In the next few days, I’ll be writing a bilingual post that summarizes my workshop teaching process for those interested in trying it out for themselves or with their classes/groups. Get your paints ready – it doesn’t have to be a high energy performance like I do it! If very well organized and each step is timed almost to the minute, it can be done with a group in 3 hours (after the room is set up). I also did it with a very small group in 2 hours, but there was no waiting time for the dryers or sinks. Having said that, I’ve done it for a full weekend too. In that case, students got a lot more of the important free time to repeat any of the steps they felt moved to once the basic 4 steps are completed and worked on several canvases at a time. The possibilities – and layers – are endless!
Last School – St. John’s :
I was at l’École des Grands-Vents at 7:30am this morning to set up for my last school workshop of the “Les Mains dans l’art” program. On my own, it takes about an hour to get the room and all the supplies ready. It really helps set the mood, and it’s a lot more effective if we can get rolling right away when they arrive. It’s high energy from the get-go, and I’m lucky if I get a washroom break in the following 3 hours, even if the children get a recess.
We had a big group today – 12 grade 6 students and their substitute teacher, M. Gilles. There was a lot of energy, but also a lot of cooperation. Alas, the bathrooms were a mess by the end, but the school custodian wasn’t phased. He simply repeated “It’s my job” every time I apologized. I had another helper too today. Leslie, who was also a part of the west coast leg of this workshop tour, joined us for the morning to take pictures, so that was great.
It’s always gratifying after the the first little while when students stop asking “Is it OK to …”. By the end, I could tell that they all understood that there are no mistakes, and that if they keep focusing on what they like or enjoy, they’ll create a piece they’re happy with – one that is uniquely their own – even if it takes more than the 5 layers we had time to complete in class. It may have taken more time for some than others to let loose and let go, but again, by the end, everyone was taking creative risks, exploring, having fun, letting go of expectations, etc. Great job! I’m so proud of all of the leaps of faith I witnessed today.
If you could see their faces (which I don’t show in school photos on the Internet), you’d see that they were a happy and energetic bunch! For Step 2, with cool colours, they only had 10 seconds with each toy/tool before passing it to the right. They had so many to play with, I didn’t want them to obliterate their warm colours. I’m sure all that fun energy comes across in both their paintings and these photos – I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story (a couple of the spooky Hallowe’en type).
Note: There is one more free French community workshop left here in St. John’s on November 22nd as part of the Festival des Vents. Stay tuned for details. Registration will be limited to 15. No experience required – Truly! – just an open mind a heart open to play.