Reflections with WBCA Teaching Artist Sylvia Benson

by Sylvia Benson

During this time of Covid-19, I am staying home and been trying some new techniques with my alcohol inks. It’s rather calming to know that you don’t have to be anywhere. I experimented with running the inks together and was impressed with the effect it had. Also, after finding that the metallics don’t move the same way, I combined them with the regular inks for an another effect. I have also been blowing ink with a straw to make fish and using permanent markers for the more delicate lines that can’t be accomplished with the fluid inks. Here are some of my new works that show these processes.

What makes my teaching experience unique at WBCA is that I teach people of all ages and backgrounds. It’s exciting to hear stories from the students when I start each class with, “Introduce yourself to our class, tell us of your art experiences and one interesting fact or adventure you have had.” This brings our class together in a rather intimate way and we really appreciate the people that are with us. With creative processes, we are putting ourselves out there and this can be intimidating so I feel after these introductions, everyone feels more comfortable to create.

I taught many “Artist in Residence” programs before I started at WBCA and I put many of these activities into my Imagine Art classes for the children. I tell them, “Your art makes the world a more beautiful place to be.”

I also used the ideas and processes that I taught in a beginning watercolor class in Concordia in St. Paul for the Introduction to Watercolor class. I try to break down the techniques into a simple and straight forward form so it won’t overwhelm the students.

My artist statement is: “The creative arts are at the apex of what a culture can attain.”

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