Workshop Descriptions

The following workshops are in one- to five-day formats (specified under the title). I also offer a five-day Collage Journeys workshop in my own Vermont studio.

Abstract Painting: Series as Process

This is a five-day workshop.

abstractIn this workshop we explore the idea that working in series is a process. Whether the resulting pieces “hang together” or not is secondary to the notion that this process gives you breathing room to explore multiple possibilities, try out different solutions to visual “problems”, and develop confidence in uncertainty. To some, the idea of "Creating a Series" can be intimidating. It sounds so serious, and perhaps monumental. I am offering this workshop to emphasize the series as a way to format your art practice, rather than a method of creating a group of finished pieces. Working in series gives your art practice focus and momentum; rather than face the blank canvas with too many possibilities to choose from, the parameters of a series create clarity of a starting point. By considering the series the basic unit of art making, you shed the preciousness of the individual piece, the fear of “ruining” it, which can keep you stuck. Get un-stuck by working in multiples. Using acrylic paints, collage, and drawing media, we will work in multiples based on specific guidelines and examples. As the workshop progresses, you will work more independently, setting your own parameters and starting points. Most importantly you will learn the practice of working in series as a way to keep your creativity alive and thriving!  

Intuitive Painting

This is a one-day to five-day workshop

3Connect directly to your intuition and express yourself with paint, drawing, and collage.  Discover new tools and techniques that get you out of a rut and into a more spontaneous way of working.  We will paint to music, draw with crayons, create our own collage papers, improvise, collaborate, and more.  Learn to be present to the process, let go of expectations that inhibit you, and expand your expressive capacity. All techniques are accessible, so those with less experience can jump right in.  Experienced painters will find this a refreshing way to re-energize their art practice.  If you have never painted before, this is a great way to start!        

 Layering and Excavating

This is a two-day to five-day workshop

layeringWe all love that complex, mysterious look of layering and depth, but how do you achieve it? The trick is building up those layers gradually, and obscuring or removing (excavating) previous layers selectively. Sometimes your finished piece betrays nothing of its original layer, but this process offers lots of opportunity for play and experimentation. Why put that first layer down if you are only going to cover over it? The answer is that the first layer is a starting point from which you build subsequent layers, and ultimately end up with a finished piece of art. All the layers are necessary to the process, even if you can’t see some of them. In this workshop I will show you many of the techniques I use to layer and excavate, to create visual texture and atmosphere. Learn to Paint Over with confidence, and let go of the attachment to the Finished Product. Free yourself from the bonds of perfectionism. Allow your paintings to reveal and conceal, to suggest depth under a quiet surface. Learn to use your paints and mediums effectively, and gain the freedom and spontaneity of a layered approach.      

 Visual Improvisation

This is a two-day to five-day workshop

Paint Solo 1Use acrylic paints, collage, and drawing materials to explore a visual world beyond the usual design principles and concerns of composition. Let go of Rules and Expectations and discover what is unique about you as an artist. If you’ve ever tried this, you’ll know that it is SO much more easily said than done. How do you silence the voices that tell you that you have to Get It Right? If you paint without concern for color theory or accurate representation will you just make a mess? In this workshop we’ll take a broader view of composition, and you will gain the tools to create in a more personal voice. I use the term “improvisation” to describe this approach because it is very much like playing a solo in jazz: In a typical jazz solo, the musician makes up a melody as she goes along, over a set of chord changes that define the song. In “free jazz”, you can make it up without the underlying chord progression. We’ll begin with an underlying structure so that you can create variations on a theme; then we’ll move to a broader kind of visual improvisation where you get to compose-as-you-go in every aspect of the painting. This workshop is open to those with some experience. If you are familiar with acrylic painting materials and have basic knowledge of color mixing, you qualify.    

100 Drawings, Paintings, and Explorations

This is a five-day workshop

100How do you make good art? How do you make art that is truly yours? My view is that there are no tricks, gimmicks, or shortcuts to this elusive goal: it just takes a lot of art making to cultivate your inner awareness of who you are as an artist. Fortunately, making a lot of art is fun, if you can let go of the expectations and negative voices (that inner critic!) that get in your way. In this workshop we will focus on quantity – making a lot of pieces from a given starting point. The pieces don’t have to be “good”; they don’t even have to be finished. By focusing on quantity, you begin to let go of the constant judgment and evaluation that can get you stuck, and you get the practice you need to move through the ordinary frustrations of making art. We will also have a chance to slow down and go deeper into the work as well. Loosen up, be expansive and generous with yourself, and have fun! This is an intermediate course, open to those with familiarity with acrylic painting materials and basic understanding of color. If you have taken any courses in painting, or had at least some experience with the medium, you qualify.    

Big Fat Art

This is a two-day to five-day workshop.

Big Fat Art is a state of mind rather than a specific kind of art.  It is all about process, and about working on multiple pieces. We start on big fat cheap drawing paper with inexpensive paints and drawing materials so that you can’t possibly worry about Wasting Good Paint.  If you do come up with finished pieces, there are ways to make this paper durable and archival. Big Fat Art begins with process; we work on multiple pieces at once, starting each one using specific materials within given parameters.  Then we do another “pass” on all of them, with a different set of parameters.  After the second pass, we use the pieces-in-process as playgrounds for trying many different things.In order to jumpstart Big Fat Art, we begin with timed exercises that force you out of your thinking mode and into your intuitive mode.  It is impossible not to loosen up and get in a playful mood with these exercises.  Loosening up is key.  Over the course of the workshop you will learn how to shift over into this intuitive mode and apply it to your work, whether big fat or teeny tiny. After dozens of initial playgrounds on cheap paper, we move on to good paper.  We start the pieces in a similar spontaneous mode, but work on them longer, and make the effort to bring them to resolution.  Resolving pieces is part of the process, and the more you loosen up in the initial stages of Big Fat Art, the more facility you develop for finishing pieces, AND For knowing when they are finished.    

Monoprint Collage

This is a two-day to five-day workshop

monoprint collageDiscover a whole new world of artistic possibility when you combine collage and paint with monoprinting techniques. First we will layer colors, patterns, and textures on the GelliArts gel plate to create gorgeously printed collage papers. Then we will integrate monoprint and collage techniques using masks and stencils, to build images directly on a paper substrate.  The boundaries between painting, monoprinting, and collage disappear as you gain a fluidity of process and an exciting new means of creative expression.        
 

Balancing Opposites: The Yin and Yang of Composition

This is a two-day to five-day workshop

balancingoppositesComposition means the arrangements of elements and their relationships to one another within the framework of your painting or collage (or any art form). Yet the concept of composition is elusive.  There are so many factors all working together at once - color, line, shape, contrast, focal area, movement, etc.  How do you keep track of them all?  Approaching composition from the standpoint of Balancing Opposites can be an enlightening way to tackle the subject.  In teaching, I find myself repeatedly saying things like: “all of your colors are saturated.  How about balancing that out with some neutrals?” or “your values seem to be all mid-range.  How about including very dark and/or very light values?” or “your piece is very busy; how about some quiet space?” In this workshop we will explore the elements and principles of composition in terms of pairs of opposites:  bright/dull; large/small; textured/smooth; busy/quiet, and so forth.  You will come away with the tools to create dynamic compositions, and a deeper understanding of how to balance the Yin and Yang of composition!

 
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