mixed media workshop

What I Learned from Teaching My First Mixed Media Workshop

So, I taught my first mixed media workshop last weekend!  I was pretty nervous, even though everyone that came was a friend of mine who I knew would be kind to me.  🙂  I had chosen an older canvas I created last year as the focus for the workshop, and I was a little worried that the class would last too long, because of drying time especially.  I use a lot of water when I’m creating my pieces, and I made sure to have my heat gun and hair dryer in easy reach to help the canvases dry so we wouldn’t be sitting there all night.

mixed media workshop

I was pleasantly surprised when the drying time ended up being negligible, especially since a couple of the women used quite a lot on their pieces.  I may need to get more heat guns if I’m going to teach more people at a time, but the whole night lasted about an hour and a half, which was a perfect amount of time!

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Surprise Lessons from Teaching a Mixed Media Workshop

I’ve been wanting to start teaching art classes and workshops for several months, but I’ve been putting it off and making excuses every time I got close to scheduling one.  I was scared I wouldn’t be prepared, that no one would come, that no one would really get anything out of the classes I would teach.  Now that I’ve finally started teaching, I can say that I have learned several things, some quite surprising.

  • People really do mean it when they tell you they aren’t creative and can’t do what you do.  I always thought people were just trying to be polite when they would say things like that to me, but I’ve finally realized that they really believe that they can’t create.
  • Everyone can create.  Some may need a bit more practice, but everyone can become an artist if they put in the time and the effort.  It really is true!
  • We all want to create- whether it’s a canvas, a career, a child, or all of the above- we all have something we want to build and establish, and a simple art class can help people on their creative journey, whatever it is they may be trying to build.
  • Be prepared.  I am glad that I had prepared myself to work more with the drying time during class, because that preparation is why the class didn’t go too long and no one was just sitting around waiting for things to dry.  It is important to be prepared, but if you forget something, or something doesn’t quite work the way you planned, things can still work out great!  So relax, have fun, and help your students build their creative confidence, and you’ll know how to make your class even better for the next time.
  • Don’t take steps for granted.  Just because something seems obvious to you, doesn’t mean it will be obvious to everyone.  So go into lots of detail!  Show them the best way to apply paint and glue, how to splatter ink, how much water to use, etc.
  • With that being said, you also need to stand back and allow them the freedom to express their own ideas.  Their work will not be a replica of yours, and that’s great because that’s how others are inspired in your class- by seeing how they can find their own style within a guided piece.
  • Ask people for feedback.  You will get some great tips!

If you’ve been thinking of taking, or teaching, a mixed media workshop, or any other kind of art class, I would encourage you to go for it!  I have never regretted putting myself out there and trying something new, even when I was completely terrified.  You will learn so much, and whether as a student or a teacher, you will be helping those around you, as well.

 

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I’m so excited to start teaching more mixed media workshops.  I know that there are so many people out there who have the same false beliefs about themselves and their talent, and to be able to help them find that creative side in their own nature would make any fear I needed to overcome worth it.

 

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