Teacher’s worst nightmare

Ok my darlings. Time for true confessions. There are two things that cause me anxiety every time I get in the car to drive to a workshop. My gravest concern is that someone will leave unhappy with their painting and I will feel like I failed them. The second fear is that I will be the one who paints a disaster and will look like a fraud. 

Well damn if I didn’t paint a hot mess on Saturday at my workshop at Mac in Main. All the way home I beat myself up about it. Then it occurred to me on Sunday morning that I had an opportunity to see what it was like for someone in a workshop who isn’t happy with their outcome and what would I do to fix it. Let me walk you thru the workshop process and then show you what I did to rescue my painting. 

After applying texture paste and allowing it to dry we covered up all of the white. This was where my painting already started to derail but I went with it. Some of those colors were too muddy already. I should have added another layer of better color.  

While the texture was drying we did a few minutes of sketching leaves from observation and to create a little muscle memory for later. After the underpainting was dry we dropped red paint in two directions to give us some cues for composition later on. I forgot to take a photo there. 


We practiced making green and added large dabs of color to our underpaintings. While all of that was drying we went back to our sketchbooks to create compositions based on our initial sketches. After drawing the composition onto our canvas it was time to start simplifying. First step we painted out the negative space. Ok. So far so good. 

Then I started adding color into the leaves and those pots. This is when that dull underpainting came back to haunt me. It completely killed everything I tried to paint on top of it. More mud. Pressed for time I soldiered on but to no avail. This is where I left it at the end of the class. 

Those muddy tones in the pots brought down the whole tone of the painting. I could have left the leaf colors alone but something was seriously off. The addition of a cleaner white and the black in the background helped to make the colors shine but at the end of the day I still felt like I’d failed. 

When I got home I reconfigured the pots as well as changed up their coloration. I also tweaked the green leaf colors. The yellow pot is too high key and overshadows the leaves but I’ve had to sit this puppy aside for now. Sometimes you just gotta walk away. It’s not the worst painting I’ve ever created but I don’t think the Morris Museum is going to be calling me anytime soon. Below are the results from several of the participants. They far outshine the instructor on this day!!! Thank you to all who attended this workshop and trusted me to take them outside of their normal painting process. You all taught me today as well. XO

My favorite student work from the day!! Wowzers

Love how this one looks like a couture textile.

Lovely and lively

Our host knows a thing or two about moving paint around!

This painting is so lovely!

I really like the graphic design quality to this piece.

How sweet is this?

This piece reminds me of beautiful stained glass.

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