Saturday, December 27, 2014

How My Painting Workshops Are Different

You've seen them: Painting parties, paint and sips, canvas mixers. They. are. EVERYWHERE. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad that creating art has become the "it thing to do". Getting more people to think creatively and try new things is what I am all about.

I'm always nervous when a customer shares they have been to "one of those wine painting classes" before but they quickly follow up that they enjoyed my experience better. So I decided to take notes from customers who have been to other painting events and share with you their reasons as to how my painting workshops are different.

1. "I love that you take time with everyone and make sure they love their creation."

My goal is to make sure everyone leaves with a piece that they absolutely love; I don't want their painting ending up hiding in a closet or car trunk! Making my way to check on everyone throughout the workshop is in part of my elementary art teaching background where I had 25 students who constantly needed my help. I can always tell from conversations or facial expressions when someone is in need of assistance, I am always willing to lend a hand!

2. "Your projects are ones that I actually want to hang in my house!"

Some customers have admitted to going to a painting event but not liking the image they created. The workshops I have been teaching so far are country/primitive and some canvas art that I feel will fit into many people's home decorating styles. I always ask for customer feed back for future workshop ideas. If you ever want to paint something to put in your home, let me know. You can email me your idea by clicking here.

3. "I like that we all sit at the same table and get to talk to new people. It's so much more intimate than doing an event with 40+ people."

My workshops are limited to 10 people which is a much smaller group than what I am used to teaching but have embraced the small class size to enhance everyone's experience (mine and the customers). It is really nice to see strangers connecting with each other through art. I've even met some new friends through these classes!

4. "I was concentrating so much that I didn't even end up drinking" / "I drank too much and my painting didn't turn out!"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy drinking with my girlfriends just as much as anyone else. But the truth is, when you are trying to learn and concentrate on creating a work of art, it is not the best time to be drinking. Like my customers have said, you either don't drink at all or have way too much and the experience just isn't what you were hoping for. That's why I have coffee, tea, or hot cocoa to enhance that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from painting :)

5. "I love the size of your projects. I felt so overwhelmed when I was painting at the other place."

Most painting events paint on 16" x 20" canvases. That is an intimidating amount of white space to fill in a two hour session even for a professional artist like myself. It IS overwhelming. I have found from public school teaching and adult workshops that anxieties grow as the paper/canvas size gets larger. As a result, the quality of the final art product also suffers. To keep my workshops affordable and stress free, I opt for 11" x 14" canvases and wood products such as 10" wooden plates. 

I also think about storing the art that you create: where would you put a 16" x 20" canvas of a snowman when it's summer time?! I think it's a lot easier to store the projects from my painting workshops in your seasonal Rubbermaid totes until the next year.

If you've been to my workshops, what was your favorite part? If you haven't been, what would you want to paint? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 26, 2014

License Plate Art

This year for Christmas I opted to make meaningful gifts. They all turned out great but this one by far is my favorite. My brother, Brandon, is a crew member for NHRA's Professional Funny Car Driver, Courtney Force. He travels 30 weeks out of the year across the United States doing what he loves: racing. I decided to make a board honoring the states he has lived in since he has planted his roots in Indiana.

One day this idea came to me when I was at a flea market (my most favorite thing to do next to my art). The NJ plate came from a moving sale down the street from me, the North Carolina plate was given to me by a nice lady on a Facebook yard sale site when I posted an "in search of", and the Ohio and Indiana plates came from Cowtown.

I chose a 16" x 48" pine board from Home Depot which my mom, an extraordinary wood finisher, gel stained for me. (Check out mom's blog by clicking here). I opted for the classic quote about home because there really is no place like New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio or Indiana. Brandon enjoyed it and will be taking it home eventually as this is the first year he flew home instead of driving. Until then, I get to admire it a little longer.