Monday, November 09, 2015

Reflecting on Workshops

I gifted myself with a 2-day workshop with Patty Hawkins for my birthday yesterday and so, today, my design wall is a portable one.

Work-in-Progess on my portable design wall

The organic-looking shapes are "me," but the rest of it is completely outside my comfort zone in terms of colors, techniques, process and ... well, just about everything else. I came home feeling completely spent and absolutely loved it.

We started by sketching and abstracting a shape from a magazine page, then constructing a paper collage from construction paper (with a bit of newsprint) ... not using scissors. Can you find the torn paper collage (value study) of my leaf-inspired shape in the gallery of collages?

Gallery of Paper Collage

Letting go and just following the process where it led me was not easy for me, but well worth the journey.  While my project is far from done, I came home with a clear idea of where I wanted to go.

As I looked around the room and the great variety of projects, I saw that some others had followed a different path, using familiar-to-them shapes in their usual color palettes–they stayed in their comfort zone and used what they knew would work ... and ended up with very successful pieces that definitely looked like "them," but I wonder if they came home feeling creatively spent and what they felt they learned from their effort.

A couple others raced through the workshop, as if it was a competition and produced multiple pieces–which may or may not have embodied the process and techniques we were there to learn ... but I have no doubt that they went home feeling like the "winner" of the day. 

We all approach learning in our own way.  As adults, it is harder to let go of what you think you know and try something knew.  I actively had to work at it as I know some of my classmates did.  Over the course of the two-day workshop, I felt like I could almost see the lightbulbs coming on over the heads of those  that had, like me, suspended disbelief and worked out of their comfort zone, following the path presented to us. 

Thank you Patty, for teaching me a new way to look at design and nudging me along an uncomfortable, but rewarding path. 


If you have a chance to take a class with Patty, don't miss it. She's a great teacher (and encourager).

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