Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Never Stop Learning – Part Two

Sitting in a tiny desk, showing slides of my art, talking about my job

Spreading the Word

I started out this week presenting to 400 Elders at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Tuesday, and ended it by presenting to 60 fourth graders at Stadium Drive Elementary School for the Arts in Lake Orion, MI on Thursday.

Quite a contrast.

Michigan Again

I was visiting Michigan for a second time this year (previously I was there to teach a workshop with the Traverse City Art Center over the summer) to view my ArtPrize entry installed at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, MI. You can follow ArtPrize on Facebook, it's a short lived (now through October 6) HUGE public art contest that spreads out 3-square miles of downtown.

The kids worked on a collage of the school logo, inspired by a Matisse paper cut

Keeping in contact with Ms. Novak from Stadium School since last year about presenting to her kids, we decided to pair my visit up with my ArtPrize trip. Stadium is a school of choice, a place where parents can choose to send their children because they value the focus it offers on the arts. Many of the children in this school have parents who are artists and are used to being exposed to art, music, dance and theatre. These kids were ready to soak up everything I had to teach them.

What fun we had tearing and gluing papers. The kids told me they loved my hair, they wanted my autograph, and that it was the best day ever! Much like the Elders, only much less contained in their enthusiasm. Gotta love kids for their passion and excitement. "WOW is that a peacock on your shoulder?"

I left the school feeling loved. I was given a green ballpoint pen, a yellow hand-made rubber bracelet, a drawing inspired by my DVD, and lots of hugs. There really is no better feeling for me than the idea of inspiring children in art. These kids were already totally inspired by Ms. Novak and their amazing school, but I hoped that I might just inspire at least one child to pursue an art education and career someday. I told the kids about my high school art teacher who was my inspiration to pursue art as my major in college.

words to describe my visit - click to enlarge

Today I asked the kids to give me one word from your visit, it could be an action, a feeling, material... Anything. Here is what they did (above). This sent from Ms. Novak today.

Taking the Show on the Road

Demonstrating my technique in front of my ArtPrize installation

I decided to explain the technique behind my work for viewers this opening weekend of ArtPrize by demonstrating. I took the collage show on the road to Grand Rapids for the day on Saturday. Thanks to my friend and fellow artist Kimberly Kelly Santini, I had an underpainting, an easel, a side table, water, and snacks to keep me sustained as I worked away and answered questions from hundreds of visitors.

I explained to the viewers how I painted the papers, blended the edges with overlapping colors, and created the whole 3x5-foot image out of tiny bits of torn papers. Folks were really engaged in my description of the process and had to get up close to realize that it was a collage and not a painting.

I reminded them, like I tell my workshop students, I NEVER paint on top! What you see is purely collage, every challenge is solved with paper and I never, never cheat!

Visitors to the Paul Collins room at the Amway Grand Hotel ArtPrize Venue received a collage lesson that day, whether they wanted one or not!

Pay it Forward

I appreciate every opportunity I have to be a mentor and a teacher in art. If you are ever interested in taking a workshop from me, my classes are listed on the right hand side of this blog. You can also visit my Facebook page to follow the progress of many of my collages from sketch to completion.

thank you for
being a part
of my
Art Journey,



  1. I would so LOVE to do a workshop with you Elizabeth! You are my major art crush this year. :) I guess I'll really have to start saving as it's a long way from my little town in Australia to Florida. Out comes the money box.

  2. I would so love to do a workshop - or two with you Elizabeth. You are my major art crush this year. I'd better start saving if I want to get there this lifetime...it's a long way from my little town in Australia to lovely Florida. :)


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