As expected, last week was pure bliss. I spent an entire week in the company of some amazing artists under the tutelage of one Shawna Moore. Technically, I was a TA, but I did get a few moments to play around, experiment and come up with some new ideas. Read on for my lessons from the week.

1. Write a list of all the things you know how to do. When your mind goes blank and you don't know what to do refer to this list and pick one. My list is, when it comes to encaustic painting at least, is currently at around 30 items and still growing. I would be hard pressed to say now, "But I don't know what to do!"


2. Don't put too much pressure on your experiments - sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but either way you've learned something important.

3. As green builder, Dan Phillips says "Repetition Creates Pattern". One squiggly line may not mean much, but a collection of squiggly lines means a whole lot more.

4. To grow as an artist, I do not need to reinvent the wheel, but I do need to keep pushing myself and one way I can do that is to bump up my game. Add a new twist, make it a little harder, try something new.


5. I already knew that I was fascinated with atmosphere and how air and space change color, light, form and the feel. I also realized that I am fascinated with things that are aged, distressed and time worn. I learned this by playing around with techniques that gave everything a worn look - and I loved it.

6. I thought that be painting landscapes in wax I was capturing moments, but in reality I realized I am capturing memories. And the way we remember events, feelings, and moments is not exactly how it happened, but the way we process those moments.

7. I wish I could paint every day.

Image ©Justin Parisi-Smith