My intention before we left to Barcelona to spend two months there is to spend time on working on my travel sketching book, and to test out my Flow painting on anybody who are open to it and are willing to try something completely new. I was in discussion with one art space called Cercle De Sant Lluc to introduce this workshop there, however the timing was not great because Barcelona is dead between August and September
for their summer break. I said to no one in particular but to the universe and the gods of timing and movement that "I wish to teach this workshop twice, just twice, and I'll do it anywhere, for anyone who's interested for free., I will leave it up to you what this will look like, ok, Thanks in advance Universe!"
Part 2: Action
I packed about 16 pieces of the Water paper, a bunch of brushes and I was determined they will be used. I plan to develop this workshop and use it on a regular basis for myself, and to record the findings from that. Arriving in Barcelona, I began to catch up with friends, and made new contacts with groups of people I've met before, and I brought this paper everywhere and I showed and demonstrated it as often as I could. I started a morning rituals of meditation and stretching that included using Flow painting techniques on the floor with a yoga mat.
At a summer social gathering I was invited to, my friend Michal was impressed by the paper, and told me he will connect me with his friend Jaime, and that Jaime has an event space I might be able to use to conduct workshops. I met Jaime on the chat group Michal created and before that week was over, I had a workshop called Mindful Drawing scheduled in. Thank you Jaime!
First workshop in Barcelona, was hosted by Jaime Mitchell, she's an American who has lived in Barcelona for many years and is one of the organisers of the Barcelona Burning Hub, and this event I am so thankfully included in is called The Urban Playa, Coinciding with the actual Burning Man annually held in Black Rock, Nevada, This group is organising their own event that follows the code of Burning Man, and streams the video live from Black Rock on the daily. The Burning Man Code applies in no money exchanged, and people are giving services and things for free in exchanged for other services and things they need for the entire duration of the event. Jaime organises the week long program and my Flow Painting manifested through it, and is called Mindful Drawing. It was scheduled along with other workshops such as Chakra Therapy, South Bath, Silent Disco, and other quite interesting self improvements workshops and fun ones like DJ 101 workshop.
5 people joined the workshop, and English was mostly understood, although not fluently. The workshop was two hours long, starting with very simple warm up and understanding the water paper and the brush materials. The feedback from the participants were very positive, mostly very curious and impressed with water paper, and not at all phased by the challenge of drawing a portrait. I must add that they all seem to have had a drawing interest so that is very helpful to enhance the enjoyment of the workshop. I was pretty pleased with how it went and so very grateful for the opportunity. Thank you Jaime for the opportunity!
4 people joined this workshop and I charged €6 per person to cover costs of materials and some refreshments. It went very well again. This workshop was also 2 hours long, and the feedback from the participants was how wonderfully relaxing the meditation part of the workshop was, and the small size of the class was very welcomed. Pau's uniquely designed space added to the general vibe of the workshop with its high ceiling and minimal interior.
In this workshop I met Blanca Navas who runs Coco y Pincel, after she's experienced the workshop, she asked me if I could do another workshop at her studio in two weeks time. She's only done workshops for kids so far, and wanted to launch adult workshops. She suggested to charge full price so the space rental, as well as for a Spanish speaking translator could be covered. I am so super chuffed for this opportunity, I did not expect it but we move ahead to plan my third workshop. Thank you Blanca!
Because this workshop is still at it's early stage of development, it was most excellent to be able to charge €20 per person on my third session, where the space rent is covered, translator paid, materials are covered and I feel the risk of running a new workshop is paying off. I included the same meditation and also mindfulness warm up before they attempt a more risky portraits. This workshop was 2.5 hours, and included painting on actual paper with black watercolour paint. I kept the paint colour to a single colour to maintain the simplicity, and at the last 5 minutes, added a red colour so they can add one impactful accents on their final drawings.
The feedback for this workshop was very positive, and I learned that most of these participants are quite chilled out. Like most people, they do have some fears of being judged, for being new at drawing, and a few people has literally never ever drawn before. The general class dynamic seems to go with the "Flow" and an enjoyment of the process instead of focusing on the result. In my 7 years of teaching experience in Singapore, I find the stark difference here was that there's a lot less anxiety to produce something perfect, and these participants seems to be more gentle on themselves than some of the adult students I've taught back in Singapore. In this workshop, the participants attempted to draw Male and Female faces, and learned how to work with a basic structure of a head. I used black and white references of very strong images of quite famous people. Because I taught in Spain, I included Javier Bardem and the actress with such an amazing nose Rosie De Palma. When I taught portrait drawing in Myanmar and Singapore, I also used a Local celebrity as a reference. I think it's important to maintain fluidity and familiarity when introducing a new technique, and that can be done through the image guide.
I am very grateful for the way my two months in Barcelona went. For the three successfully launched test of Flow Painting, and I learned a lot from the participants. As always, as an instructor, I always learned a lot while teaching.
My biggest take aways from these workshops are:
- Spanish participants are less of a perfectionists and their attitude is more relaxed overall while learning.
- A lot of curiosity of new materials and new methods was explored as well as enjoyed during the workshop, this shows in their line work, and their bold strokes.
- Participants are beginning to feel more bold with their strokes and eventually thought it would be great to not have their brush strokes dissapeared.
- Everyone loved the freedom of making mistakes that the water paper allows.
- They took home the water paper with such glee, because they can now do Flow Painting anytime on their own.
- I sold all the Water pad that I brought, and some wanted more.
- These workshop would not be possible without the support of my friends. So grateful for all the generosity and collaborative vibes I've received in Barcelona. It feels very satisfying to share a very new kind of creative workshop, with all its risks and unknown elements with groups of new people. These workshop would not be possible without the support of my friends.
- Feeling very fortunate to meet all the new people during the workshop.
Thanks to everyone, hopefully I could employ the same kind of gusto of Intention, Action and Manifesting for this workshop to develop even more so it can help reduce stress, reduce anxiety, rejuvenate people and help reduce mistake phobia.