Back in early September 2019 I had the pleasure of teaching Beginner's Sculptural Painting to students in the Miami area. Students flew in from as far away as Pennsylvania, Chile and Colombia to learn. What an honor!
I must confess I was very nervous about putting together a long-distance workshop for the first time. There is no handbook that teaches one how to do these things. How to send the plaster product the least expensively? Where to send it to? How MUCH plaster to send? What if I don't ship enough? Where to have the workshop? How many students can I handle in each class? So many questions loomed large for months in my mind. It felt like I was planning a long-distance wedding.
But by August, I just decided to relax and accept that anything that happened, good or bad, would be a learning experience. There was simply no way around it. I just kind of "released" all the fears and decided that whatever came up, I would just deal with it! So.....I ended up just a month before class switching the location to a lovely airbnb house near the previously advertised place, where I could teach and also stay. This cute home had a sunny dining area with a long table that accommodated all the students. There was room for them to relax in the living room area to enjoy lunch, or grab a snack in the kitchen. It was "homey" and informal...which made it really just feel like a big art party! This first long-distance workshop, seeming so complicated in planning, turned out to be truly such a lovely, easy three days.
The students were fascinating, fun and talented. Each learned in their own way, at their own pace--and that was just fine. The common denominator: they were excited to try their hand at this new medium. The days flew by, punctuated by laughs, anecdotes, each person sharing a bit of their own story. Those who know me know that my biggest priority is making sure the students learn the skills and feel that they are getting their money's worth. That they feel satisfied with the whole experience. Nothing is more important! It felt good knowing that these bright students all left feeling that satisfaction, with self-confidence that they can do sculptural painting on their own.
The "takeaway" for me at the end of the Miami trip was to accept that things are always a bit scary the first time, but to trust the process. Each milestone brings confidence to do it again, and even better the next time around!