Here's the truth - Life is not a blank canvas, but more like a great big nothing full of random material. So how do you create something from nothing?
By learning PROCESS.
I've had the pleasure of working with many students, and as I grow I find this part of me hasn't faded or become less important. I have a need to share my love of process with others. I love working with young artists at a time when they need the encouragement and advanced skill set. Young artists need to understand what it means to draw from the world, what it means to create original work versus copying images they find on the internet. There is a difference between Art and simply making images. The difference lies in process, and thankfully process can be shared and taught.
So "Life on Paper" was born. Instead of filling out an application and following an institution's guidelines to create a workshop, I decided to begin teaching free art classes from my Lacombe studio to homeschooled kids (at the time, my daughter was also homeschooled, so it was a logical thought if I'm teaching her, I might as well teach others). I posted information about my classes on social media, and on a local homeschoolers group page of which I was a member.
After a few months of doing this I realized my studio was way too small, and as more students showed interest, I mentally sought a bigger space. On one of my walks, I met a couple of volunteers at Northlake Nature Center. Something boiled inside of me, and I realized that perhaps this was the place. So I asked them about the feasibility of my idea, and they put me in touch with the director of the nature center, who was thrilled by the idea of having a guest artist and the idea of my sponsoring the workshops so I could continue to offer my workshops for free to students.
So how does one do this exactly?
1. Determine what you need to do - What are your gifts? What knowledge do you want to share? What unique skillsets do you naturally have that could benefit others? It could be a foreign language, or maybe you know how to juggle.
2. Determine how much time you can dedicate to sharing your gift - In my case, I'm primarily a studio artist, so I was able to commit one Saturday every other month. This makes the cost of sponsoring the workshop easier, and gives me time to focus the majority of my energy on art making.
3. Determine your audience - My workshop caters to students between the ages of 9-15. I wanted to work with students who were already defining themselves as individuals, and give them techniques to develop their own voices as artists.
4. Do it - Find a place that would like to host your workshop. If you're sponsoring it, your local library or a coffee shop may be a good place to start. Get the word out via social media, tell the local paper so they can add it to community calendars, and most importantly SHOW UP! :)
Each time I host one of my events, I learn and tweak for the next time. The kids and I have a blast hanging out in the woods and learning process together. I love hearing about what they are interested in, and seeing their work develop along side my own.