How are you? All settled into the New Year? (You should be. It's February).
As some of you may know, I began teaching workshops late last year and, so far, I think they've been fantastic (if I do say so myself). Because I'm such a great teacher? Because they were the greatest art classes that my students had ever been to? No. I mean, maybe I am and maybe they were but that's not why I have loved them.
These classes have been fantastic because they are a wonderful excuse to just paint for the joy of painting. For the challenge of learning something new without any pressure of high expectations. To experiment and try doing old things in new ways! For everyone in attendance, especially myself!
If you are familiar with my work, you'll notice a trend of detail, intricacy and realism. I love the challenge of creating a realistic artwork. However, if I'm only ever painting because I "need" to produce something impressive/saleable then where is the creativity? There is creativity in composing a realistic piece, but the execution of it does involve following a lot of rules, takes a LOT of hours and there is pressure in that there is a high degree of what is 'right' and 'wrong' in that sort of work. As I say, I love this stuff and I'm going to keep doing it despite the challenges, but for me there needs to be a balance of light-hearted, purely fun creativity too!
Designing and creating the pieces to teach in my workshops has really been that! Yes, I do put a lot of thought and planning into them. The artwork needs to be just the right amount of challenging and achievable in the time that we have, must serve a purpose (ie. practicing a specific technique that is needed for watercolour painting), must have as much scope as possible for each artist to make the piece their own (no hate on the 'copy-and-paste' style workshops as they serve a purpose too) and also have easy potential for a beautiful artwork at the end of the class. But getting those balances right is fun for me and I truly enjoy the comparable freedom there is even within these parameters. Basically, I get to pick any subject, any style, any colours that I want and just make something pretty.
For me, that's the reason I do art. I don't just enjoy making things. I need to make things, even if they are just a simple little artwork. And, personally, I'm only interested in adding things to this world if they are beautiful.
So, I guess this is a thank you letter to those who have booked into my workshops. You've given me further purpose and permission to create fun and pretty artwork that focus on the process rather than the product. I hope that during my classes you felt the same way as you painted and gained new skills needed for creating your own creative pieces yourself. Just for the fun of it.
For anyone who would like to know about any future workshops I am running head to my 'Paint with Me' page on my website and also subscribe to my mailing list (make sure you check the box!). All subscribers are the first to know about any newly scheduled workshops so you can be first to book a space!
Annnnd now I'm off to design a new workshop artwork.