Monday, February 20, 2012

Invest in your Creativity (A Workshop Review)

I am a big fan of workshops as a way to continue your art education. And as a busy mom, I especially love on-line workshops that I can join in at my own pace to fit my schedule. That's why I am taking Life Book 2012.  But, I wholeheartedly feel that nothing can take the place of artists gathering together and sharing their creativity energies. There is nothing like it. And if you are lucky enough to have some good juju with those you are working with, it can be pure MAGIC!
So, when the opportunity came up for me to attend a workshop by the amazing, super-talented, Lynn Whipple, I listened to my Inklings, and signed up.  Believe me, I had the inner critic trying to thwart my plan by listing the cons: the cost, the timing (within a few days), and the juggling I would have to do to clear a day for myself on such short notice. But the gentle whisperings in my belly won out.
 I heard, "Do this! This will be a great step for you to take."
I have been in the process of creating my own workshop, so that is part of the reason I wanted to take this one.  I've been gathering info on how others run their workshops to see what might work for me and what definitely doesn't.  File it under Research (along with the magazines and books!)
Plus, Lynn's studio is about 15 minutes from my house, and I truly recognize the treasure of having such a GREAT mixed-media artist available within a hop, skip, and a jump. She doesn't have that many workshops a year (although she promises to do more!), so it was now or never.  Well, maybe not NEVER, but it was definitely now, or wait until next year!

Sam Flax's Stacy Coon creating some beautiful pink layers.

 The workshop, entitled Art Jars, was scheduled to last from 10:00 to 4:30 and honestly I had some thoughts of what me might be doing to fill all that time.
 Let me just say that the phrase "Time flies when you are having fun!" has never been truer than on that day.

Lynn and Laurin MacLeish making some of those tiny adjustments that make a mixed media piece sing!
First, I just have to say that Lynn's studio is such a wonderful creative hive that you instantly feel welcome and excited and inspired. I could spend all day checking out her creations that fill the walls.  Immediately, we know we are going to have fun, it is going to be okay to get a little messy, and that we are welcome to touch, explore, and share her supplies and art goodies that are peeking out from their nooks all over the room. I felt comfortable to create. I want to reiterate the importance of that. If you don't feel comfortable to create, you cannot move past that. You might as well just watch TV.

Laurin's sweet Art Jar, entitled "Flower Children". 

Whenever you attend or take a workshop, I think it's important to ask yourself what you are hoping to get out of it. Aside from hanging out some fellow creatives, I always hope to learn something new.
I am not what you would consider a beginner. Although I have only just jumped into the mixed-media pool within the last year, I have been creating things and making art my whole life. I have never been afraid to try anything that sparks my creative desire, so I have dabbled in quite a few techniques over the years.
I was happy to learn some new techniques working with ink on glass using calligraphy pens.  It always helps to get recommendations on what products work well and are worth the cost and which ones will just gather dust and won't be worth the space they take up. It was delightful working with the art jars, and I don't think I'll look at another glass container or glass bottle the same way again.

Here's one that I created that day from an old Mateus Rose bottle.  Once I scraped away the label, I fell in love with the color and shape of this bottle.  We also talked about editing our artwork. About not being afraid to change it, to recreate it, to rip it, sew it, re-do it if you feel compelled. Follow that. You never know where it will lead. I think we all get to that place where we are really liking a piece and you get scared to go any further...what if you mess it up?  What it you can't go back? 
Push past that and see what happens. That's the exciting part. That's the 50-foot drop on a rollercoaster. Hang on and go for it. As long as you are breathing, there will be days to make more ART.
As much as I love how this one turned out...I have a sneaking feeling that I am going to change it. (I'll post what comes of that).

We also did some guided collage play that day, and this is what came about for me.  I ended up giving it to my husband for Valentine's day. Baker is a family name for him, so this old campaign sign was the perfect starting point for this.  Now, anyone who is familiar with Lynn Whipple's work, knows that mixed-media collage is HER thing.  Observing her create was a shining example of getting in the flow and going with it. Make selections, place things here and there, feel what looks good to you, make those tiny adjustments.  My husband absolutely LOVES this and it makes me happy to see it hanging in our home.
Lunch time with the fiesty, super-creative Marty Whipple! YUM!
I had so much fun spending the day with Lynn and the other workshop participants. Not to mention the merry cast of characters who randomly flowed through the studio, artists and neighbors, offering encouragement and local flavor, and most importantly, CHOCOLATE!  Lynn's, equally talented husband, John Whipple, prepared lunch for us. A beautifully poached salmon with a horseradish cream sauce along with a refreshing mixed-green salad with dates and bleu cheese chunks.  MMmmmmmmm!  Uh-huh, super delish!

This workshop was worth every penny and every minute. And more importantly, I left there with the feeling that I AM WORTH IT.

 If you live near Winter Park, I highly recommend you visit Lynn's workshop page  to find out if she's having another workshop locally. Or if you are going to be in the Santa Ana, CA area in May, you can join her and the fabulous Jenny Doh for "The Gigantic Joy of Collage" workshop.

Invest your time, energy, and money in your creativity. You are so worth it!

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  1. So very excited for you.

  2. YOU!! Oh my goodness!! This is so so so lovely!! You were a dream to spend time with! I am so thrilled that you were there with us that day, and may I just say, sometimes an experience has much to do with what you bring to it, and you brought such a kind and fun and open and wildly creative personality to the group! The pleasure was all mine/ours and I can't thank you enough for such a beautiful post about it!! You will make a splendid workshop leader!!
    I look forward to hearing about all of your plans!
    With lots of love!

  3. Looks like it was just a wonderful time! I can almost taste the creative juices and I'm so happy that you listened to your inklings, and went.


Aloha friends! It's so nice to hear from you!