Navigating Workshop World

Episode 217 · August 20th, 2022 · 40 mins 15 secs

About this Episode

Workshops serve many purposes for artists, including learning new skills and information, connecting with other artists, and receiving feedback and critique. A workshop with the right instructor at the right time can provide an important breakthrough for your work. But attending a workshop can also be challenging on a personal level, involving travel, a commitment of time and money, and working in a group environment. And not all workshops are well organized or worthwhile. Today we will be talking about workshops from the perspective of artists who have taken them--what was gained, and what difficulties were encountered.

Taking a workshop is a big commitment of time and expense, so a basic question in deciding to take a workshop is to consider your reasons and motivation and if they are strong enough to take that leap. A desire for growth, development, and improving your work are all essential. Without these, you probably won't get enough out of the experience to be worthwhile. The opportunity for focused studio time or the desire to learn something very specific or work with a particular instructor also factor in.

With the range of options for workshops available, it can be hard to decide what to take, or if you want to take one at all. Important factors to consider range from finding a competent and inspiring instructor to deciding how much travel and expense you can afford. Venues can be anything from a crowded private studio to a purpose-built, fully equipped classroom.
The class may last only half a day or a week or more. You may be in a class with others at the same level of development as you, or you may be combined with people at very different levels. Social aspects of being in a group can be supportive and exciting. You can gain new friends and enjoy the sense of community that surrounds you. But sometimes being with a group can be challenging. To work outside your own studio and to be exposed to everyone else's work styles and personalities is not easy for everyone.

Many artists report things like a shift in perspective, a new confidence, excitement, insights, new ideas, or even bigger changes after a workshop. These are all the reasons to take workshops and are more likely to happen if you are careful about your choice, research the instructor and the venue, and at the same time go into with a flexible attitude, you cannot know or control all the variables when participating in a group activity. There are an incredible number of variables in workshop world. But overall, the number of artists who take at least one workshop a year speaks to the overall positive aspects of this type of learning,

Thanks to everyone who has been sharing the show and donating! If you would like to donate to the Messy Studio Podcast donate here.

When you buy art supplies at Blick remember to use our affiliate link to support the podcast! Bookmark this link and then you don't even have to think about it again. This is one of the best ways to support the show. It takes a few seconds and costs you nothing! The Blick website works exactly the same way, but we earn 10% every time you buy art supplies.

What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
The Summer Quarter of Cold Wax Academy's membership program is now underway. Rebecca and Jerry's upcoming weekly live, online sessions will explore Personal Voice and Composition and continue the topic of Professional Development with some special guests. Member Critiques and Painting Clinics, Cold Wax Academy's new feature, are ongoing. You can join the membership program anytime and catch up with past recorded sessions at your own pace. Please visit for more information.

Also-- stay tuned for information coming soon about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. You can learn more and make a reservation by emailing [email protected]. A dedicated Espacio website is coming soon!

Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."

Have an art related product, service, or event you would like to advertise on the Messy Studio Podcast?
Email Ross at [email protected] for current mid-roll advertising rates.

For more from The Messy Studio:

For more from Rebecca Crowell:

The Messy Studio Podcast is a Tick Digital Media Production.