My workshop class in Maine was small but mighty. Apparently we scheduled on the same weekend as the Common Ground Fair which hurt our enrollment, but those that came were a wonderful bunch that grew in their art, faced the unknown together, and bonding in the process.
Abstract art can dig into one’s soul and pull out what is pure and authentic. It challenges our assumptions and eradicates our fears. It is a healing process, liberating and exciting. It is always an honor and a joy to work with others in a group to bring this all out.
We had a three day arc to do this in, which is the perfect amount of time to get lots of exercises in, trying the whole range of abstraction between non-objective art and impressionism, with some special focus in between where the especially fertile juices flow. We met in the colossal former Hathaway shirt factory, in the Waterville Creates space there, and the workshop was hosted by the wonderful Pastel Society of Maine. Thank you especially to Mary Beth and Serena who made this possible (and who are both fellow blog readers of yours).
This is why participants said they came:
- They were looking for tools to express themselves differently, deeply, and satisfyingly.
- They needed food for their soul.
- They love to experiment, plus appreciate the encouragement of others.
- Were curious because of no real abstract experience.
- to S-T-R-E-T-C-H!
- They felt it would provide some insights and tools for better expression in painting.
- because it is out of my comfort zone.
- To learn the structures and compositional designs of abstract art… and to be with Polly.
Here is what the participants had to say about the experience:
- It far exceeded my expectations.
- All the exercises were helpful, and the pace was excellent.
- My understanding of abstract art– its elements and motifs– has increased unbelievably.
- We found a banquet to sample, explore, and utilize.
- We discovered new ways to think and experience.
- I was relieved to be in an abstract art class that was full of content, meaning, and focused learning. I’ve been disappointed many times before in abstract art classes, and this was by far my best experience in one.
- My confidence in my abilities grew.
- Handouts were informative. Powerpoint was saturating. Exercises were excellent for understanding and practicing the ideas presented. Critiques were kind and welcome.
- I had been searching and not finding any meaning in abstract art. Because of this workshop, it resonates more and I understand it better. I look at others’ work and smile now, because I can explain abstract art now, seeing how each piece makes one think and feel.
- I am a positively happy astronaut in the universe of creativity.
- I’ve become more accepting of my abstract tendencies.
- Abstract conceptualism is more interesting to me now.
- There was a good amount of showing artist’s work vs. working in this workshop.
- Loved the interaction with other artists.
- I am now much more conscious of composition.
- The introduction to pan pastels was very helpful.
- This workshop expanded my repertoire of technique and ideas
- This will help you learn to simplify and let go.
- This absolutely changed the way I think about abstract art.
- Excellent examples with slides; very organized and stimulating.
- This workshop would benefit every tight painter out there.
- This workshop will put you out of your comfort zone in such a comfortable way, and help you find and see what is already within you.
- This will help you think outside your “box.”
- group was friendly and intelligent.
- I see abstraction everywhere now. I realize I’ve been doing it all along.
- This workshop expanded my abilities and appreciation of abstraction.
- I recommend taking this art class for personal art growth!
- I learned to paint with informed understanding, and now have ways to begin and develop an idea in a painting.
- I appreciate abstract art more now.
- Polly is informed and communicates well. The material is comprehensive and I could repeat the workshop tomorrow and keep learning.
- when’s your next workshop? I will travel!
What did they like best?:
- the short lazer-like focused assignments
- I was freed to be me!
- I enjoyed the limited time exercises, the discussions, the slide shows, and the small group size.
- learning to check values on my phone.
- learning if you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right.
- it was a great way to get to know yourself, and renew what is most deeply true for you
- I loved the handouts! I will refer to them often.
- I learned to work within a time frame; now I know how to set art goals for myself.
- The exercises were great; the clear, simplified, explanatory approach helped me. Each exercise built on the prior ones, and all contributed to me understanding. I really appreciated the structure. It made doing what was so new comfortable.
- I loved trying the stencils.
- I learned a lot by doing and by your explanations.
- I appreciated being forced to paint without a figurative reference. I made progress toward not being bullied by a photo reference. I didn’t even realize I need this so much!
- The progression of topics and compositional styles was helpful.
- I appreciated your great sense of humor and inclusive, supportive spirit.
- I liked how in the guided meditation, everyone had the exact same instructions, but created something completely different.
- I am no longer uncomfortable with what people will think of my art. We all are unique so naturally we’ll paint uniquely, and I now see that as a good thing to be embraced.
- This workshop breaks barriers.
- I received permission to be myself as only I can.
Each and every time, teaching this workshop is a profound experience, and downright transformational for folks. That’s why I love to do it and hope to do more. (Please contact me if you are interested in hosting or have a venue!)
I loved being with these wonderful women and am so grateful for their marvelously receptive hearts!
Tomorrow I’ll share some of their art!