John has taught workshops to tens of thousands of people from elementary school children to large museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has received three Presidential Awards for his workshops. John is the number one blind painter in the world, and his motto is that if he can create art then anyone can, and he proves this one student at a time. John teaches a large number of workshops, but all of them have a couple things in common, everyone has fun and negativity isn’t allowed.
In this exercise John instructs participants on techniques that mimic his way of painting. John first prepares raised line drawings for everyone. They are then given paints that are pre-mixed with different textures so that they can be told apart by their feel. Participants are then blindfolded and paint using their sense of touch.
A great way to experiment with form and texture, clay allows participants to get hands on with art. Scents are added to help distinguish colors; this also seems to work well with people dealing with Autism and Alzheimer’s. Participants are invited to let their other senses influence how the clay takes shape.
Investigation Though Touch
Participants are given a boxes with a hole in it just large enough to fit a person’s hand and then an item or items are placed into the boxes that are textually interesting. This is a great way to shift the emphasis away from the eyes and start engaging the other senses.
Color can be a great tool to express feelings, emotions and ideas. This exercise helps to broaden our ideas of what color can mean to an artist, and how it can be used to express different ideas. Participants are given jelly beans to add flavor for this workshop. The flavors they taste dictate the colors they will use in their painting.
Inspired by the Music
The participants try to capture the overall feel of the music in their art. In this workshop participants are guided through their art with compounding layers of music to create an ensemble that best represents the music being played. Working on a painting with each component being added separately helps us to understand how each part is affecting our thoughts and emotions. This workshop is nice to do when discussing artists that used music in their work such as Kandinsky and Mondrian.
This is a longer workshop in which the participants actually complete a painting from start to finish. The workshop is taught in such a way so that artists from beginners to experts can follow along and feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. This workshop is also conducted in a way so that people of all abilities or disabilities are able to participate and contribute. The goal here is to relax, have fun, and make some art!
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