Teaching art workshops is gratifying beyond belief. It is a joy to watch the students in my workshops receive a challenge with open arms and run with it in completely different ways.

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“Art Enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

Some of my favorite comments from the workshops were:

“Ok – MIND BLOWN!”

“Your specific suggestions, positive encouragement and creative assignments helped push me into unfamiliar territory.”

Here’s how the group in Gold Beach summarized the workshop:

“Three days of encouragement and challenges culminated in dramatic breakthroughs and conclusions for artists included in Ruth Armitage’s “Creative Spark” workshop in Gold Beach. And, there was lots of fun along the way!

Deftly weaving the elements of design into her visual presentations, Ruth then demonstrated techniques with which to develop sketches, photos, drawings, and failed paintings – through several iterations – into a finished work. She used a myriad of methods and materials, something to appeal to all participants. From gouache to Gelli pads, we explored ways in which we can resolve pauses and hiccups in our work.

The final Show and Tell proved the validity of personal discovery to find satisfaction with our results. Ruth’s gentle Socratic method elicits responses from her students to help that famous lightbulb sparkle.”

Side Benefits to Teaching Art Workshops:

One of the other reasons that I enjoy teaching art workshops is that it pushes me to be the best painter I can be. It makes me really think about different ways to express my ideas. The painting below evolved because of an idea stimulated by collage. The title “River of Dreams” stuck with me through the first two studies:

River of Dreams Study v. 1

River of Dreams Study v. 1

The original collage featured a young child camouflaged by an oriental rug, and it had images of sharks in the water below. This one was too literal for me, but I wanted to show students that they could change a literal image and make it more abstract.

River of Dreams Study v. 2

River of Dreams Study v. 2

This one was better since it is more abstract, but I wasn’t happy with the colors, and the bottom didn’t seem ‘dangerous’ enough.

Here is the final version. Often we have to go through several paintings to get to the final expression.

'River of Dreams' 22x15" Acrylic on Paper, Ruth Armitage, ©2016

‘River of Dreams’ 22×15″ Acrylic on Paper, Ruth Armitage, ©2016 SOLD

Thanks to all who participated in these fun art workshops, and to the key players at Oregon Society of Artists and Gold Beach who helped make them happen!

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If you’d like to see me demonstrate, visit me during Portland Open Studios! October 8 & 9th or 15th & 16th, 10-5. Click the following link to read my post about the tour and related events.

Finally, I hope you’ll enjoy these images of workshop participants and their paintings!  Click on the images to enlarge and scroll through. What really excites me is that all the participants in these art workshops created work that really reflects them. The work is not simply a copy of what I do, but a reflection of their own ideas and creativity. There is a range of realism to abstraction as varied as the people in the workshop.

 

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