Yesterday marked the finale of my artist in residency experience at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. I led a workshop, ‘Sampling the world around us: Learn to reduce your surroundings’,about my process as an artist. This workshop asked the participant, “If you were to sum up an experience what key elements would you refer to? The heat from the sun? A moment of excitement? The juxtaposition of colors found in nature?” This workshop introduced him/her on how to simplify his/her surrounding and transfer those important elements of color, texture and line on canvas or paper. As their instructor, I guided them through the process of reduction, how to create a work of art that invites the viewer to explore, investigate and connect meaning.
Each participant was asked to walk around Cedarburg and take as a many photos of things that caught their eye. Quick snapshots. This collection of photos would result in them narrowing down 2-3 images that they are attracted to. Then, they were to think about why they took the photo and explain what drew them to the image. Finally, each participant was to take this information to create a work of art based on thoughts.
- 30-minute stroll in Cedarburg; North, South, West, or East
- Draw/photograph anything you find interesting
- If drawing, spend no more than one minute per drawing
- If photographing, do not analyze. Just snap away.
- Based on your drawings and/or photographs why did you draw/photograph that specific image? (extracting; take out)
- List 2-3 things that attracts to that specific image. (extracting; take out)
- What feeling/emotion do you get from your list of 2-3 things that attracted you to that specific image? (reducing; less in amount)
- In what ways can you convey that feeling/emotion in terms of color, shape, texture, or line? (reducing; less in amount)
- Taken into account the colors, shapes, textures and/or line what composition(s) can you create? (planning)
- How does this arrangement make you feel? Are you satisfied? Not satisfied? What can you change? (planning
- Now, that you have a composition, what materials/medium would help you to achieve this feeling/emotion? (implementation)
To teach the process I use in a 3-hour workshop was difficult, but what I found to be of most importance is that each participant left with a new way of looking, a new way of absorbing their immediate surrounding, raising their sensitivity to those items that can spark an idea at any given moment, and to take a chance.