New Work

March 9, 2023

Why take classes?

Sketchbook Revival 2020

You may ask yourself, "I'm on my art path. I know what I want to make, why should I take classes, at all? And you're right to ask. Maybe they aren't for you. But. Every year for the last few, I've dedicated the first few months of the year to taking (online) classes. The reasons are many and I'll try to list mine  below.

Learning something new is ALWAYS a Good Thing

Even if you are an accomplished artist with a strong vision, adding to your lexicon through new skills or exposure will always, always be helpful in the long run. Sometimes "the New" doesn't reveal itself immediately but every single thing we experience as artists (as people!) informs our work/state of mind. If you only need one reason to "take that class"? This is it!

Extreme Composition - Jane Davies

Filling up before burning out

So often an artists life is in "all decks on hand", "balls to the wall" mode before the end of each year what with shows and markets and general life stress of "The Holidays" so that when we get back into the studio in each New Year we may feel a little shell-shocked. Perfect time to let someone else do the leading. Our  Creative Wells may be registering empty and nothing fills if up faster, better than learning something new. 

Grid Journal - Kellee Wynne

New Skills

This is pretty self-explanatory but always worth noting. Even if we take classes that are in our artistic wheelhouse there is always something to learn from a fellow artist. From different methods to brand new techniques, everything feeds the inner Muse. As a side note, even watching artists work is highly informative from their set up to their preferred tools down to their actual process. Highly recommend finding a few folks to follow on YouTube and veg out!

Botanical Relics- Stephanie Lee

Change it Up

Going down a completely different path ...ceramics if you're a painter, paper arts if you're a ceramicist. Three dimensional work if you're a two-dimensional artist and, obviously, the reverse. Working in a totally different medium can really throw open the doors on your creative outlook. 

Vehicular Varmints - Michael deMeng

And some cautionary tales, as well:

Choose Wisely

Not all classes are created equal. And if time is of the essence, get a recommendation before taking on that 3 week class. I'd hazard to say a day or two is probably worth the jump if only to let you know what you DON'T want to do without a huge commitment but if life is time sensitive, do your homework. Nothing is more aggravating than taking a class that is a bad fit. For everyone involved. 

Divergent Paths

If you are an easily distracted artist maybe choose a class you KNOW will add to your skills/lexicon. In the past, I've taken assemblage classes whilst in a two-dimensional mind-set and though I might thoroughly enjoy myself, getting waylaid is not in MY best interest. Learning how to handmake chain is awesome but virtually useless if what you need is Colour Theory.


Don't get sucked into anything market related if MAKING is at the top of your list. Nothing kills your creative spirit. Nothing! (or maybe that's just me!)

If it Ain't Working? Ditch it!

Even if you've paid good money. Your time is worth something and you need to guard it carefully. The person whose work you adore may be a tremendous artist but a lousy teacher. Don't feel compelled to stick with anything that isn't filling up that creative well. For what it's worth, most classes these days give a healthy amount of time to take the class. It might not be a good fit today but may be just the thing six months from now.

If I've convinced you to take a class, here are some folks I would always highly recommend:

Jane Davies ... I loved Jane's Extreme Composition but I think anyone could learn anything from her. Love her work. Great teacher!

Kellee Wynne ... The (FREE) grid journaling class is a must but I learn something from every class or YouTube video of hers I've watched.

Stephanie Lee ... Whilst a good friend, Stephanie is also an amazing, thoughtful, accomplished teacher. Take anything,  you won't regret it! (and will learn so much about yourself in the taking)

Michael deMeng ... Winner of the Most Fun Teacher award and I do not use the word "Fun" lightly. You'll learn a ton as well but will have such a Good Time doing it!

Sketchbook Revival ... A special note about Sketchbook Revival ... it starts at the end of March and goes for 2 full weeks with an amazing cast of artists, teachers and mentors who are sure to get your juices flowing. This will be my FOURTH year and am so looking forward to it. Sign up Today!

February 26, 2023

Script - A Show

I was asked to fill in for a show at The Ice House Gallery in Tatamagouche, NS. The curator has always been super good to me so of course I said, "Yes!" after I did a mental tally and thought, 'yep, I've got enough potential pieces to make this work. Only, they were all on paper and far from being finished. But I had a few weeks and I always work well with a deadline. Bring it on, right?!?

And then my dear pup, Stella got very sick and needed 24/7 care for 8 days. I was a mess and the deadline drew ever closer, stressing me out even more. I think only a couple of hours were spent in the studio during that time and everything I touched got wrecked. Ack!

But Stella gradually got better and I was finally able to get my boards cut, cradle frames made, everything sanded with a week remaining. And that's when the real work began. There were so many dead ends and double backs and while I ended up getting everything finished in time, the reason I even mention it is sometimes an opportunity can feel like it isn't meant to be and you want to wave the white flag. And sometimes you just need to put your nose to the grindstone and Get'er DONE! I'm super glad I stuck with it because through hardship comes discovery and I really love how this group came together. 

Remember Me - Mixed Media on cradled wood board 8 1⁄2 x 7 x 1 1⁄2

The Barn - Mixed media encaustic on cradled wood board 8 x 7 1⁄2 x 1 1⁄4

Melody - Mixed media encaustic on cradled wood board 8 x 8 x 11⁄4

Exile - Mixed media encaustic on cradled wood board 8 1⁄4 x 8 x 1 1⁄4

Swimmers Go the Extra Mile - Mixed media encaustic on cradled wood board 8 x 8 x 1 1⁄4

Transmission - Mixed media, rusty nails, wire on cradled wood board 8 x8 1⁄2x 1 1⁄2

Back Home - Mixed media encaustic on cradled wood board 14 x 9 x 1 1⁄4

762 - Mixed media on cradled wood board 8 1⁄2 x 7 x 1 1⁄2

Wild Lake - Mixed media on cradled wood board 8 1⁄2 x 7 x 1 1⁄2

All Rights Reserved . JJ Worden . emerge