A participant learns about “process painting” during a previous three-day workshop. Photo provided

A participant learns about “process painting” during a previous three-day workshop. Photo provided

Splashing the fairgrounds with color

Process painting workshop will teach the power of a paintbrush

Imagine picking up a paintbrush and not worrying about the end result. When the act of creating is more important than the outcome, that’s “process painting” in a nutshell – and it’s coming to the fairgrounds in Langley this month.

In an all-immersive weekend on Oct. 11-13, facilitators Annie Rousseau and Seattlite Lydia Marshall will be leading “The Painting Experience” workshop for anyone in South Whidbey who wants to experience the “exhilaration of creating without the pressure to perform, produce or succeed.”

But there’s a lot more to it than splashing around some paint. For many, the process-painting workshop becomes a tool for unlocking new ways of thinking, and it’s embraced by everyone from educators and counselors to activists and meditators. The workshop can even qualify as continuing education units for registered nurses, marriage and family therapists, licensed educational psychologists and more.

Annie Rousseau stresses that no prior art training is required and that everyone is welcome to join the workshop, even those who say “I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” Some participants are longtime artists, but many have never before wielded a paintbrush.

“The truth is, we are all creative, and we create all the time,” said Rousseau. “Given an environment that is completely non-judgmental, where there is no comparison, no critique, no analysis, we invite you to begin with a beginner’s mind, finding your own creative voice and, in the process, discovering much about what has kept you feeling you were not creative.”

With terms like “embracing your own path” and “unleashing your inner wildness,” the process can seem intangible or intimidating to those who have yet to experience it. But the goals and results of The Painting Experience, according to those who facilitate and participate, are felt in more practical ways.

Many report developing abilities such as: self-expression without the need to perform; personal power that grows from being present in the moment; listening to intuition instead of planning and controlling; and accepting imperfections that lead to breakthroughs. Ultimately, personal circumstances are seen as potentials rather than problems.

That’s an awful lot of awareness for a three-day workshop. But former participants in the Puget Sound area, including those on Whidbey who’ve taken the workshop in prior years, encourage people to just bring their willingness to explore. Seattle psychotherapist and coach Jenna Rizzo describes Rousseau as open, accepting, real and fun.

“The nature of her workshop is very fluid in terms of being with people exactly where they are,” Rizzo said. “You don’t have to be an expert painter to get a lot out of the work she is offering.”

  • How to join in the artistic fun: Anyone who’s game can register online at www.processarts.com or call 415-488-6880. The tuition includes all materials for the threeday weekend at Whidbey Island Fairgrounds in Langley on Oct. 11-13.

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