The Teacher Becomes The Student
The Artist Dreama Tolle Perry is someone I’ve admired and followed online for a long time. This past weekend I actually was able to TAKE a workshop with Dreama and it was a Dreama come true! The class was oil painting with Dreama Tolle Perry. I admire the heck out of Dreama not only for her incredible success and painting talent, but for her marketing and workshop teaching skills as well. I wanted to learn as much about how Dreama sells out her classes out so consistently and quickly as I did oil painting. Maybe more.
An Old Florida Community
Indian Rocks Beach is a small, relatively quiet, old Florida beach town near Clearwater. My grandparents actually wintered there many many many years ago when I was a little kid. I visited them one January and can remember combing the beach for colorful shells with my Nana and walking the dog in the golden morning sunlight with my Bumpa. After what seemed like more than a lifetime, last year I had the pleasure of being invited to teach at the Beach Art Center myself, this brought back fond memories for me. IRB is a community of locals and snow birds that are friendly and close to one another all year or seasonally. The Art Center takes this sense of community to the next level for the members who take classes there year after year.
The friends I made at the Art Center when I taught last year, stayed close and true throughout the year. Mary invited me back to join Dreama’s class (which is an immediate sell out, you typically cannot get in) along with the Art Center members who had first dibs. I hesitated at the overwhelming supply list, thinking “will I ever even use oil paints again?” Mary said to me “Elizabeth, just come sit next to me, I have everything you need, including canvas.” And then she added, “AND why don’t you just stay with me for the weekend?” The initial connection was our love of art, but Mary is a flat out riot and I lover her spirit. We had a fantastic time spending time together making art and eating seafood! All I had to bring was an apron.
I had the sincere pleasure of meeting Sheila this visit, she’s Mary’s painting friend of 30 years from Ohio. Sheila came down just to take the class and spend time painting with Mary. They were generous enough to invite me to be a part of their tradition. I was honored.
Now Dreama is an amazing teacher, she’s funny, talented, patient and kind. She was generous with her information and encouraging on all levels. I basically told her I was there to pick her brain about how she’s such a successful teaching machine and not really to paint. HOWEVER, I really really loved learning to paint with her. I was honest and up front with her, told her about my mission and she shared many marketing ideas with me, as did her husband and business partner Ron. Artists helping artists, what a beautiful thing. Thank you Dreama.
Get to Work
Here’s Dreama’s day one demo and our assignment, painting flowers with a strong sense of light and capturing the transparency of glass. Not for the weak hearted. Dreama demonstrated, made it look easy, and sent us to our easels.
I labored and over worked my first floral, I missed leaving the underpainting showing through and lost my fresh brush work. I worked on that 12×12 most of the day. At the end of the day Mary, Sheila and I stayed an hour later than everyone else. I banged out a second floral in the last 45 minutes that was MUCH more successful than the first. I had to get into my zone of quick painting and no laboring over details. This one (above) was much more successful and I was getting the hang of oils. They don’t dry like acrylics do. I had not used oils since college.
On day two we worked from a second reference photo provided by Dreama of a landscape. I liked the concept of the class all working from the same reference photo very much, it really helped us learn from one another when walking around and seeing what was on the easel next to you. I’m making mental teaching notes. I tried not to over work this one but ultimately I kind of did, and I’m not a big fan of straight lines.
By day three I was loosening up and getting the hang of the techniques that Dreama continued to explain, demonstrate, and assist you to achieve on your piece through individual attention at your easel. She’s an amazing teacher, her positive attitude and demeanor makes you feel confident and happy.
And Then it Clicked
In the afternoon of day three, I finally got it to click and I banged out two 8×8 paintings that I was truly happy with. The water lily piece was part of a paint around exercise called Musical Easels where we all rotated easels and painted on each other’s piece for about 45 min in 5 min rotations. Dreama explained that this was to encourage the joy in painting without any pressure to create an end result. It was a great experience and when I returned to my easel I had a lot of promise as well as a lot of correcting to do in order to finish this piece.
The last piece I created in the last hour of day three was by far the best. I took everything I learned about oil paint layering from Dreama, and added my own style to it. She helped me get back to capturing a light source when I started to lose it, and by end of class I was truly happy with how my sunflower came out.
I can’t thank Dreama enough for being so generous in sharing her painting talent along with her experience and knowledge of workshop teaching and selling her art online with me. She was not only encouraging but willing to give me plenty of resources to grow my brand even further. AND she told me my work was beautiful after looking me up online the night before.
I left the weekend of friends, food, and fine art feeling blessed. I’m really happy that I branched out from my comfort zone AND my 3-mile radius.
For more information on my workshops visit my Facebook page for a complete listing of classes. No Facebook account required.