Benefits of Working in Groups



I love working with groups. I especially find it satisfying to have workshop participants and classes in my studio. This way I can paint right along with them, sharing the experience, the ups and downs, the structural mechanics of how to make a painting from the ground up. I paint in layers, lots of layers, and as a process painter, my paintings go through many incarnations. I feel this is of benefit to witness, especially if you are new to painting. I can just imagine the years of torment I could have saved myself had my graduate school professors shared their own process in their own studios away from theory and finished product. If artists tell you that their process is a breeze and they just paint with ease and passion on a constant basis:

A. They are lying.

B. They do not work very much (or only when the inspiration hits them.)

C. They are a production line and have found a formula that works and rarely veer from it.

By working in a group setting, not only do you see how paintings are not made instantaneously, but you can see the true gift of how so-called mistakes inform the process along the way. A true dialogue begins to take place between you and the painting when you take the time to embrace the whole experience around you, instead of trying to make the painting exactly what you think it should be. It's a subtle practice and when shared in a group, can be a powerful ally. For not only are you stepping away from your own self doubt (that can happen when working alone), you get to realize that you're not alone.

Another thing I have been thinking about is this: Every artist or anybody who pursues creative work, questions, fumbles, and constantly responds to and interacts with new forms of information. If not, then you’re not taking risks, and risk is what leads us to original and authentic insight. Risk is what leads us down what, at first, feels like dark, narrow pathways, but can often lead to large, bright epiphanies that show us what is uniquely ours. Learning to trust and listen to our intuition while painting is not something that is achieved and forever held like a learned brushstroke, but it is actually something more elusive.

March 28th and 29th I am hosting an art intensive in my studio: "All About Paint"

Working from the ground up, we will learn acrylic and oil techniques while working on multiple pieces at once and learning to balance socalled mistakes through risk-taking.

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