Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Like A Proud Parent...

I've been teaching a lot of classes lately, and it's been such an incredibly gratifying experience. I feel just like a proud parent when I walk around the classroom and see the fantastic, creative, original work that my students are doing. I learn so much from them!

They listen to my ideas and instructions, then take it to the next level, dreaming up new ways to use what they've learned.

In my one-day workshop yesterday at McMurray Art League, we played musical chairs. The students moved from one table to the next, with only one minute at each station to draw a designated art supply. When it came time to paint their drawings, I gave them only two minutes per sketch.

It was amazing what they accomplished in such a short time, proving my point, that you don't need huge chunks of time to sketch. A minute or two here and there can result in a great page.

 I shared some ideas for page layouts to use when sketching summer flowers...

and they took it from there! Here's a pretty pink composite page...

Even with all my talking, we had plenty of time during the six-hour class for everyone to finish three sketchbook pages.

Next week, we have a day trip planned to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh to sketch the summer flower show. I think they're ready!

My eight-week Sketchbook Journaling 101 class here at Summerhill is in its fifth week now, and the student artists have come a long way since week one.

They're making a habit of sketching, looking for things that might catch their eye during the day, to record on the pages of their sketchbooks.

I love seeing what they bring to class each week...

but one of the best parts of the class is the support they give to each other...

I always urge my students to encourage themselves about their own work as much as they encourage each other in class. I hope they take that to heart, because they each have an artistic voice and view of the world that is unique to them. I love helping them discover it.


  1. What fun, Leslie! If I ever see your 101 class offered again, I may consider making the four-hour drive each week to attend. I'm floundering with watercolors in my sketchbook. The online class I'm taking now is short on technique, and I can't find a local in-person class. Looks like your group is having a great time. Thank you for sharing their inspiring work!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Susan,
      The multi-week format I'm doing now is good because the students have a chance to practice the techniques they learn each week, but maybe I need to offer a two-day workshop here at my place for people who live out of the area. There are plenty of places to stay nearby, and we could accomplish a lot in two days. Is that something you would be interested in?

  2. Their work is fantastic!!! Maybe someday I'll get to take a workshop with you. could do one in Maine....Love the fast sketch idea. Some of my best happen in less than a minute. It's so great to be in a workshop where you are surrounded by the varied folks & ideas & art!

    1. Rita,
      I'll be in Rockland in June. Want to meet for lunch and discuss? Sure would be fun to get together and sketch a bit. Drop me an email.

  3. Leslie,
    I had so much fun yesterday at Phipps. I'm happy with the way my pictures came out, and it is always a pleasure to talk to you. You gave me some good tips and I'll definitely incorporate them in my work. Thanks for a great day!


  4. Your classes sound like a lot of fun, Leslie. Well done to all the students on the lovely work! :)


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