Taking Art Workshops and Knowing When to Quit


I have to admit - I am completely addicted to taking art workshops. The thrill of learning a new skill, acquiring new supplies and applying new skills to my existing art practice is like candy to me. And I'm not an art workshop snob in the least, I like all types of workshops. All types of mediums, venues, instructors... If I'm not at a workshop, I'm probably looking at the lineups offered at various art spaces.


I've taken multiple sketching workshops, watercolour portraits, figure drawing, resin, acrylic mixed media, bold landscapes, and this past weekend I was lucky enough to take a workshop I've been eyeing up for 2 years (and the timing just never quite worked out until now). Linocutting and printmaking. And let me tell you it did not disappoint, and I may have a whole new list of supplies I'm eyeing up! The feeling of carving was so cathartic to me, and the final result was pretty great for a first go round. I can now incorporate my own prints and stamps into my mixed media work. But I digress...


Early on, I thought that it was in an artist's best interest to take as many workshops as one could afford, but I was quickly corrected by my mentor, and I am grateful that she did not lead me astray. While knowledge is a good thing, all of these various workshops and skills are influencing my art style, and each skill set takes time not only to learn and master, but to sink in and make it my own. So for each workshop I'm taking, I need to let the process grow with my own practice, and if I'm constantly flitting from one thing to the next (as I'm prone to do), my art will not establish as well as if I'm really playing with each new type of artwork, and thinking through how it could really meld with what I'm already doing (or want to do). My bank account is also grateful for this advice ;)


Over time, I find I'm getting pickier about who I want to learn from, and I really think the reason is two-fold. As I gain knowledge and improve my skillset, I'm more apt to get a lot out of a workshop being led by someone with more experience than myself, and secondly, since I am teaching workshops now, I am drawn to instructors that are really good at teaching (so I am learning the art of teaching a good workshop as well the art skill itself).


I'm writing this post not only for someone who may need this advice, but also as a reminder for myself, because for some reason there is an amazing array of workshops being offered right now that are glistening before me and I'm indulging a bit too much. This has been creating a bit of overwhelm when I'm in the studio, as there are just too many options of what I can play with when I have those precious few hours to create...


What are the best art workshops you've ever taken? Why were they so worthwhile?

Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear about it.



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