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Posts Tagged ‘YCAC< Workshop’

YCAC Student Work 2019

Well, my annual workshop up in Penn Yan has come and gone for the year.

Phew!

I don’t know why but afterwards I inevitably feel like I have been beaten with a sock filled with nickels– bone tired and a little achy. Most likely it’s because running around, talking and painting, in front of a group of people all day is way out of my comfort range. I am not used to that much interaction with people without a break. I think I told the group that  my normal day was actually not far from standing on the lawn of my studio and shaking my fist and hurling profanities at an empty sky.

So having to rein that in and be a civil human who is trying to assist someone takes some effort.

But this year’s group, like every group, has been absolutely wonderful. They were (and are) kind, smart, humorous, generous of spirit and outgoing, though there is a bit of shyness about their painting sometimes. They make my job much easier than I think it is. By that I mean they would probably be just as happy if we accomplished half  of what we do in those two days.

And we do a lot in those 12 or so hours of painting which is remarkable for a group that has many folks who paint maybe once year and have little, if any, experience with painting. Plus, they are learning a pretty idiosyncratic style that requires the touch and understanding of the materials that can only be obtained with long periods of practice and repetition. It can seem pretty frustrating for them at points in the two days. My job, as I see it, is to impart what knowledge I have and to help them in any way to make them feel less frustrated, with the hope that they will try to keep going on their own after the workshop ends.

This year’s painting could have easily brought about a great deal of frustration. It was a fairly complex composition with multiple beds of flowers that required lot of intense painting. It was a whole bunch of work for such a condensed period of time.

And they did absolutely great with task. It took a torrid afternoon session on the second day but their work really popped and each painting made it to a satisfying completion. I am always amazed at how well the work comes out and how, though they share the basic composition and color selections, there is a great deal of individuality to each piece.

I am proud of their work and I certainly hope that they are equally as proud. They should be. If not, they fooled me because they seemed happy enough when they left.

And though I am tired and will no doubt soon regret the decision, I have already agreed to return next year, this time returning to the wet work with inks that marked my earlier work. Sounds lie a lot of work with new materials but most of this year’s attendees are already planning on coming. I have no doubt that it will be fun.

So, thank you to each and every one of you folks who came and worked so hard. Thanks for your efforts and your welcoming spirit. I could not possibly appreciate it any more. Hope you’ll come back again.

And with that, let’s listen to a little Long John Baldry with, of course, Come Back Again.

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Paulina Garces Reid Ecuador In My Heart 2015

Paulina Garces Reid- ” Ecuador In My Heart” 2015

At the end of my workshop last week, one of the attendees presented me with a painting she had completed during the second day.  She even titled it for me!  Called Ecuador In My Heart it reflects many of the elements- the cities and villages, the sea, the mountains and the trees and flowers– of the native landscape of Ecuador-born artist Paulina Garces Reid.  I love this little painting, the way in which the blocks come together to tell their story and the manner in which Paulina  modulated her colors, which she pointed out are the colors of Ecuador, with dark glazes.

GC Myers Early Experiment 1994I was moved by her sharing this painting with me and amazed how far she, like all of the students, had progressed in such a short time.  I explained that she was at a point with my technique that had taken me months and hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours to reach.  Looking around the room, I could see on every table something that I know I could easily find in my bin of my own early experiments.  I saw one specific experiment of mine (shown here)  in Paulina’s piece, one that hadn’t reached as far as she had in just a handful of hours.

These students had shot past my own learning curve, had easily grasped concepts and processes that took me a long time to develop and master.  Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect as to what I might see from these students or how I might feel at the end.   I do know that after the first day I had absolutely no expectations and couldn’t see myself doing this again.  But that second day changed everything.  Like the students, I had my own learning curve to conquer and seeing the work from Paulina and the others  made me feel that it was something I could quickly get past to make my teaching more effective if there is a future opportunity to do this.

And I guess that’s the thing I take from this.  It established a starting point from where my learning curve began and I can see progress along that curve.  And like the students, it’s exciting to see progress in any endeavor.  So, I may teach again not just for the thrill of seeing others being excited by the work they produce as a result but for my own excitement in learning how to better deal with people, how to better communicate my own experience to them.  Like y paintings, it all comes down to communication…

Thank you again, Paulina, for the beautiful gift.  I will hang it with pride in my studio.

 

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