Wading Through The Videos

Posted January 11 2013

It can be overwhelming to choose from a list of DVD workshops as long as the one we have at Creative Catalyst. I understand - I've seen every workshop we've ever filmed many times. I've also viewed most of the DVDs we carry from other production companies, plus a few we've chosen not to carry. I think that means I've seen over 150 workshops. I hope you'll forgive me if I've lost count.

As I've sifted through dozens of DVD, I've discovered a strategy to help you select workshops that will more likely be satisfying: Look for teachers that solve artistic problems that you struggle with in your own work. You may not be interested in the subjects they paint, but that doesn't matter. What matters is how these artists achieve their effects.

For example, you may want rich textural layers in your work. Virginia Cobb paints acrylic abstractions, Carla O'Connor designs figures with gouache, and Carrie Burns Brown collages homemade papers, but each of these artists achieves a convincing layered effect, as do Anne Bagby, Ann Baldwin, Jacqueline Sullivan, Donna Zagotta, and Mary Todd Beam. For clean, vibrant color look to Sue Archer's still lifes, Jan Kunz's watercolor portraits, Carl Dalio's street scenes, or Arleta Pech's florals, among others. John Salminen, Ratindra Das, and Cheng-Khee Chee all paint street scenes that successfully convey activity and energy. To learn masking techniques you can turn to Nicholas Simmons, Susan Bourdet or Linda Baker. For background patterning techniques try Carla O'Connor, Polly Hammet, or Sue Archer, and the list goes on.

Use the artist's galleries to determine if the teacher does something you want to learn. Remember to pay attention to the techniques and approach - subject does not matter. John Salminen uses the same design principles to paint his abstractions as he does for his urban landscapes, and you could apply those principles to portraits or nature scenes. It's a fairly safe bet that if the instructor's work repeatedly contains techniques you want to learn, you will find out how they did it in their workshop.

Happy hunting!

Lynn Powers

LynnPowersArt.com