I recently took a painting workshop with artist Dreama Tolle Perry, whose work I admire enough to pay tuition, airfare, hotel, and car rental to attend. I went with two friends whom I consider seasoned workshoppers. They have studied with many, many artists around the country and know how to make the most of their time. I am glad I was able to go with them and learn the ropes.
One thing I learned on my own long ago was that most of the paintings made in a workshop are not always good, nor are they complete. Once I was past all that, my workshop experiences were better.
There is a reason it’s called a “WORKSHOP.” First, one goes to learn something new, which I did, and WORK. A lot. The first day was full of new information, techniques, a demonstration, and I was pumped.
I thought my painting looked pretty good, and it was actually complete. So much for my previous thoughts on workshops. The three of us were so energized that we went to the hotel and PRACTICED what we learned.
The next day I struggled, and my friends explained it this way: After a successful opener, the second day is going to be a let down. Not only was my painting disappointing, I was TIRED.
All of us were worn out, so after supper we did not practice. On the final day we were able to paint from our own resources. Although I liked my results, it was not complete. Dreama was extremely helpful, and the other participants were complimentary.
My friends also explained to me: On the third day, take a few hours off. Go SHOPPING! They went shopping on the town square, then came back to shop more at the workshop, where they could purchase calendars, notebooks, aprons, and more.
That’s why it’s called a “WORKSHOP.” You go to Work, then Shop. And hopefully learn and make something to take home with you.