Daddy's Christmas Angel

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Artist Workshops, What Value Are They?


"Traveling with Monet" ©MMSikes demo piece

It was the late 1990s when I received a phone call from Jan Ledbetter, an artist friend I met as a member of Richmond Pen Women. She invited me to attend a workshop being taught in Williamsburg by Florida artist Mary Alice Braukman. I was uncertain what to say. Since I had earned my MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University, I hadn't really thought about taking, or needing to take, a workshop. How wrong I was about that.

I owe Jan Ledbetter a debt of gratitude for calling me that day. The week-long (I think) workshop was wonderful. This was where I first used Yupo, a painting surface I love to this day. Mary Alice was a marvelous, caring instructor, and I met so many other artists.

In 2003, I discovered the amazing workshop program at Cheap Joe's in Boone, NC. Until the pandemic, they had workshops every week from April through October. I tried to take one workshop there each year. It was where I discovered Mary Ann Beckwith and her use of the intense Robert Doak watercolors on Yupo. I met Robert Burridge there, Pat Dews, Kathleen Conover, Janet Rogers, and so many other exciting instructors.

In Sedona AZ, I found the Sedona Art Center and more outstanding workshops. There, I had the opportunity to meet and take workshops with Jan Sitts and Claudia Hartley.

Back in Virginia, I discovered cold wax and oil in workshops with Lisa Boardwine. That material and process of painting has greatly influenced my work.

Besides taking workshops, I enjoy teaching them. Not long ago, I taught a cold wax and oil workshop at Gloucester Arts on Main. The materials in this workshop can transform the way you paint and how you approach each new work you make.

Next spring, March 22, 23, 24, 1 to 4 p.m., I will be teaching another oil/cold wax workshop at Gloucester Arts on Main. It's called "Bringing in the Magic", and it is surely a class filled with joy and magic.

After the holidays, on January 7, I'll be teaching my "Paint Like Georgia (O'Keeffe)" acrylics class for Arts Alive at West Point United Methodist Church.

It has been a long and fruitful journey through many workshops since that very first one years ago. I hope future months and years will bring as much joy as I have already found meeting many talented artists and teachers along the way.