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View Poll Results: Have you ever taken an art workshop?
Yes many 62 41.33%
Yes once 30 20.00%
No 26 17.33%
No but I am going to in the future 32 21.33%
Voters: 150. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-17-2009, 05:07 PM
bdmandel bdmandel is offline
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Unhappy Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I am really answering your question about non-local teachers giving workshops vs local ones. My husband and I are painters and have had numerous workshops cancelled because the sponsoring art store was unable to get enough students to make their workshops for visiting artists profitable. This happened today and we are bummed because we were looking forward to going to NC for an oil painting workshop next week. The artist is supposed to be very popular and we thought we would have been able to pick up some really great ideas and techniques. The sponsoring group for workshops should try to please the people who have to make plans to attend and have some way of using local talent for these workshops. I am really glad that we had planned on travelling by auto, because if I had to cancel airfare and couldn't, I would never again purchase any supplies from the sponsor. So I am also asking if any artists are giving workshops near Raleigh, NC in oils next week or anywhere east of the Mississippi River? Thanks, bdmandel
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Old 07-17-2009, 07:25 PM
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jholdway jholdway is offline
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

Sorry about that. That has happened to me a lot as a teacher. Just an idea--Try posting on Craigslist in the artists section asking for a private teacher. I bet you get some good responses. Since it is summer someone could take you plein air painitng or do a private lessons in their studio. I have done private lessons before with students in my studio. It works well. I would perfer it but it is hard to find students. I think art students feel weird about taking private lessons for some reason. I would think of it like taking guitar lessons. Its not especially expensive and you learn a lot more than in a class room setting. I bet you get some resonable prices. Let me know.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:05 AM
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Scattykat Scattykat is offline
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by netty cary
Small classes, wonderful environment, great demonstrations, and a personal touch.
totally agree...

cjorgense said...So, in my “dream workshop”, I would want this:

They tell me bring the colors they actually use.
They do a demo.
They explain the demo as they go: (what they are mixing, what they are thinking, how they are doing it.)
I am expected to paint “their way”,and to implement what they are teaching me.
They come around and give me helpful suggestions about their technique and methods so I can learn even more.

If I ask a question, I get a real answer.
...agree with the above, EXCEPT I am expected to paint “their way”, oh no no no, not for me, I have walked out of a class for that very reason. For me I seekis to enhance my artistic techniques and develop my skills and my own style. I have also given workshops too, and I do not wish to 'remodel' anyone, variety and individuality is so important. When I take a workshop I stick by the saying 'I am but a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage'...
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Old 09-28-2009, 11:05 PM
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BOHEMIANTINKER BOHEMIANTINKER is offline
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I have taken a few workshop from Master painters: Terry Ludwig,Sally Strand,Kitty Wallis,Susan Ogilvie etc. some better than other's. IMO what makes for a dynamite workshop is the atmosphere that the instructor sets-it must be upbeat and not too controlling (nervous instructors seem to over control and shut down the learning/creative atmosphere that is so crucial to growth)and at the same time have the ability to impart their knowledge in a way that students can relate to. I love local workshops since traveling is exhausting and time consuming. Maybe weekly makes it easier for too many no shows and possibly teaching locally but only a few a year would make for higher attendance!

I actually own one of your paintings John and you were one of the first Artist/instructor that I received some guidance from-you came to my home and gave me a lesson that I greatly appreciated-Your work is Beautiful!
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:09 AM
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Anne-Marie Anne-Marie is offline
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Smile Re: What makes a good Workshop?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjorgensen
So, in my “dream workshop”, I would want this:

They tell me bring the colors they actually use.
They do a demo.
They explain the demo as they go: (what they are mixing, what they are thinking, how they are doing it.)
I am expected to paint “their way”, and to implement what they are teaching me.
They come around and give me helpful suggestions about their technique and methods so I can learn even more.
If I ask a question, I get a real answer.

That's what I would like.

This response and SQuip's response are the ones that resonated the most with me.

I have taken 7 art "classes" (i.e. at school as part of my program in Interior Design) and 2 "workshops" (one at a community college, one at a community center) in the last couple years. By and large, I didn't find the workshops to be helpful at all, while the art classes I have taken have largely been helpful, a few enourmously so, but one was pretty bad and another was nothing short of Awful.

The reason why I think the workshops weren't as helpful are not necessarily the instructor's fault. I think it is tough leading a workshop, because people take it as a kind of entertainment, i.e. they are not necessarily very serious, and this brings down the level of the whole class. At least in all of the classes at school I've taken, the great majority of the class was very serious and really trying. But when you have people coming in late, leaving early, talking off-subject, etc. .. . then, yeah, it really brings down the rest of the class. I guess it's tough because unlike a regular teacher/professor, a workshop leader isn't in the position to be tough on students who are slacking, rude, a distraction, or just coming to be entertained and who get bored. It's a tough role, I think, to lead the workshops/classes.

That said, the classes that were by far the most helpful were taught by a man who would give us step-by-step instruction via demonstration. This was for a marker rendering class (he also taught a perspective class) and he would use a projector on which he would draw as he talked. He told us what colors he used; he explained exactly what he was doing. He pointed out common errors and how they happen and how not to let it happen to you, or what to do to fix it if it did happen. He went slow enough for everyone to follow along but not so slow that people lost patience, so he had a good feel for the class' mean average time to accomplish something. Afterwards, he would come around and look at your stuff and give you feedback on it--honest feedback. He was always nice and kind and decent, but he would also tell you what was wrong. He'd make it an issue of technique and not talent: "See, here you sort of lost the edge and so it's hard to tell the background from the foreground. When you ink it you'll want to pay particular attention to right here . . ." etc.

