art classes that are expanding my “voice”

For my first 20+ years as an artist, I created collages using magazine and book pieces, which eventually evolved into creating 3D collage. Every one of these collages was a labor of love, a self-portrait of where I was at the time, it took about a year to create, and I worked on 10 at a time.

One of my all time faves, “Something incredible is about to happen“, is below.

Then about two years ago, I had an unexplained hankering to add paint to my collages, but I had never painted a thing in my life, other than a bedroom wall.

The fact that I’d never painted didn’t deter me – it was just another fun skill to learn. So I started researching on-line art classes, which seemed the perfect way to learn considering I was often on the road for my traveling day gig.

The first course I took was with Kelly Rae Robert’s where I learned how to create mixed media collage backgrounds, and then paint an angel with a spiritual message on top of it. I had a blast creating three angel paintings copying Kelly’s style (one shown below).

Then rather than complete her workshop by painting the remaining three angels in the videos, I took what I learned from Kelly and created several painted collages inspired by her work, and the “Take Flight” collection was born (my favorite shown below).

This collection was primarily created in hotel rooms, after work at night, as I traveled for my day gig. Hence why I changed my Instagram name to @theHotelArtist!

The process of learning how to add paint to my collages was so joy-filled that I wondered what else I could create with paint.

So I continued taking more on-line classes, including Flora Bowley‘s wonderful mixed media abstract workshop, and most recently an abstract workshop with Ivy Newport (work-in-progress below).

Once I quit my day job in January 2018, I finally had the time to take workshops live, rather than just on-line. The first one I took was with the fabulous Carrie Schmitt, where I learned to paint abstract flowers and had an absolute blast doing it. Below is my fave that I created during her 3-day workshop.

Learning from Carrie inspired me to expand my flower painting skills even further, so I signed up for Donna Downey‘s on-line workshop, and created several more flower pieces, including the one below.

Then a couple months ago, I took a 5-day workshop with Bob Burridge, an amazing mixed media collage and abstract painter.  From Bob I learned a ton of new abstract techniques, including how to paint a pear (below).  If you want to learn how to create this yourself, check out this artist’s “Bob blasts” – weekly video tutorials where Bob shares how to paint abstract pears, wine bottles, abstract landscapes, and so much more.

As I write this today, I am in the middle of taking an amazing on-line class with Devon Walz where I’m going through a unique process to expand my “voice” as an artist.  I absolutely LOVE this class, even though I am only a quarter through the inspiring material.  Below is a detail of what I’ve created so far  – MUCH more to come!

Each of these wonderful classes have added a new dimension to what I know how to create as an artist, and is fulfilling my 2018 intention to give myself time to experiment and play.

After so many years creating one type of collage, it feels like the flood gates have opened on my creativity as I learn new skills, adding them like a puzzle to my evolving artistic voice.

I have no idea where all of this new learning will ultimately take me, and luckily, I don’t need to know.

I’m simply trusting that I’ll land in the artistic place where I’m destined to be, where I’ll be filled with joy and connection as I create, and be able to make the world a better place with the art and inspiration I add to it.

I would love to know what art workshops have inspired YOUR artistic journey.

Please share in the comments below so that we all find new teachers from which to expand our artistic horizons!






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8 thoughts on “art classes that are expanding my “voice””

  1. I loved reading about your journey. It’s inspiring 🙂 I decided at the beginning of 2017 that my youngest child, at age 10, was old enough that I had enough spare time to really focus on myself as an artist. I started art school 30 years ago, but quit after a little more than halfway through due to a depression that I didn’t realize was depression. I got a boring office job, met my husband and had 4 beautiful kids, and I tinkered and dabbled in art and crafts in between all the busyness of life. So now that I have time to nurture and grow as an artist I am energized and having so much fun. I decided that I would spend the next few years as a “student” learning all I can, practicing as much as I can, and developing my voice and style. So far I have taken online classes from Donna Downey, Mindy Lacefield, Juliette Crane, and recently signed up for 2 classes from Alisa Burke. I live near a tiny town where they have started once a month art or craft workshops, so I do that as well. I am not in a financial or freedom position to take live classes yet, but someday 🙂 Thanks for this great post 🙂

    • Cyndy,
      Thanks so very much for sharing your artistic journey with me as well. So LOVE to hear that you are going back to what you love doing so much. This sounds like your time to find your unique voice as an artist. I think on-line classes are amazing, and affordable. I actually prefer them to live classes, although I’ve done both. Something about doing art in the privacy of my home makes it so safe to try to new things.

      I am truly honored that you are sharing my artistic awakening as you take the next steps toward your own.

      Many blessings to you,

  2. I have learned a great deal from teachers and fellow members at Get Messy Art Journal, an on-line community of artists who paint, collage, make mono prints and play in their art journals.

    In addition to classes, there are several “seasons” each year which are free and offer many interesting tutorials. And there are wonderful tutorials throughout the year.

    • Maura,

      Thanks so very much for sharing your resources with all of us. I never heard of the Get Messy Art Journal group. I need to check this out.

      Hugs, Cat

    • Sue,
      You are such a sweetheart. I’m equally honored to be able to share in your evolving artistic journey as well.
      Love you my friend,

  3. So jealous! I need to take more online art classes. Thanks for sharing the resources and it’s such an inspiration to see what you’re working on and making!

    • Melissa,
      Thanks for reading and being interested in what I’m up to. Hope that you sign up for an on-line class soon – best solution for busy schedules, at least it was for me.

      Hugs, Cat


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All artwork is the sole property of Catherine Rains and is held under copyright, even after purchase.The images, artwork, and contents of this website may not be copied, collected, or used for personal or professional gain without the written permission from Catherine Rains. Images on this website taken by Laura Thompkins or Catherine Rains.