Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sketching Workshop for “Absolute and Utter Beginners” at Silvermine School of Art

learning to sketch basic shapes

We had alot of fun on Sat. May 19th! Students did a great job learning how to create the sketching line, and how to apply it to add accuracy to their drawings of simple still life subjects. A few images here from class…

harriet's sketches

barbara's sketches

sketching simple still life (recyclable objects)









sharing the artwork





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Sketching Is

Sketching is…eloquent, expressive, rapid, generalized, and yes, practical! A great tool for adding accuracy to your work, as well as to express spontaneous impressions. I’m teaching a workshop at Silvermine Art Center from 9:30 to 12:30 designed for the “absolute and utter beginner”  to introduce you to the sketching line and all it can do for you!  We’ll start at the very beginning of the learn to draw process, where mistakes aren’t possible, and no previous art experience is required. Art supplies are provided by the school. For more information and to register contact Silvermine Art Center.

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Hands On at the Advancing Creative Thinking Conference!

the group starts in...

I was thrilled to be a presenter at the Aldrich Museum/Ridgefield Library’s Creativity Conference, Advancing Creative Thinking : Imagination to Innovation, April 27 and 28th at the museum in Ridgefield, CT. The idea behind this groundbreaking cross- disciplinary conference is that “imagination and innovation lie at the heart of the creative process in every discipline-from education to business to government.” Presenters were given the opportunity to offer their techniques for utilizing imagination from their own particular area of expertise.

What happened when I gave a workshop called: “Drawing: Gray Matters” ?

Will they come? Well, yes they did!

Large numbers of energized, enthusiastic people showed up on Sat. April 28 at 9am. Teachers, gardeners, artists, administrators, tech folks, plenty of people “looking for more” to bring back to the workplace, or simply to gain some information about the creative process in general.

Some came with trepidation: I have no talent! We have to draw! What was I thinking!

We began right away to draw out the intensity, nervous anticipation, excitement and early morning caffeination that came into the studio classroom.

They were game for that! Game on! They scribbled; received more instruction, and built on the results using myriad options from the groaning art supply buffet table.

What resulted was a large vibrating entity of creative people buzzing with activity that reminded me of “1st Class “  Xu Bing’s “carpet” of 400,000 cigarettes upstairs at the museum (see “It’s Alive. Xu Bing’s Tobacco Project”, a previous blog, for a picture of it), only with more color! Each participant was working in a personal and unique way, some with high contrast charcoal, others with collage elements which sometimes burst out three dimensions, and so on.

workshop participants chose media they wanted to work with

It took the help of a volunteer who could wolf whistle to help me alert the crowd to incoming information. Even then I’m not sure I was able to get across exactly why the workshop was called Gray Matters!

We were here to dispel some common misapprehensions about creativity (as well as have art fun), among them:


1. That “talent” is required for creativity to be present.

2. And that only one person out of a bazillion has talent.

3. If you’re creative, all this talent-generated art comes streaming out of the right hemisphere of your brain. And there’s a perfect landing! No corrections necessary!

Blah.  And nooo. So not true!

What is true, and you can physically experience this making art, is that simply by nature of being human, and capable of making scribbles, your creativity can emerge instantly. You are creative, though the structures provided for you to get that out and express it are not always available.

the scribble is transformed

collage materials are added to the preliminary scribble

What is true, and workshoppers embodied this, is that capacities associated with right and left hemispheres of our brain complement each other. Like good partners, they take turns holding sway in their area of expertise.

Though the brain functions with constant interchange between these centers, you can attribute general strengths to each hemisphere, and utilize them in a conscious pattern.

This sequence of alternating dominance is comparable whether one is making an invention or a piece of art. (Yes, fine, but where are those red feathers? And the googly eyes…?)

As the 10:30 end of workshop approached I was prying the art tools out of people’s hands. Right hemisphere focus was not over, but the time was. Too short a time period, such a lot of vibrant creative art work coming out! A pleasure that could have gone on much longer. The next class was arriving, we had to make room. Here come those sequences, time awareness, action plans. Yes, left hemisphere talking…sigh! Looking forward to doing this again (whole brain talking here!)

Thanks to all!


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