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!

mixed media workshop 20160219_203625

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.

 

Follow me on Bloglovin!

So, I just signed up for Bloglovin.  There are so many social media sites out there, it gets a little overwhelming, but I’m really excited about this one!  I can’t wait to see what new blogs I can find and follow.  Are you on bloglovin?  Let me know and I’ll come follow you!!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Scars

Scars

The Liebster Award- I’ve been given one!!

I’m so excited about this!  The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers, usually newbies. I was given the award last week by Lora Wood and her blog Shots From the Road.  Thank you so much Lora!  Her blog is fantastic- she’s a travel blogger with some amazing photography, and many of her prints are for sale.  Go check her out!

Liebster Award

As part of accepting this award (I’m still so giggly… thanks again Lora!)  I will now answer these 11 questions Lora has asked me.  Also, I will share eleven facts about myself and nominate 5 other bloggers for the Liebster Award.  Deep breath… ok, here I go…

What is your greatest strength?–  I struggle with this… sometimes I only focus on my weaknesses, and there are plenty of those, but I would say that my greatest strength is my reliability.

What are the things your spouse/partner/significant other says about you?–  He says that I am “amazing”, “thoughtful”, and “intelligent”, even though the other day I kept messing up the names of some Angel’s baseball players…  oh well!

Where do you go to find comfort?–  My husband, my art studio, and taking nice, long naps when needed.

What is your favorite thing to wear?–  Hmmm…  pajama pants and a t-shirt.  Anything comfortable that I can smear paint on.

What are the first three things you would do if you won a million dollars?– I’d get out of debt (I’m almost done paying my student loans!), and the rest would be invested and used to build our dream modern home.

Who is/are your heros?– I’ve been mentioning my husband a lot, but he is definitely one of my heros.  Not many men have the character that he does.  My dad would have to go on this list- he is the most selfless person I know.  My sister Alicia- such an amazing example of being a wife and mother.  Also, my list of artists that inspire me is pretty much endless- I’m always adding someone new to the list.

Book then movie or movie then book?–  The book is almost always better.  I think the one exception I can think of is The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.  The movie was way better.

Why do you blog?–  I’m not sure why I started blogging, but I do know why I keep going.  My blog gives me focus and courage.  I have struggled in the past to reach past my comfort zone.  Before I started blogging, I would never have thought I could do any of the things I’ve done in the past couple years.  I am amazed at my progress, and I hope to continue to break through more of my own barriers in the future.

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?–  I’ve been married for 3 years, and still haven’t met my husband’s brother Stuart and his wife Malia.  They are amazing surf and wedding photographers who live in Fiji.  Someday we’ll get together and it will be awesome!!

What was the best piece of advice you have been given?–  My dad has told me that I need to always look for ways to serve others, especially my family in our day to day interactions.  I can’t say I’m perfect at it, but I know that having this goal in my thoughts makes a huge difference every day I remember it.

What are the top three things you like to do?–  Art!!  Read!  Learn cool history facts!! I’m not sure if those are my top three, but they’re the first ones that popped into my head, so I’ll roll with it.

Eleven facts about me:

I hate peanut butter, but LOVE peanut M&M’s.

Maleficent is my favorite Disney character. (The original, though, not the new version.  *shudder*)

I am a homebody- I don’t mind going out, but love staying in.

I am the oldest of 8 children- 7 girls and 1 boy.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon church).

I have a Bachelor’s degree in History.

I am a big foodie, which is why I struggle so much with my weight.

I am not tech savvy, and have to teach myself all this blogging know-how from scratch.  It sure is taking me awhile, but it is so satisfying when I finally figure something out!

I grew up in West Virginia and love the east coast, though I have spent a good amount of time out west and miss the Rockies and the Cascades.

I love all things Steampunk.

Someday (hopefully soon!) I’m going to quit my day job and be an artist and blogger full-time.  🙂

Alright, now for my nominees!  This was not easy.  Narrowing down so many awesome blogs to just 5 was bound to be tough, but wow!

Stephanie Devaux- Textus  Stephanie uses calligraphy in all of her art, whether fiber work or paper and ink.  Each of her pieces shows her phenomenal talent, and I am blown away every time I see something new.

Ardith Goodwin- Ardith’s Art Journal  Ardith is a wonderful artist and a great teacher.  Many times her posts have helped me out of a funk or pushed me a little farther to overcome my fears.

Jennifer Wolfe- JW Photography   Jennifer has been my friend since high school, and it’s been great to see her passion for photography blossom into a business.  She has so many amazing ideas that pop up on facebook, so check her out!

Agata- Adzia   There are so many talented scrapbookers and mixed media crafters out there, but I had to highlight Agata.  I just found her blog a few weeks ago, and all of her creations are amazing.  She is always creating something!!  If you don’t check in often, you’ll miss a lot of amazing projects.

Jackie P. Neal- Creating without Crayons   I can’t forget Jackie.  She has been an amazing support for me and my blog- she comments regularly and always has encouraging words to share.  Her art is amazing and I love how she alters things others would normally just throw away.

I hope you’ll all accept this award from me!  If you do, write a post on your blogs answering the questions, sharing 11 facts, and nominating 5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers.  I’m grateful for the inspiration and support I’ve gotten from each of you and your blogs.  Best of luck in your blogging futures!!

