Un-multi-tasking

Should you go to a Nancy Crow Master class?

Trepidation. Fear. Insecurity. Measuring up. Competition. Nervousness. Failure. Criticism.

These are all words that routinely come up when talking with people who are considering attending a Crow masterclass. I would like to substitute different words.

1. Drive. You have to be focused and not depend on others to make you work.
2. Collaborative. This is not a time to be competitive and guard your ideas. So much of the masterclass experience is in the discussions- being open to new thoughts and being willing to share your own. People share thoughts, videos, techniques, great books, and on the other hand, you do not have to worry about someone stealing your ideas.... since everyone has their own voice and their own ideas.
3. Self-directed. Don't expect timed exercises unless they are the ones you are giving yourself. This by the way is very freeing unless you are a Type A like me and work insane hours anyway. But it is nice to be able to sit down and have a leisurely lunch with fellow artists if you wish without worrying about assignments.
4. Verbal. Lots of talking. Great presentations. People open to constructive criticism and wanting input. If you are worried about how you sound or are nervous presenting, then this is a wonderful opportunity to hone these skills in a supportive group. And it is a great time to discuss so many topics- from the benefits/ risks of entering competitions, how to price or ship a piece of art, to derivation and influence. And the great thing is that we present to each other. This is not a Nancy lecture series, and I very much get the sense that Nancy is enjoying the presentations as much as we are.
5. Sympathetic- great word. And so apt to describe the women attending. Not everyone is at the same level- and you know what- no one cares and it is not important. People were nervous, edgy, worried about the hurricane, worried about having no ideas or too many ideas, but no matter what there was always a sympathetic ear and a willing shoulder. And the person with the most supportive ear was Nancy. She has a marvelous way of knowing how much direction a person wants, knows when someone is feeling vulnerable, and tailors her criticism to match each person's needs.
6. Humorous . Lots of laughter whether it is playing Mexican dominoes, or chatting with Margaret cracking silly jokes, or just enjoying friends around the lunch or dinner tables. Great food- the potential to add 10 pounds if you want, but mostly a fabulous sense of camaraderie.
7. Retreat.  This is the place to come if you are serious about your art and want to retreat from the outside world for just a bit. Now that does not mean retreating within the Barn- there is a lot of interaction with the workshop participants if you want it. But if you want to be alone and focus- you can just put your headphones on and you will be left alone.
8. Possibilities  Perhaps that is the best word to describe the experience. Possibilities. You come away with ideas and so many avenues to explore. You understand how to work in a series, and how to continue to develop and that nourishes you for the two years between master classes.

I will be back at the barn in a year to attend a Crow class and I will start to work towards preparing for my next Master class. I urge those who are fearful to think about attending. I can guarantee you it will be two weeks you will never forget.