This spring I was selected to teach a class that I created called, “Make your Mark”, at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. I have been inspired by a variety of mixed media and painting instructors, but quite often the courses targeted a more advanced student and I noticed that students who were interested in learning new techniques were feeling overwhelmed. During the winter I dedicated myself to researching and learning methods on how to teach painting and mixed media art. My daily exercise routine of watching Netflix movies while on my stationary bike switched to binging on YouTube, viewing art instruction videos and paint demonstrations. As I pedaled my Schwinn, I took notes in a giant sketchbook with a giant Sharpie marker. From these notes, I created lesson plans which evolved into an eight-week class based on how to tell a visual story with your own unique voice.
What does it mean to visually tell a story in a painting? How can our own personal marks help illustrate emotion, character, texture etc.
Make your Mark started on April 2nd, 2018 and ran through May 21st. The students had eight classes to learn how to create their own artistic voice. Our first class started with an icebreaker. We painted a collaborative painting on craft paper and used a small palette of paint. With brushes dipped we walked around to each table and made a mark. Some brushed, some splattered, some dripped. It was fun to see how each of us chose to mark the paper. We were not creating a masterpiece; just warming up to each other and getting into our painting mode.
As we progressed through the weeks, we learned how to let our lines speak-giving them a true artistic voice. We learned how build character into our work through texture and collage and we created conflict through contrast, value and tone. There were seven students in all and half way through the session we began to really bond, feeling more comfortable sharing our work and our stories.
I owe a giant thank you to my friends who signed up for my class and supported my new endeavor. And another thank you to the new students and now friends that I have made during this new adventure. They worked hard to learn the new techniques and were super supportive of their newbie teacher. Teaching at the Workhouse was a new challenge that was a bit out of my comfort zone. Eight weeks later, I am feeling proud of myself for not only creating the class but also successfully teaching structured lessons. The feedback from my students has been encouraging and I look forward to planning another 8-week session for my next class. Stay tuned!
Learn more about the Workhouse Art Center by clicking http://www.workhousearts.org/
Remember to visit my website at www.juliamalakoffart.com to buy originals or copies of my art in almost any format. Canvas, prints, art cards, pillows, art cards, tote bags, coffee mugs, phone cases……we have it all!
You rock Julia!