My DIY Art Studio- stage two

 Alright, my diy art studio is coming along!  These shelves took me a surprisingly long time to figure out, despite the fact that they were really easy to install.  I had to scratch my original idea to mount these shelves because the studs were too far apart, so I went back to Lowes and found these 10″ corner brackets you see on the left.  They’re about a 1/4 inch thick metal, and with 5 screw holes, I knew that by attaching them into the studs, I’d have plenty of support for whatever I needed these shelves to hold.  I used two on each shelf, measured so that the shelves would sit on top of the bottom half of the bracket with the other half rising against the wall above the shelf.  In this way, I knew that I could essentially achieve a floating shelf look once the shelves were filled and the brackets mostly invisible.

shelf bracket for my diy art studio

The wooden shelves themselves were actually about a millimeter too long to fit between the walls- I had to sand down the edges for a few minutes, but now they fit perfectly! Sorry about the mess- organizing everything is the next phase for this project.  I have paper to go through, tools to find a home for, and I’d really like to have most everything visible and as within reach as possible.  One thing at a time though- first I have to figure out what to do with this wall-  box shelves?  pegboard? That water shut off box is a little distracting, but I’ll figure out a way to blend it and make it work.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.  Feel free to share your ideas and what works for you- I am ready for some organizational inspiration!

Here’s a link to my first diy art studio post.

My new art studio!

new art studio coming soon!

 

As everyone knows by now, (because I mention it in every post- sorry, I guess I’m a bit excited still) my husband and I recently bought a home.  We’ve done some projects to start getting things the way we want them, but none of them has me more excited than my art studio.  For years, I’ve been dreaming of having my very own studio space, usually while my art supplies were strewn across three rooms and multiple pieces of furniture in rather desperate attempts to keep creating.  You can see from the top picture just how messy and disorganized things were, and most of my supplies were in other rooms at this point.  (I couldn’t bring myself to take pics of the other rooms… *shudder*)  So, this past weekend I took the plans I had made, and got to work.

new art studio being painted

 First of all, the horrible yellowish tan color had to go.  I wanted things to look clean and bright, so I painted over the walls with white.  Of course, the purple accent wall was a necessity to bring in some color and stimulate my creative juices.  It is also a chalkboard wall, to write reminders and deadlines and to sketch new ideas.  🙂  Lowe’s has tintable chalkboard paint that is available in a bunch of different colors, and I couldn’t resist.

My arms were starting to hurt at this point, but the Ikea furniture I had ordered had been delivered that morning, so I couldn’t stop!

new art studio desks

I had taken measurements and ordered Linnmon tabletops and Alex cabinets that would fit along three walls.  I want as much counter space as possible!  I love Ikea because all the things I ordered from different collections still fit together so that all the counters are the exact same height all the way around.  The stacked tabletops you see have Capita legs on them, and they still come to the same height as the rest of the counters.  🙂  Perfect!

I have 4 different stations so far- my sewing machine is next to my accent wall, and I’ll be scrapbooking and doing mixed media on the corner table next to it.  On top of the stacked tables is where I have my cricut and where I’ll put any other machines I may collect that can’t take up space on my work stations.  In the far corner is where I’ll be doing encaustic painting.

I have to say, getting all this done in one day was pretty exhausting, and my legs and arms haven’t been this sore in awhile.  Thank goodness for my new electric drill or I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

Now I have my brand new art studio!  I’m so happy with how it’s turned out so far! As I organize my tools into the drawers and cabinets, I’m slowly starting to clear the mess I made trying to create without having a place to do it. It’s also a ton of fun finding things I’d forgotten I had.  My next step is to hang some shelving.  I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do that, but I’ll keep you updated!

Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!  It certainly was for me… as you can see from my nearly empty wall, I sold several pieces over the holidays and I couldn’t be more excited!!  We all know that the new year is the perfect time for making resolutions and setting goals, and I’ve been thinking of what mine should be in view of my success this past month.  🙂  It’s hard to decide what goals are realistic for me and still challenging.  I still have a full time job, and realistically I’m not ready to jump into full time art making just yet- too many student loans… sigh…  but I have made some goals I’m pretty excited about and I wanted to share them and also hear about some of yours.
 My first goal is to get my studio in order.  I’ll be posting about this as it progresses, but essentially right now my art supplies are either still in boxes from our recent move, or scattered all over our basement.  My goal for my studio is to have a clean, organized, dedicated space where everything has a place and my time and creativity won’t be hindered by struggling with the mess.  I can tell you, the past few days I’ve really been wanting to rip my hair out in frustration.
My second goal is to start making videos.  I’d like to open up my own youtube channel with tutorials and videos of my creative process.
Third goal- join at least two design teams this year.  I’ve applied for a couple in the past and haven’t been accepted- competition is fierce!- but this is my year!  I can do it… right?  Keeping my fingers crossed…
And my final goal so far- sell online!  I have an Etsy shop that hasn’t done well- I still have a lot of learning to do.  But whether through Etsy or some other selling site, even my own website, I am confident that with enough consistency and the right format for pricing and pictures, etc., I can finally see some success in this area, too.
So, those are my goals!!  I’m excited to share my progress and looking forward to hearing about your goals, too.  I’m always looking for inspiration so lay it on me!  And Happy New Year!!