On the other hand, the worst instructor was one who shamed people--including me in front of the entire class. He was of the opinion that perspective drawings should be mathematically correct, and I couldn't manage to do that. This was for a college class, for a grade and credit. I would re-do assignments three, four times, to no avail. Finally one week I spend 40 HOURS re-doing assignments to pull ahead. I was so proud of myself! I really thought I had gotten it right. But when I got to class and showed him my work, he made a face and then told me--in front of the class--that I was "unteachable." I actually went back to my desk and cried. Went to the bathroom to clean up, came back, and . . . cried again. Went back to the bathroom, came back and . . . cried again. And I'm not an easy crier, either. Finally, after 6 re-iterations, I packed up my stuff and left. I never went back. And I dropped out for five quarters. When I came back, it was to a sister school, where the aforementioned great teacher taught. I took the same class--with the great teacher, and made progress in leaps and bounds. And I got an "A", too. So much for being "unteachable."
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Last edited by Anne-Marie : 05-25-2010 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:56 AM
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Horsa Horsa is offline
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I'm going to answer from my perspective from a radically different art medium - wrought iron.

The best workshops I have attended have been those where the instructor had clearly thought ahead about what they were going to be presenting. I don't go to a workshop to watch someone make it up as they go along.

A good workshop has a good demonstration of a technique or style, perhaps a finished piece or element that can be incorporated into other pieces.

I don't always plan to copy what I see in a workshop. Sometimes I am just interested in the "how did they do that?" Just watching new ways of manipulating media can be very inspiring.

A hands on component is very valuable, although I have been to successful workshops that did not include this. The ley is to be able to take good notes during demonstrations and then practice what you saw. If the instructor is available to offer c&c as your work progresses so much the better.

Fellow participants can also make a big difference in the outcome of a workshop. If they are respectful of the presenter, ask good questions, and do not monopolize the instructors time they can go a long way towards making a workshop rewarding. As others have noted the social networking aspect of a workshop is quite valuable.
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Old 12-10-2010, 08:04 PM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I totally agree with SQuiP: If I can walk away from a workshop excited, inspired and eager to get working, I truly feel it was worth my while!
Sometimes students are too worried about their little master pieces which they want to take home at the end
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:38 PM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

A good workshop instructor can adjust their lessons and critiques to the students various levels.

In the last class I took there were students who could barely draw at all, and students who sold portrait commissions professionally. The teacher was able to scale his demos and critiques for the students level.

In addition to showing us how to draw like him, he also showed us how to draw in general.

I don't usually want to learn only how a particular teacher does their gimmick. Because if I did their gimmick, I wouldn't be learning to be a professional artist with my own voice and style, I would just be learning how to copy them. I want a little of both so I can progress eventually and make those skills my own.

I usually prefer to learn from teachers who don't have an incredibly pronounced style, because I want to learn skills not just style. However, I figure that the teacher will need to cater to different types and I am pretty forgiving as long as I get some quality instruction.
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:28 PM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I have taken 2 classes from local instructors. One 'watercolors for men' class taught by Annie Murphy Springer this last Spring, was half firefighters (she is a retired fire chief of Bodega, CA). I am an acrylic artist, and was amazed at her knowledge, technique, portfolio, and access to try all brands of paint, sable brushes, grounds, papers, Yupo etc. I have a new appreciation for the challenges the medium presents and the skill involved in making a good watercolor.

I took another acrylic landscape class recently from Karen Lynn Ingalls, who posts here on Wet Canvas as 'azure wings.' Once again an amazing instructor, her technique, palette, portfolio and instructional techniques are superb. I am planning on attending her open studio tomorrow, hoping she has something left...she is that good.

Both of these ladies understand and employ the 'adult learning model' in their classes. Simple enough for any instructor, it is "see one, do one, teach one." It is obvious when you take a class from an instructor who does not get that concept.

I would take classes from either Annie or Karen again. I am sure they both have more knowledge to impart.

Last edited by Rob't Emmet : 09-24-2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: edit
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:50 PM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

Thanks Robert
I do lots of demos in my classes but I haven't tried having them teach. I am going to try it.
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Old 09-25-2011, 06:00 AM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I guess the modification / adaptation to that would be that if they understand the material or technique well enough (after being shown and trying it themselves) to be able to show someone else how to do it. şżş
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:13 PM
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Re: What makes a good Workshop?

I have taken a few workshops and even flew from NC to CO once to do a weekend with Armin Mersmann (WORTH IT!!) I agree that knowledge and skill, plus creative and informative critiques, are the most important things.

I've taken 2 workshops on colored pencil, and I won't name the artists, but they could not have been more different. In the first, the artist was very good, did demos, gave lots of advice, free samples, etc.

In the second, the artist was not able to answer simple questions about the materials (like, what binder was used in this brand as opposed to this other brand...even I knew that!) and she basically showed her work, and then let people do whatever they wanted. There was very little instruction or information given. Even though I played along (and quietly answered some of the questions other people had about the materials) apparently she picked up on the fact that she hadn't taught me anything at all, and actually apologized after the class. I still had fun, and got to meet some other artists, so it wasn't a loss, but I definitely didn't get out of that class what I wanted to.
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