By Jodi O’Dell
The GOLDEN Working ArtistsSM Program has been providing a venue for artist experimentation for the last 10 years. Many people learn best by experiencing materials first-hand and the Program does just that – provides an opportunity for playful exploration and sharing of technical information about the variety of GOLDEN products and their uses.
The curriculum that was established for the current Working Artists Program classes resulted from work done by GOLDEN CEO Mark Golden, Artist Scott Bennett and Artist Jim Walsh several years prior to the implementation of the formal Working Artists Program. It was the success of these hands-on workshops that led to the need for additional artists and resources.
“We’re very excited to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary,” said South Carolina Artist and Working Artists Program Director, Patti Brady. “The success and growth the Program has seen in the last 10 years has been incredible. The knowledge artists have gained by participating in the Program’s classes is indescribable. Artists are tremendously grateful for our time spent with them and it feels great to be part of a sustainable Program such as this.”
The Program has grown tremendously since its beginning in 1997, when it comprised two independent contractors in the United States. The Program currently has 27 artists in key locations throughout the US and Canada as well as nine artists positioned internationally. There are a handful of artists who have been in the Program since the beginning and have seen tremendous results both personally and professionally.
“When I take a look at the progress I have made over the years I am amazed,” said New Mexico Artist, Nancy Reyner. “I see leaps and bounds in both technical skill and confidence in areas such as painting, teaching, and my overall artistic experience. I feel as though I went through a high level postgraduate program. In addition to the advancement of my work as a painter, I have gained confidence as a public speaker, and am really enjoying my time ‘ on stage’ demonstrating. I love watching faces light up as I get to show all the new products and techniques to other artists. It is wonderful to share this information and my discoveries with other artists.”
California Working Artist, Tesia Blackburn, agrees. “I’ve increased my teaching ‘audience’ by more than tenfold since I began with the Program. I am very grateful to GOLDEN for the opportunity to be a part of the Working Artists Program!”
Corrine Loomis Dietz, an artist in Oregon, reinforces the importance the Program has served in her own artwork. “In my own work, as I experiment with my photographs and paint, I am building stronger surfaces with a new sense of articulation. Layers of exploration, building color, textures, surfaces that change in absorbency, combining pencil and paint … somehow I have the confidence to pull it together. I know this is due to being so heavily exposed to the product, the technical dialogue, and being required to verbalize it to other artists. I have learned so much; I still have so much to learn!”
The Working Artists are professionals whose credentials range from Masters of Fine Arts to Masters in Education. The majority of artists maintain a rigorous studio practice while continuing to exhibit in national, international, group and solo shows.“What a journey it has been over the last ten years!” said Brady. “In the early stages of the Program I was so lucky to work with artists with an insatiable lust for technical information and for crazy experimentation – the craving for knowledge was contagious and shared with each other. I can’t say enough about how every one of the artists in the Program have in their own way supported me in my career as a painter, or how the exploration of product has profoundly influenced and supported my work. None of this could have happened without the support of the company and Mark Golden’s commitment to education and to individual artists.”
Working Artists receive extensive training to expand their knowledge of products and painting techniques. Each artist then provides informative lectures, conducts interactive classes and gives hands-on demonstrations displaying many different aspects of GOLDEN Acrylics. Individual classes target specific interests and techniques, including Essential Acrylic Techniques, Mixed Media Techniques, Watermedia Techniques with Fluids, Ground and Gels, Color Mixing with Acrylics, Outdoor Acrylic Painting Techniques, Gels and Mediums: The Secret to Acrylic Painting, and more. Presentations given by the Working Artists span all levels of ability, include information for various audience interests and take place in a variety
It is this one-on-one interaction in the class that has made the Program so strong. Relationships that have been established between artists through the Working Artists Program have been incredible. One Working Artist has even credited a portion of her artwork’s success to the Program and the community she’s been able to connect with through the classes she teaches.
“A supportive arts community has developed through this work, which includes the GOLDEN technical staff, other working artists, the arts organizations where I teach and of course, my students,” said Reyner.
“I feel like this opportunity is truly a gift, and I put it on the same level as my undergrad and graduate degree programs.”
Ties to the arts community have also strengthened for Artist Tesia Blackburn since she began with the Program. “ The Working Artists Program has been responsible for introducing me to a large number of artists and students,” said Blackburn. “It has helped immensely in filling my classes and workshops. There are waiting lists for all of my classes!”
The GOLDEN Working Artists are the eyes and ears of the company. They validate our business model. They allow us to play a significant part within the artist community. They help us to communicate with one artist at a time. We believe that if you want to create community, you need people who are part of the community to do it. “The artists involved in this Program are excited about what they do each and every day for fellow artists, ” said Patti Brady. “They are committed to sharing real information in a very real way.”
“Teaching the workshops has allowed me to meet a wide range of people around the region, which has resulted in long lasting relationships and sharing of ideas and artwork,” said Minnesota Artist, Bonnie Cutts. “I enjoy seeing how others think visually and how they make use of the materials. I always learn something from participants. It is so rewarding to see them leave a lecture or workshop with so much more information than before the session and be excited about what they can try with their own work. ”
Support of our Retailer community is also an essential part of the Working Artists Program. The Retailer Workshop gives retail staff the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the GOLDEN product line and of acrylics in general. Through the training done by Working Artists, retail staff is able to give customers the most accurate information possible regarding modern materials. This Program imparts confidence in staff’s ability to address the concerns and interests of one of the most creative communities in the world – artists.
As a manufacturer that supplies these retailers, we believe in supporting those partners that help to create and support the community of artists, wherever and however they exist. In order for all of us to thrive in this creative community, we need to support and give back to one another for mutual success.
“Working with our Retailer Community has been a very positive experience,” said Patti Brady. “They are embracing the work we’re doing in their stores and are extremely appreciative of the time and planning that goes into each session in order to ensure its success. They keep asking us back to their stores, so that’s a great feeling!”
Two newcomers to the Program are also excited about what they’ve experienced in the Program already.
“I am very encouraged by the positive experiences I have had thus far as a GOLDEN Working Artist,” said Arizona Artist Adriana Yadira Gallego. “The rush of absorbing, processing and sharing so much knowledge has already enriched my development as an artist
“My first thought, at least the one that is foremost in my mind is the historical perspective that comes from an association with Golden Artist Colors,” said Florida Artist, K.D. Tobin. “It feels like a reach back through the history of modern art and the ability to converse, if only metaphorically, with the likes of Frankenthaler, Louis, and Lichtenstein. The connection between GOLDEN and Bocour and the modern masters of the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s is more than a little bit thrilling, and any connection to that history, no matter how fleeting can quicken the pulse. The information provided to us, the Working Artists, and by extension to lecture/demo and workshop participants is beyond comprehensive. The phase one training with Patti in Greenville only confirmed how dynamic the Program actually is and I am very excited to be working with her.”
When asked where she thought the Program would be in another 10 years, Patti said, “We are hoping to grow the Program even more. What we’ve accomplished thus far is truly amazing and couldn’t have been achieved without the continued support of the artist and Retailer communities. Even more amazing are the incredible artists who have decided to participate in this remarkable bout of creativity!”
Working Artists Program Classes and Lecture Demonstrations are available for arts organizations, universities and colleges, clubs, retail stores, and private groups. To learn more about the Working Artists Program and the artists teaching the workshops, go to the GOLDEN Web site, www.goldenpaints.com, browse your cursor over “Artists” in the main menu and click on “Working Artist Program/Workshops”.