According to Merriam-Webster, a mentor is a trusted counselor or guide.
In this creativity series, we will cover ways of learning from mentors. Mentors come in different forms. The first type of mentor we will cover is an in-person mentor.
Where can you meet with an in-person mentor?
- art retreats
- one day or a series of classes through adult ed, community colleges or universities
- art galleries that hold classes
- private or group lessons at an artist’s studio
One of my favorite ways of learning from an in-person mentor is at an art retreat.
Recently I attended Art is You in Santa Rosa. This is a traveling event, meaning the organizer offers the retreat in different locations.
The five-day Santa Rosa art retreat was held at a Hyatt hotel which allows attendees a place to stay while they take their workshops. In my case, I live an hour away so instead of staying there, I commuted. Meeting and working alongside like-minded art lovers is a fun way to make art.
Over the five days, a variety of teachers offer a wide range of classes. Jewelry, collage, doll making, assemblage, bookbinding are a few of the topics.
The only drawback that I have found with this system of bringing top-notch teachers together for a few days is that it’s hard to choose which classes to take. It’s like eating at one of your favorite restaurants. You only have so much room on your plate. There have been times where I repeat teachers because, like a great menu item that you’ve tried before and loved, you want more of the same. However, each year, I do try to take a teacher that I have not learned from in person.
Watching the teacher in real time makes a lot of difference. You are not watching a demonstration of the techniques sped up like you would see in a video or viewing still images in a book. You can ask questions about their process and get feedback on your work.
If you get the opportunity to learn this way, it’s the fastest way to build your art making skills.
What is your favorite way to learn in-person?