Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aha's and Free Gimme's

I’ve just wrapped up my last spring workshop commitment, this one in Grand Island, Nebraska, home of the Grand Island Sketch Club, Stuhr Museum and Prairie Winds Art Center.

Thanks to the Grand Island Hy-Vee store for allowing us the use of their Community Room.

This group consisted of experienced painters who have  won their share of accolades. Their names are already written in the histories of art collections and awards near and far.

The challenge for me was this; how do you teach a group of artists who have probably forgotten more about painting than I’ve yet learned?

The solution was to share what I know about what I do, and get out of the way. Watch from the back of the room and learn from them. Offer a fresh eye now and then; a “what if…” and then zip my lip.

Ethel and Edith prove we're never - ever - too experienced to try something new.

Creativity of any kind is a solitary business. Guidance and experience from others can be absorbed on a certain level, but I strongly believe it is in the quiet hours alone that those ideas coalesce and take form, where the aha’s take up residence in fertile soil and begin to grow.  How, or even whether, those moments take shape and grow into something useful is up to each artist.

An 'aha!' taking shape

For many who want to pursue a creative life, there is often a jarring moment when the delight of creativity bumps up against the reality of the hard and focused effort it takes to do it more than once.  Dorothy and her friends found that out when Toto pulled back a curtain to reveal a solitary man working like mad to create the illusion of something else, some otherworldly thing.  Her first reaction was disappointment and loss; if the vision of the wizard weren’t real, than what chance did she have to get what she wanted?  The surprise was that she had the tools, but it was up to her to do the work. 
Getting together with other artists – especially women artists – is a wonderful way to network with those who share the same interests and frustrations; to deal with not only our creative challenges and solutions but to share the quandaries of our personal lives as well. When that’s all said and done, we still go back to our kitchen tables or spare bedrooms and do the work we set out to do – alone.
This week, that’s where I’m headed. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to spend extended hours at my own work and I’m anxious to see where it’ll take me. 

One definite goal is to make plans to celebrate the 4th year anniversary of sharing my thoughts and ideas via this blog.
Four years?! What to do…what to do?
Why, I think another Free Gimme is in order!
You can enter my 4th Anniversary Free Gimme by commenting on any post in my blog library during the next 2 weeks.  You don’t have to say anything particularly brilliant, a sweet hellow is plenty. Your name will go into Handsome Husband’s Magic Hat, from which a name will be drawn out sometime in the early evening of Sunday, May 6th.   (For the slightly paranoid among you, there is no ulterior motive. I’m just tickled that you’re out there reading.)
We'll draw out a name. To that person will go a lovely 6 x 8 oil painting. How's that for a way to celebrate?
Until then - go create something! 


bluesurly said...

You're a wonderful teacher, and we could keep you busy doing workshops ALL YEAR if you'd let us :) Now get some work done so you can schedule some future workshops in Hastings!

Patty said...

I'm on it! = )

tsorensen said...

I love looking at your newest works so I suppose you had better get back home so that you can spend time in your studio. Maybe then you'll have time this fall to work with us again! :-)

Patty said...

You're such a sweetie! I'm coming back - I promise!!

Anonymous said...

I really look forward to reading your blog on Sunday evenings. Keep up the good work, Friend. Ki

Patty said...

Thanks for hanging in there Ki!!

hannah hunter said...

I like the quandary you posed--how to teach those who've forgotten more than you've already learned--I'm trying to figure out something similar for a workshop I'm teaching. Also very much appreciate your words on what it takes to grow an "aha." Well spoken and congrats on 4 great years of blogging.

Patty said...

Hannah, I think the trick is to "facilitate" rather than "teach". We open the door and let our friends decide how they're dance through.
Thanks for taking this journey with me!

Karine said...

It is most definitely the "quiet moments alone" that lead to anything at all that is good in art. Well written, as usual my friend.

Hannah Phelps said...

I can't wait to see what comes out of your new schedule. Paint like the wind!

Terisia said...

I just came across your blog recently and love seeing the photos and hearing what you have to say. I'm an aspiring artist and am looking forward from taking a class from you on one of my trips back to Nebraska!

Patty said...

Hannah!! Weird, I was just thinking about how to apply paint so that it looks 'windy'.
Terisia, welcome! So glad you stopped by.

Jane Marie said...

always love the way you string your words/thoughts together to share w/ us. it is like i am sitting w/ u having a conversation. i like your spin on art & life!!

Patty said...

Miss you Jane!