Alright Nike is going to hate me, but I just have to tell you NOT to ‘Just Do it’…

A year ago at the Escarpment & Bruce Trail Art Exhibition Peter John Reid showed a painting called ‘Water Works’. I was so captivated by it I sat there for at least an hour.  I visited this painting several times during the Exhibition. I will never forget it.

This past weekend we attended this year’s Exhibition which included talented artists like Deborah Lynn Caroll.  (Unfortunately, Peter was not showing this year.)  The Exhibition was inspiring: but the hands-on was even better!

We had a leisurely walk through the Clarksburg Art Galleries and then ventured outside where there were hands-on exhibits. One of my boys was asked use a potter’s wheel. Being a ‘shy’ teenager he quickly disappeared into the adjacent gallery. (You think they had asked him to wash dishes!)

However, one of the artists came back in to the gallery to get him. They needed someone for a picture in the local newspaper. Wah-lah! There was a ‘carrot’, he couldn’t say no to that!!

All he had to do was sit down at a potter’s wheel and smile. (Thank you Carol Hahn, Hillstreet Productions.) He kept spinning and spinning the clay and molding it with his hands. She finally asked him what he was making, he said, in true teenager style, “I don’t know.” She very nicely informed him that he better finish up as the clay gets saturated with water and loses it’s strength.

Meanwhile, I was  recruited to help paint a group project. There was a large canvas divided into 100+ smaller patches. Men, women and children were invited to pick up a brush, palette and some acrylic paints and fill in one of the patches. I filled my palette with colours of acrylics that I liked…

I waited and waited, brush in hand to paint. But I had no inspiration (only the colours). What was I going to paint??

Gees… these trained professionals make it look SO easy!

The photo shoot of the budding young potter was complete, so I was under pressure and felt ‘rushed’. I started painting…

Here are all the things I failed to do (but would recommend to any aspiring artist OR trainer):

  1. Get Inspired… Artists need a photo or a model, something that they can interpret. Just like artists, trainers need a target, a goal/objective when they are designing their instructional material.
  2. Set up the background first. Local Artist Jennifer Woodburn paints many of her canvases black first. This way she can let some of the black come through on her finished artwork as evidenced in this piece on her website. An artist painting the background first is somewhat like a trainer explaining the prerequisites or basic knowledge at the beginning of the session. That ‘background’  becomes of foundation  for the rest of your session: if it isn’t present, then your session just doesn’t work the way it should.
  3. Sketch out your plan. This was something I failed to do when I started painted and it was evident in my ‘little’ work of art. (Secretly, this was my plan to convince my husband that I needed to take painting lessons!) A plan is so important to the success of your training: without one your ‘product’ will not be as polished or professional (and it will most likely take more time).

Okay, NOW, after you’ve done those 3 things, you can ‘Just Do it!’

With a bit of thought and preparation you are ready to get to the ‘good stuff’ and paint (or teach/train). Yes, I’ve overly simplified both being a creative artist and a skilled trainer.

BUT remember:  if you don’t take a bit of time and think about ‘where you are going’ and ‘how you are going to get there’ then you just might paint yourself into a corner. And we can’t have that!


Flickr Creative Commons Image by: CB Photography.