The Best Art Workshops [How Do We Decide]

Vulnerable | Oil on Linen | 12 x 16 | © Beth Cole | SOLD

Vulnerable | Oil on Linen | 12 x 16 | © Beth Cole | SOLD

So who else likes attending face-to-face art workshops, raise your hand. Oh good, glad I’m not alone.

Real time art workshops are my favorite. I love being in the same room with the instructor, watching yummy demos, making new friends, and trying out new techniques in paint. I love workshops so much I could go to one every month. But a couple of not so smallish things stop me….can you say moolah….and, you guessed it, time.

Choosing a workshop is no small task. Are there a boat load of workshops these days or what. Sheesh. Especially those vacation style workshops that take you across the pond. In my dreams I’m already there.

So how do we decide? I would love to hear your wisdom, comments are open and ready for you.

Here are the (loose) guidelines I have given myself.

Towards the end of each year I always make a mental shortlist of whom I would like to study with the next year. And I have begun limiting myself to one workshop a year because I have learned that workshops are wonderful, but I make the most progress by spending time at my easel. Right? If I’m constantly going to workshops, I don’t have time to paint!

Above all else, I always look for an instructor who has awesomely consistent work that I really love. There are so many painters who teach but not all painters are teachers and not all teachers are strong painters. So when a certain artist keeps grabbing my eyes on social media or in a magazine, I always look to see if they teach.

I ask my artist friends for opinions if I am trying to decide between two or three people. One friend has been painting for a long time and knows many of the instructors and she has been wonderful to help me make decisions.

The cost of the workshop is always a factor and while I don’t mind paying for a three or five day workshop, I work hard for my money and I don’t want to waste it so I always look for a good value.

Location is a huge factor for me. I love Midwestern workshops because it means they are accessible by car or a short flight and won’t have me biting my nails over heavy traffic to which I am unaccustomed. Eeeeeee. Makes me nervous just thinking about it. You, too?

Workshop format is a factor as well. Teacher demos are great along with hands-on instruction, so a workshop that is not too large is just right for me. Painting outside is something I really need help and practice with, so this style is definitely what I am looking for in this season of my painting journey.

Let’s see, what else. Hmmmmm. Oh yes, supplies and recommended reading. I want to be sure I can bring what is required and who doesn’t like a good reading list. Art books are such good friends to us.

That’s about all I can think of for now. What has worked the best for you?

Thanks for reading.

Soli Deo Gloria