Over time I have received many emails regarding attending workshops. I often read how nervous an artist is about attending a session even from the most established in the art world. I read comments on how others feel they are not good enough to come or how they have never been on a workshop before. Some coming are really worried about being in a room full of far better artists. Then I will hear from the artist who has been painting for years but feels stuck in a rut or the artist who has completely lost motivation. Or the artist eager to try something new. I often hear from many artists who want to come back time and time again for the adrenalin rush of being in a room full of enthusiasm.I know how they feel. I always have a sense of excitement as my own workshops draw near because I put so much into them and to be honest I gain so much from them too. Without fail I always meet fascinating people who hold a passion or curiosity for watercolour as a medium.
There are many different people attending workshops all over the world and many hold similar feelings.
As it is the time of year when many exciting workshops are coming up I thought I would share a few of my thoughts.
1) Nerves. The only person who really has a reason to be nervous in a workshop is the tutor.The artist demonstrating. Every part of how the workshop is enjoyed and comes over rests on their shoulders. I usually explain this the minute my workshops start and after the first few minutes everyone is already relaxed and laughing. You see if I am not nervous how can you be? So enjoy every minute of being on a workshop and if you are nervous remember others in the room may be also but hiding it well!
2) Other Artists on the Session. Everyone has chosen to attend the same workshop because they love the artists work. Everyone is there for the same reason. To watch the demonstrator and improve. Never forget that every single artist is aware that we were all beginners once. In fact the artists with less experience are often made to feel comfortable immediately because we have all been standing in their shoes at some point.
3) Relax and bear in mind when we are painting nothing else matters. Often you could hear a pin drop on my workshops as no one is interested in what anyone elsse is doing.They are far too wrapped up in their own painting!
1) Look at the artists work and if it is what you are looking for then make a booking well in advance.
2) Be brave,book with artists who are at a higher level than you in both skill and their art journey. If you keep going to a beginners class there is a possibility you could stay a beginner for a very long time or even feel great in the group with a false impression of how good you really are. Choose a workshop level that is suitable for you but one that is always a little bit higher in standard than your own and keep stretching yourself!
3) If an artists list of workshops is fully booked ask if they have a waiting list or when their next workshops will be available. You may then be one of the first on the next schedule.
On the Workshop
1) Arrive early and take everything you need with you. Prepare well before leaving home and ensure you have enough paper to try all you see. The most commonly forgotten item on my sessions is a water container!
2) Take all your watercolour euipment including your favourite shades. Take a few resource subjects with you in case you aren't happy with what is provided.
3) Take one or two of your own paintings and if the instructor has time ask for their opinion and tips on how to improve your work. Not all demonstrators will but it does help them to understand on which areas you can improve most.
4) Work! There are always breaks for coffee and tea and these are the times to get to know your fellow artists on the workshop. Many sessions are expensive so make the most of them by painting at every opportunity.
5) Don't interrupt a fellow artist when they are in the middle of a wonderful connection with their work. Bear in mind that just because someone isn't holding a brush doesn't mean they are not thinking about where their first brushstroke is going to be!
Following the Workshop.
1) Having taken the time to choose an artist and watch their demonstrations make sure you set time to work on the new ideas when you leave the workshop at home or in your studio. Practise all you have taken in as much as possible.
2) Try to incorporate new ideas and techniques with your own. Avoid cloning! Remember no matter how brilliantly you are copying someone else this work will never be your own creation. Always aim to be unique!
3) Stay in touch with an email showing the artist your new work since the session.Let the artist know how much you enjoyed the workshop and explain if you would like a future booking. When sessions become available you may then be one of the first to know.
Most importantly of all enjoy every second and let it show in your new creations!