“Every Artist Was First an Amateur’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I recently attended a week long workshop with Skip Lawrence in Santa Barbara. Skip is an artist; a long time artist who teaches all over the country and has been painting for over 40 years. I was on a wait list for 2 years before I was able to get in. The thing is, I hated just about every minute of it. He has a reputation for being very forthright and hard on you and your work. But that part was ok as I was prepared for that. What was hard was that I had to unlearn practically everything I had learned in art and painting over the past 20 some odd years. Every evening I would go back to the hotel feeling irritated, angry, and just plain frustrated. I couldn’t tell if I felt angry with him, or because I couldn’t do what he was teaching or that I didn’t ‘get’ why he was undoing everything I had known, such as nixing the focal point.
Well, now that I have been back for a while, I am beginning to see that what he was teaching does have value, but it turned me upside down. It reminds me of the tarot card called “The Hanged Man”, who is literally hanging upside down by one leg. This card speaks to seeing things from another or new viewpoint. Imagine seeing the world from an upside down position. This same thing happened when I was getting my doctorate as well…everything I thought I knew was really the opposite when looked at from a deeper perspective. Having life as you know it completely altered forever changes you. Have you ever had this experience?
It would be easy to just throw the whole thing out, to dismiss it by saying he didn’t know what he was talking about. But I’ve learned to sit with it, to let it percolate and let it in for me in ways that are not comfortable but still worth exploring.
I think the most important thing I learned ( so far) is how much there is to learn. A wealth of skill and knowledge is out there from other more seasoned artists. Joseph Addison said, “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.” Workshops inspire skill building, connectivity and personal development for both professional and personal reasons. Its called a “work” shop because it’s a place where you are working at many levels. A workshop can renew you or your passion in what you love.
I certainly developed new perspectives from that week; many I am still integrating.
It definitely challenged me, but then, that’s what I wanted.
April 1st Art Walk. I am preparing for the first Auburn Art walk of the year. I will be showing at OLAS (The Old Library in Auburn) at 175 Almond St. from 6-9:00 p.m. with 4 other very talented artists. The date has been moved to Friday evenings. Please come by and say hello.
2 Day Workshop- Painting with Multimedia:
A 2 day workshop at my home studio presented with gallery owner and artist, Gini Crepps. This workshop invites you to explore a unique process in new ways of self expression. We will lead you into creating your own mixed media painting by combining textures, unusual mediums with various materials. You will go home with a completed painting! April 8 & 9, 10:00 – 4:30 p.m. Friday lunch included. $275 early registration by Mar. 20. Register on my website, or contact me by email for a flyer or for more information.