workshops: looking back at 2009
It's odd for me to think that a year ago at this time, I was a workshop rookie. It's not that I was new to teaching--I'd conducted a few week-long summer workshops on abstraction, plus I had several years of part time college teaching, as adjunct faculty, up through the late 90s--but it had been ten years since I'd done any of that. Teaching my own techniques for using cold wax medium, in a small, hands-on, intensive class was a new idea to me. When I invited to teach my first workshop at Rochester Art Supply last April, I wondered if this was something I really wanted to get into and whether I would enjoy it enough to be worthwhile. After brainstorming with a friend or two, and developing a class plan and materials list, I decided to give it a try.
Since then I've tweaked and refined the class in many small ways, and revised it to fit into a one, two or three day format. But the original plan has held up well. I introduce a variety of techniques for using cold wax medium through demos, and participants develop their own paintings in an individualistic way during work time. The class also includes discussions, slide shows and other information, as much as time allows. At the end of each teaching day, I'm ready to collapse--it's intensive, but rich and lively.
After my first workshop in Rochester went well, I was open to doing more--and the remainder of the year filled up. In July I went to Redwood City, CA (pictured above), and in October I taught at Peninsula School of Art in Door County, WI. I also held three one-day sessions in my studio. In each of these workshops, I met remarkable artists and thoroughly enjoyed our interactions and seeing the work that evolved.
The Redwood City workshop was the first one that was initiated and coordinated by an interested artist (Connie Kleinjans) who simply emailed me to ask if I would come--and many emails later, it was all worked out. Now there are several more artist-initiated workshops scheduled for 2010, as well as some at established workshop venues. At this point, I'm fully booked or at least "penciled in" for 2010 (in some cases, dates or other details have not been confirmed.)
My idea is to teach as much as I reasonably can, while giving myself sufficient studio time. I know that for me, travel is wonderful but tiring and disruptive to my focus...time will tell if the schedule I have arranged for the coming year fits my intention of preserving studio time, but it feels right to me now.
The response to my workshops has been really gratifying, both from people who have already taken the class and from those who contact me about future classes. I'm discovering that cold wax medium appeals strongly to many painters, just as it appealed to me when I first started using it. Cold wax shares some visual qualities and effects with encaustic painting, but is simpler to use, requires no special set-up and emits fewer fumes.
The list of upcoming Oil and Wax Workshops for 2010 may be viewed on my website
. Dates and specifics will be added as they become available.