I recently attended an art workshop in Montreal. I don’t attend a lot of workshops anymore, preferring to explore solo in my studio and perfecting my own techniques but every now and then, I try one.
In the case of that particular workshop, we explored image transfers, collage, multiple mediums to give special effects and mix with acrylic paints, stencilling with spray paint and resin application. It was a good blend of mixed media techniques.
I had already tried some of the techniques before, some were new to me and the atmosphere and the group were a lot of fun, the instructor knowledgeable. I am not particularly happy with my piece, especially for the fact that it would be difficult to modify anything at this point after the application of resin which I wanted to try.
But that’s OK because the point of attending an art workshop is to learn something new, be it a new medium, subject matter or technique. You have to go into a workshop with an open mind and should not be expecting to come out with a finished piece ready to hang on your wall. That is not the point of a workshop.
Often, workshop attendees are afraid of making mistakes, are feeling watched by the others and want to perform. They want to come out with an artwork worth keeping (after all, they paid for it) but this is not what workshops are for! Workshops are meant to take you out of your comfort zone, to let you experiment with the curiosity of a child, without expectations. It is the perfect place to watch what happens with whatever new thing you are trying. It is also the perfect place to learn from the other attendees’ experimentations and to share your discoveries.
The goal is to listen to the instructor, take notes and experiment just for the joy of it. Relax and enjoy the moment without expectations and you’ll really benefit from the workshop. Always walk in with an open mind.
Later on, if you enjoy the results, you can implement what you have learned into your own work or continue pushing what you’ve learned to the next level. A workshop is a starting point, not an end. It opens up a new door in your artistic mind.