great ideas. I am looking forward to getting the surveys back, not to get pats on the back but rather to get constructive ideas on how I can improve if I'm ever asked to do a workshop again. I think it went well, especially since it was a first, I really enjoyed it, but I know there is room for improvement.

And I explained all that because a couple of you have asked what the workshop was about. So now you know!

Right now I'm tired but happy and looking forward to doing some drawing for myself tonight.

And a HUGE thank you to all my LJ friends who have been so incredibly supportive and encouraging! It was really great to have your votes of confidence!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi - here is the url

i tried to leave a comment earlier and it may have failed... that the write up and pictures from your workshop were great and that you must feel so accomplished and probably really tired. So cool... enjoy the weekend. patty

12:04 PM  
Blogger Ro said...

Your workshop sound wonderful. I wish I could have taken it! From what you have said, you've touched your student's lives. I am sure they all got a lot out of it.

9:16 AM  

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