So here's what I've been working on in the studio. I've joined a new program created by Jerry's Artarama, an art supply company based in Raleigh NC. It's called S.T.A.R.T., for Stop Thinking Art is Really Tough. It's aimed at people who are interested in art but don't know where or how to begin, or who are afraid of trying. Instructors in the program offer 2-hour, inexpensive, one-time beginner classes in their own studios, and provide all materials.
All students have to do is show up, and they can get a feel for a particular medium or technique without making a large time or financial commitment. The instructors get the benefit of Jerry's massive advertising campaign, which should attract more students than we could on our own. Jerry's then gets more people coming into the store to buy art supplies. It should be a win-win-win situation. After this initial exposure, we are free to invite the students to our more in-depth classes or workshops. The downside for the S.T.A.R.T. instuctors is that we have to get a minimum number of students/month, and spend a minimum amount on supplies in the store or online (for which we get discounts). Although silk painting is a lesser known medium and people will probably not be breaking the doors down to sign up, I'm giving it a try since I like the idea of introducing people to art in a low pressure way, plus I like that somebody else is advertising for me!
So what meaningful kind of silk painting class could I do in just 2 hours? After experimenting with and agonizing over different things, I decided on a 9.5" stretched silk hoop - it's a metal hoop with the silk pre-stretched over it and ready to display on an easel or hang with fishing wire or decorative cord. Once you've painted it, you're done - no further mounting or framing necessary. I thought this simple grape leaf design would give a good combination of drawing with resist, plus letting the dyes do their own flow-y thing in the background. I'll create other designs and projects as time goes along.
What do you think? Put yourself in a beginning- or non-artist's shoes for a moment.... would you find this image appealing enough to want to learn how to paint it? Does it look too difficult? Too easy? I'd love to get some feedback!