Make It Your Own

While drinking my first cup of coffee this morning, my blog browsing took me to Michelle Wards Green Pepper Press Street Team Challenge.

This is one of my favorite challenges because Michelle is so inspiring and pushes the envelope encouraging others to do the same. I have been too busy to do much participating lately, but when I saw this challenge it so hit home with me that I had to take some time to answer it today.

Make it your own. I think that all artists truly long to do this. It is a process though. We see someones work and think ‘Oh, I love that, I want to know how they did it’! Sometimes through workshops or classes we are afforded a glimpse of the ‘how’ part. We then take that new found knowledge and add it to what we already know and slowly but surely our own ‘style’ evolves. This is the process. Michelle said the difference between art and crafts is the ability to ‘make it your own’. Are you wanting to make the product or learn the process?

This is what I so struggled with when I kept getting asked to do a ‘face’ class. I truly love teaching and sharing techniques and encouraging people along their art journey, but I really don’t enjoy teaching a ‘product‘ nearly as much. That is not to say that there aren’t times when that is the only way to do something. Short, live workshops lend themselves to that type of teaching. So while I am completely open to teaching my techniques, giving tips, guidance and encouraging the creative process, I didn’t necessarily want to see lots of little ‘Pam’ faces all over. They may tend to look like that at first, but through this process they will become more and more your own.
My answer to this is Pursuing Portraits. I want to share the joy of discovering your own face with you! I share all of my techniques and guide you on the process of finding your own face! It is a continuing process as our art is always evolving. The class is open ended so you will have unlimited access to the materials and can revisit the videos again and again, working at your own pace and discovering the joy of Making it your own!
P.S. all of the journal pages here have been either inspired by one of Michelle’s challenges or made using some of her wonderful stamps. Thank you for the inspiration Michelle!

15 responses

  1. HI Pam, BEAUTIFUL work you've posted! I like everything you've done here… lovely color combinations… thank you for sharing with us!

  2. Making it your own is sometimes a challenge. I think if you teach students a project, or product, that's what they'll walk away with. It's up to them to continue on with the process and really claim it. I love what you said about product/process!

  3. I completely understand why you would have hesitated to do a faces class, but it sounds like you have found a way to make it work without students just turning out carbon copies of your own art. Not that they could be just like yours, but done in your style. If you are giving them the information they need to take it further, and develop the portraits in their own style, then they are going to get so much more out of the class. It sounds like a great class!

  4. Great post, Pam- I too struggled with teaching how to make ‘something’…those are the classes I tend to steer away from too as a student.. well done!

  5. So cool! And isn’t this a great challenge? And the stamps Michelle makes are the BEST. Thanks for sharing! I was just reading your article in CPS, and enjoy seeing more of your work!

  6. Hi Pam,Didn’t realize it’s been so long since I visited your blog. I see I have a lot of reading up to do! I think you are an inspiration to many and I’m sure there are many who kinda copy you at first but then continue to develop their own style. I get charged by viewing the work of so many and think I’m never going to be in their class but I keep trying. Still haven’t done anything more with the journal I started in your class but I will.

  7. Hi Pam,You are such a great inspiration,I took your journaling class,and it got me back really interested in my making my pages beautiful again,I had been in a slump.I want to take your faces class,too.You have put into words what teaching is about.I see that concept in Kelly Rae’s book and always in SuziBlu.I don’t want to make a piece of art that I can’t call my own,but in the beginning of learning a new technique I try to closely mimic the teacher,just so I can ‘get’ the technique down….then I want the technique to be part of me and my style(whatever that is)I applaud you for being so sharing of your ideas…. (((hugs)))Becky

  8. You are very inspiring!!! I just got to know Linda/mamapainter from Etsy. We did a fest together here in Houston, and her work inspired me, and I too thought, I would love to do that and begin another art technique and start making collage art! I have severe fibro and I have worked with so many mediums and the latest pieces of sculpture are killing my hands. I can use all my abilities and knowledge and my own style to do collage art, I thought!!! Of course I have a lot to learn! But you and Linda have ispired me so much and have made me feel like I can continue to produce after all with my illness! I’m on disability, so you just don’t know how much it means to my whole life!!! I LOVE your work btw!!!And I totally understand what you are talking about. I can relate man! LOL!LindaGJ:)

  9. Following the “Process”, I have taken your classes at Creative Workshops and have enjoyed every minute. Recently I purchased the original “Empty Nest”. She is so beautiful that she still gives me goosebumps every time I look at her. Image my delight when I finally found the current Cloth, Paper, Scissor mag and your article Wearing my heART on my sleeve!!! I haven’t even got to the face part yet and I’ve learned so much. Working with molding paste (amazing stuff, texture galore), getting enough guts to actually work on canvas(totally different look than on my journal, which of course I’m doing as well to use up the excess paint, ink, etc). Enjoying the PROCESS and learning new techniques is what I love most about being a “Pam Follower”. Thanks for being such an inspiration to us all and allowing us to make it our own. While we get a sense of accomplishment by doing the first piece along with you, it’s not until we follow our own “heART” that we achieve the feeling of wonderment and awe that we did it using “our” style.

  10. Hi Pam, what you’ve said makes perfect sense – I try to put my own spin on things when I take a class. I’ll have to check out your classes.

  11. Good post Pam; what you have written makes a lot of sense. I love the birdcage page in particular, the way you have treated the chicken wire is wonderful.

  12. hi pam,great post! this subject has been on a lot of people’s minds lately, it seems. and it sounds like you’re offering a great class that will help people find their own voice. as a student, i find my first attempt does turn out a lot like the teacher’s style, but only because it is easier to focus on the techniques if you are not having to think every step, “how do i make this my own?” that comes later, i think, when we have more time to sit with ourselves and our vision of what makes our art unique. with an open-ended class like this, i think more people will be able to take the time to explore their own style.nicolep.s. thanks for the well wishes! baby is doing great and she arrived just 6 days after convenzione!

  13. You guys totally get it. I was afraid after I had posted it that it wouldn’t come out the way that I intended:-) Michelle, you are right on about teaching a ‘process disguised as a project’. People do want ‘something’ to walk away with at the end of a class. I am hopeful participants will feel like they walk away with both the tools to forge aheaad and some wonderful journal pages of the process as well. Working on canvas will be supported and encouraged aa well.Roc I appreciate what you said about about your style working it’s way through the learning process, totally right on. It may start out looking like the instructors examples but as you continue to push yourself, more and more of ‘you’ is in the work.

  14. i appreciate your post pam. i totally understand what you are saying. i think, for myself at least, it isn’t that i want my artwork to look like anyone else’s but there always is curiosity about how something was created. hopefully every artist wants to maintain their own individuality with every thing they learn and want to incorporate. i find my style works it way through the learning process eventually.

  15. Pam, thanks for sharing this post with the team. Being a teacher is such fun, as you know, but it’s tricky to come up with a workshop that gives instruction while leaving wiggle room for each participant to make it their own. Personally, I like to teach Process classes because it gives the artist a handful of new tricks, but I often disguise it as a Project class because many artists like to have something they take away. It sounds like you’ve given this same idea some consideration and hope to encourage the *artist’s hand*, the personal touch, so there aren’t a slew of Pam faces staring out at us. It’s going to happen, that first attempts will look like yours, but with your guidance they will stretch and find their way to Make It Their Own because as you say “all artists long to do this”. Good luck.p.s. great pages 🙂

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