Why I Choose to Attend Other Artist’s Workshops

Kathy Blog Posts

I’m heading to the Blue Mountains this week particularly to visit the Lost Bear Gallery in Katoomba and see Herman Pekel's Exhibition before it finishes.

I’m looking forward to seeing Herman’s current work. Last September I attended a four-day workshop run by Herman Pekel and Patrick Carroll held in Moruya on the NSW South Coast and I was so inspired by these talented Australian artists.

Not only was the workshop a chance to learn from these two talented artists, but I made it into a lovely getaway. A treat for myself after a super busy year. I made the most of it and stayed at a great Airbnb at Tuross heads for four nights. It was such a good break and a perfect combination of art and solitude. Perfect for recharging the batteries and inspiring those creative juices.

Early Morning in Tuross Heads
Early Morning in Tuross Heads
Beautiful Tuross Heads
Beautiful Tuross Heads

Workshops

You may ask why an established artist as myself attend workshops with other artists? The short answer is that I have long admired these two amazingly talented artists and jumped at the chance to hone my skills.

What I got out of the four-day workshop was incredibly valuable to my art, learning new skills and gaining many tips about painting passed on that will be remembered forever. And I believe it’s important to sometimes spend time with like-minded people so that you can totally immerse yourself in your passion. There is nothing like being able to talk about your craft with those that fully understand and “get it”.

It is important to remember that art is ever evolving and there are always new skills to be learnt especially from such talented and giving artists. In fact, I believe that the day I think I know it all will be the day I hang up the brushes!

During this workshop as I watched closely the demonstrations by both artists, I was inspired by the ease of their skill at composition, colour mixing and simply the way that Herman Pekel in particular painted a scene from start to finish all in one go (alla Prima). As each person painted the artists gave individual constructive advice in both watercolour and acrylic painting techniques.

Painting from workshop by Herman Pekell
Painting from workshop by Herman Pekell

Making it your Own

A morning painting Plein air overlooking the stunning coast at Tuross heads was fantastic. The four days were packed with information and I soaked it all in like a sponge! Evenings chatting with the artists and everyone from the group over dinner were a great way to relax and wind down from the busy days painting.

The thing to remember is that it isn’t that I want to emulate or copy any artist’s work but about learning the skills to bring them into my own work in my own way. Sometimes it is the smallest idea picked up that makes the whole thing worthwhile. It can sometimes be a light bulb moment. I love that.

A work in progress
A work in progress
Painting by Kathy Karas under instruction from Herman Pekel
Painting by Kathy Karas under instruction from Herman Pekel

Keep Learning, Never Stop

This weekend I will be attending a workshop by Sydney artist Ros Psakis, another artist who I admire. This will be in oils and I am looking forward to learning and honing my skills some more in this medium.

When possible with my busy schedule I do try to go to at least one workshop a year with an artist whose work I resonate with and feel that I can get something from to advance my own skills in painting. It is a lifelong quest to build on and improve. It is also another chance to enjoy the company of like-minded artists.

In the past I have done workshops with Alvaro Castagnet in Melbourne (watercolour), Colley Whisson in Queensland (oil), Suzanne Warwick in Kiama (oil and pastel) and Chan Dissanyake in Kiama (watercolour). All have been instrumental in giving me the skills to be the artist that I am today.

So no matter how good your skills, how well established you become I believe you should never stop learning, playing and most of all pushing yourself to new limits. You just never know what you will achieve.

About Kathy Karas

Kathy Karas is a visual artist and teacher living and painting in New South Wales, Australia. Kathy works in a wide selection of media including oils, acrylic, watercolour and pencil drawings. Her style has evolved over the years to modern impressionist and most recently she has developed into contemporary work.

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