Time for blogging escaped me this past week--I was so busy getting ready for my first extended Oil and Wax Workshop in my studio, which meant a lot of cleaning and organizing--then teaching for three days on the weekend. Everything went very well except for one slight glitch...I came down with a bad sinus infection which wiped out my energy and clogged up my vocal chords. But the show went on, thanks to the gracious attitude of the participants, who urged me to take needed breaks and helped in various ways to keep things moving. And at the end of the day, especially with feeling less than 100%, I was grateful to be in my own bed.
Although I go through the same basic material about techniques for using cold wax medium in each workshop, each class is unique. I notice that certain things I say in the course of teaching tend to strike a chord and become a catch phrase for the weekend (for this group it was "knock it back"...referring to the way I like to bury imagery and technique under layers.) Often someone will bring in ideas related to a different area of expertise that are a good fit for using with cold wax--in this class, one of the artists is well versed in making textural effects in watercolor, and suggested some new uses for cheesecloth and solvents. Each group mentions favorite books, artists, galleries and museums in the course of conversation, adding to my own general knowledge which I can pass along to other classes. I also enjoy the fact that although people come in with very different levels of experience and background in the art world, this seems to lead to generous sharing of ideas and feedback rather than creating any rift or division in the class.
Without exception I have had cohesive groups with wonderful energy and enthusiasm, lots of laughter and interaction, along with long stretches of serious concentration. But each group has its own dynamic and particular direction, and each group contributes to the overall knowledge and growing enthusiasm for using cold wax medium. I find special enjoyment in teaching in my own studio, where I can grab a book off the shelf or pull out an older painting to illustrate something I am talking about. But teaching in other venues also offers the stimulation of a new area and generally a more spacious set-up than my own studio. The larger groups possible in these bigger spaces have their own dynamic.
This workshop has kicked off the busy and exciting summer and fall season of teaching ahead. For details on upcoming workshops--most of which I will teach away from home--please visit my website