Tag Archives: student

An Affordable Workshop in Your Home

19 Jul
Purple Iris -- original watercolor by Steve Henderson

Purple Iris — original watercolor by Steve Henderson

Wait for it — but it won’t be long.

Steve Henderson is putting together a PowerPoint video series of how-to-paint workshops based upon actual workshops that he gives. First on the docket is Purple Iris. While he was painting this piece, Steve took photos every few brush strokes, and he is assembling a painting tutorial that will allow students to follow the process with him, step by step. This tutorial covers the same material that Steve presented in a recent watercolor workshop, and he finessed the final product based upon the feedback of his workshop students.

At the end of the tutorial, students will not only have a completed painting, they will have spent a considerable amount of time with Steve, learning what materials he uses, what colors of paints, what techniques, and how he chooses the subject matter for a painting piece in the first place. The information learned will enable students to launch forward into their next painting project.

It’s amazing — the information found in a two-day workshop, which can run anywhere from $100 – $300 — but for much, much less. Think more along the lines of the price of a book but replete with visuals, illustrations, and step-by-step instructions. For amateurs, the guides will gently lead; intermediates who are confident to push forward boldly can grab the information they need and keep advancing. As a homeschooling father, Steve is excited about the possibilities of working with the homeschool community; many, many parents have children who are interested in art, but the opportunities for lessons are limited, both financially and geographically.

We will post the new tutorials on the website as soon as they are available, and we will alert Steve’s Facebook followers and newsletter subscribers as well. If you want to move forward on your art and there is something that you want to learn, contact us at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com with your ideas. We listen to them all.

The Right Stuff

16 Mar

I work with knitters, and a student recently told me,

“I don’t like the way my stuff turns out.”

Using the best materials that you can afford goes a long way in achieving the result you're looking for -- whether you're painting or knitting

When I asked her what kind of yarn she used, she replied,

“Oh, I just picked up something cheap. I didn’t want to spend money on something that probably wasn’t going to work out.”

Bad idea.

Whether you’re knitting or painting, you’ll get the best results when you use the best materials.

While a novice, or even an intermediate, does not need the most expensive items in the store (interestingly, many professionals do not shop at the tippy top themselves), they also don’t want the two-quart tubes of student grade paint and cheap, cheap brushes, all slathered onto loosely woven, won’t-stay-stretched, canvas.

If the colors are weak and the brushes imprecise, the results will be disappointing.

The Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, discovered the major difference between student and professional grade art supplies in one of his early quarters of teaching, when he recommended a starter watercolor kit to his students while he used the materials from his own studio for his demonstrations.

“I know I’m a beginner,” one student said, “but even though I’m following you step by step, nothing I do looks at all like what you’re doing.”

Steve picked up her brush, dabbed it in her paint, and swept it across his canvas.

“Nothing I do looks like what I’m doing with this paint either,” he said.

From that point on, he recommended his own paint choices and brushes to his students, limiting the colors and brush choices to decrease the cost.

Yes, it costs more. No, you don’t have to overhaul your entire studio at once.

But bit by bit, buy up.

Aim for the top where the view is better.

Insecurity — Looking around never makes it any better

20 Jan

One time, when the Norwegian Artist was teaching a beginning watercolor workshop, one of the students looked about and said, “I must be the only true beginner in here. Look at everyone else — they all have so many paintbrushes and so much paint!”

It’s interesting the different conclusions we come to based upon the same observations.

When the Norwegian Artist — who has one, very expensive watercolor brush that he uses pretty much exclusively — sees brand new plastic carriers filled with a plethora of lightly used paint tubes and a bouquet of brushes and other tools, he thinks,

“I wonder how much they actually paint versus the time they spend organizing and arranging their materials?”

More than one of the Norwegian Artist’s students, and frequently a number of them in the same class, approach him privately and apologize for being the only true beginner in the class, and his response is a variation on the theme:

“It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, it matters that you’re going someplace.”

And interestingly, many of the people who are self-conscious about being the only beginner, once they drop the fear of that (whether or not it is true) wind up learning a tremendous amount and progressing far on their journey as artists, simply because they know that they have much to learn and they’re willing to set about doing so.

Because we’re all human, we all have our moments of insecurity, but looking around and comparing our situation (which we know quite well) to our impression of other people’s situation (about which we know very little) unnecessarily compounds the problem, and indeed, can actually block us from our goal of progressing beyond the present.

Workshops and classes are great opportunities to learn, and if you find one that fits your needs and learning style, go for it with enthusiasm and abandon, unhindered by comparison with the other students in the room. After all, when you’re looking about, you’re not looking ahead.

The more difficult the road, the more important that we keep our eyes in front, not to the side, of us. Crawl Hollow Late Afternoon by Steve Henderson

An Unusual Way of Getting Your Art into a Museum

7 Jan

Recently in Poland, my homeland that I’ve never actually been in, a young art student chose to forgo standard procedure and covertly hung one of his paintings in a major Warsaw gallery.

“I decided that I will not wait 30 or 40 years for my works to appear at a place like this,” Sobiepan told reporters. “I want to benefit from them in the here and now.”

So do we all, son.

While I smile at his effrontery — and wonder at how he smuggled a painting in, past the guard, and managed to pound a nail up there without anyone noticing — I am also consternated that such an attitude reaps its own reward: while the museum took down the painting from its briefly stolen space, they re-hung it in their cafe. And the artist is reaping attention and benefits because of what he did — not because of what he paints.

“Someone will buy it just because of the story behind it,” the Norwegian Artist said at the breakfast table this morning. “His career is made, not based upon his skill as a painter, but because of his nerve.” (Actually, the N.A. used another term that rhymes with “halls” or “stalls.”)

It is eminently understandable the young man’s frustration at getting through to museum officials, gallery personnel, magazine editors, professional art organizations — any group sets up its criteria, and after awhile, that criteria can get in the way of its original intention: to seek and showcase fine art, whether it is done by an established name or by a struggling, emerging artist.

Realistically, some good art gets shown, but so does bad art, simply because once the artist has broken the barrier and made his name, he could paint old Playboy calendars from the mechanic’s back room with compost-derived paint and get it hung, showcased, admired and sold.

So the young man decided to take a short cut.

Robert Frost had it right when he talked about the road less traveled; it's worth taking. After the Harvest Rain by Steve Henderson

But in the same way most of us have learned to be wary of Uncle Rob’s famous short cut that shaves 30 miles off the trip, our common sense tells us that anything worth having is worth working for. If the old guard doesn’t work — if the museums close their ears and the major art organizations pick the same old things over and over for their prize winners and the galleries sniff that they’re full and the magazines print a new article about the same artist three issues in succession — then find a different road.

Not only will it not be a short cut, it will probably be longer, and since it isn’t very well used, it won’t be as easy to follow, but it will get you to a different destination, with different scenery along the way.