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My mood? I would have to say, grateful…

These past few days were spent around like minded people. Now, I don’t always necessarily need that, but on the occasion it happens, there is a restful reassurance that shows up saying, “You’re not alone, you’re not crazy, and you need to just keep doing what you do.” I started off our two day art workshop titled, Swallow my Pride, with the incredible talented and driven Dave Koenig of Omaha, Nebraska, by talking about mindsets, mentality, and perception concerning art and the making of art. Once you start talking about these types of concepts, the world opens up and it can easily turn into a philosophical and theoretical mess. I can’t help but put these ideas out there because that’s where I’m at in my life and art, but fortunately, it really seemed like the audience, around 35 very capable, talented artists, were right there with me, you know the feeling when your saying something and the person you’re saying it too has that look in their eyes that says, “I totally get it!”.  That was the look I saw on everyone there. Not like, “Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, we already know all of this, you’re wasting our time.” it was more of, “I’ve never thought about it this way but, that totally makes sense, and I feel like I’ve always known this, but never realized it.” 

As I would finish off a thought, we’d all jump into our painting project for a short time. I wanted to give people a chance to contemplate it while doing what they are familiar with, creating. I shared my thoughts on how to be, and then showed people how I paint. The contrast between philosophical ideas and tangible technique, I feel, made a nice spectrum to operate in. As the tangible technique would wind down to people making the same movements with their paint brushes, I would go back into mindset and mentality. I’ve never done this back and forth technique before. I usually show the technique first, let everyone get absolutely frustrated and worn down, then I overwhelm them with the theoretical concepts, ideas, mentality, and…. “The BIG picture.” so to speak, but that has always been the usual outcome. Everyone being overwhelmed.  

This time it really seemed to work. After finishing the demo and giving people a chance to work on their painting, we headed to a friend’s restaurant and took over the upstairs bar for a group “drink and draw” everyone was into it. It’s great to spend time with people that are passionate about creating and not too serious as to not have a good time. 

Dave took over the workshop the second day and step by step guided us through his process after sharing his perspective on art, work ethics, and career. It’s always encouraging to hear how other people deal with the normal challenges of everyday life. As we all watch each other via social media it’s easy to think that it all comes so easy to everyone else and, “I’m the only one who struggles with this.” Of course that’s not true. As they say, “Nothing good comes easy.” 

-Jeff Gogué

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