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Thursday, November 22, 2012

How to Get Your Best from Workshops

Drawing demo from mannequin

Are you wide open to new learning when you take a workshop? Or are you maybe, even just a little, caught up in looking like you have a half a clue about what you're doing...

Embrace the Adventure

Just finished teaching a 4 day portrait workshop at my Canmore studio. At the beginning of my workshops I always encourage students to  think of it like a laboratory for learning, a place to try on NEW things, to explore territory that is foreign and unfamiliar, and most importantly to have ZERO expectation of going home with a "successful" painting. And then we all agree to celebrate frustration and fully welcome it when it inevitably shows up.

Bring Your Warrior Spirit

These things can be a hard sell, as they require a willingness to check your ego at the door, never an easy feat. My group this past week was whole-heartedly committed to it, which made it super fun to teach them. I was blown away by how hard they worked (pretty much had to kick them out of the studio each day) and stoked to watch them make leaps and bounds of progress.

This kind of "willing to fall flat on your face" commitment to learning serves our growth as artists more than anything else we can do. If failure becomes an important and valuable part of the journey forward, rather than something to be avoided at all costs, then the real learning can begin.

Focused engagement at work

How do you create optimal value from a workshop environment? Please share your #1 tip in the comments below - we'll all benefit from the wisdom!