What A Workshop!

Text by Kenya Hadnot, Gallery Attendant for the Forsyth Galleries

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The Forsyth Galleries collaborated with an on-campus student organization, Artistic Expressions, in order to host a mixed media art workshop. Glenda Hoon Russell instructed a number of students with diverse artistic backgrounds, showing examples of her work and guiding artists to perfection as they learned her medium of expertise. This non-traditional collage class was like no other; individuals were free to do whatever they pleased with the supplies available. Glenda encouraged artists to experiment and nurtured creativity as she constantly offered new ideas and compliments for unfinished pieces, and encouraged starting over if a student grew tired of the piece on which they were currently working.

Participants were allowed to use art supplies such as watercolor, ink, pastels, charcoal, glue, exacto knives, crayons and much more. Glenda explained that the purpose of the non-traditional collage was to enhance the element of discovery. While some images or text were superbly obvious, others were contrasting or even camouflaged. Artists tore apart books, newspapers, and magazines in order to form the foundation of their art pieces on a cardboard square. With access to a variety of mediums, each piece produced was one of a kind. While some participants worked patiently with blow dryers to melt crayons for cool coloring effects, others used paints and color pencils to enhance their paper findings. Working with cardboard squares and blow dryers in one setting was rather eclectic, but it got better.

Glenda carefully explained several techniques, making sure that each participant understood the vast amount of directions they could go. Instructions included tearing away from their piece with an exacto knife, using paper towels and glue to ball up for texture, painting with fingers and napkins instead of the traditional paint brush, and using tape to hide parts of the piece so other parts could stand out more. In a two hour time frame, some participants worked in detail on one piece, while others were able to produce two or three. For such a learning experience, Glenda Russell’s mixed media art workshop was fun, and simple to duplicate. Inspired by her teachings, Artistic Expressions will allow their members to recreate this experience.

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