Thursday, January 7, 2016

Open A New Window

Yesterday I attended a workshop given by Adria Arch on how to use Golden paint products.  Adria is a gifted artist and the day was great fun.  What was most exciting was that I came away with some wonderful insights.  I began my journey as an artist over ten years ago when my friend Judi taught me about stamping.  That evolved into taking a multitude of classes and workshops over the years including collage, print making, painting, abstract art, composition, color and design, etc.  It all felt risky to me, scary and often uncomfortable.  Art making is a very personal experience and when you take classes, people look at your work and teachers give feedback.  I kept on pushing myself to learn and to stay open to the learning and to the discomfort and the feeling that compared to others I was studying with, I was not nearly on their level.  My first collage teacher, Joan, would tell those of us in her class to think of ourselves as artists.  I never could accept that concept.  Yesterday, when I walked into the workshop, who did I find there?  Joan!  What a funny feeling to be taking a workshop with her as an equal.  At the beginning of the day, Adria mentioned that she was excited to be teaching this workshop to experienced artists.  As I sat next to my former teacher, I smiled within because now I do see myself as an artist.  I do feel confident in my abilities.  I still get stuck, I still feel fearful at times when I don't like what I've produced or don't know where to go next.  The difference is that I do know what to do when I find myself in these places and based on the foundation I've built, I know I will eventually move forward.  I don't know it all and intend to keep on learning.  This is one of the things I love so much about being an artist.  It is a never-ending learning process and can never be routine.  I am developing new neural pathways.  That's what happens when you open to new experiences.  You grow.  New things are always challenging, and can create fearful feelings.  But as Auntie Mame sang (I hope some of you know who this is) "Open a new window, open a new door, travel a new highway that's never been tried before."  The gift is that when you take the risk, you change the status quo and you evolve.  You may decide that you are not so good at something or don't really enjoy it but that does not matter.  What is important is that you've tried it and that is a good beginning.  Maybe the next thing you try will turn into your passion.

Here are a few workshop pictures.

Adria's studio in Arlington

Playing with Golden's Micaceous Iron Oxide