The Importance of Workshops
I’ve been fortunate enough over the years to attend a number of art workshops held by a wide range of excellent art teachers. While some workshops have been more enjoyable and inspirational than others, I always come away with key information that is highly beneficial to me. After so many years of learning, practicing, experimenting and studying art books and magazines I often ask myself, why haven’t I already come across this information before?
Perhaps it’s not surprising then that I often encounter well established artists taking their place in class amongst us mere amateurs. I find this heartening as it reinforces to me that our artistic endeavours are, or should be, an endless journey of discovery. It’s great to see these established artists willing to put ego aside and open their eyes and minds to a fellow artist’s methods and techniques. I admire them all the more for it.
I personally prefer workshops that focus on practical exercises rather than discussion, and I particularly enjoy workshops where the tutor starts the session with a demonstration. It is always so interesting to see an experienced artist work quickly to produce quality artwork in a short time frame. This occurred at a John Crump workshop that I attended in Woodend, Victoria. John is a New Zealand artist and was teaching in Australia for the first time. Within 2 hours he produced an amazing landscape in oils on a reasonably large sized canvas while keeping his audience well informed on what he was doing and why.
As well as insight into his methods and techniques John also expressed the importance of painting on good quality canvas and, as an aside, provided some great ideas on how to clean our brushes quickly and effectively. We appreciated John sharing this information with us as there’s definitely one thing most oil painters would agree on, is how much we hate cleaning our brushes.
Another interesting aspect of attending workshops is to view the work of other participants. It’s quite amazing how everyone produces something quite different, even though we’re all using the same reference material. As well as improving existing skills, workshops are also a great way to explore an unfamiliar medium or style.
Typically held over a single day, workshops accelerate learning and provide artists with practical insight into techniques and methods that are often difficult to convey through books and other media. The added bonus is to spend a day in the company of like-minded individuals and get to meet some of our best teachers and artists. I would encourage anyone interested in art, from established artists to students and those picking up a brush for the first time, to participant in one of the many workshops available.
To help promote workshops and art tuition, we’ve compiled a list on the OzArt Finder website and are keen to expand on the information. If you are a teacher, workshop organiser or would like to tell us about your experience as a workshop participant, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Happy painting and happy learning.