Through an unassuming wooden door, along a corridor and out into the courtyard. Kreativ Atelier is not a place you’ll stumble across accidentally. There isn’t even a sign on the door. But once you’ve found this hidden studio, you won’t forget it easily. Run by Caroline Groß, it’s a haven of creativity, open to everyone.
I took part in a workshop on painting by intuition – it was fun, creative and (maybe most important of all) totally relaxed. We started off with a creativity exercise, searching for shapes in photographs of pavements. I found a bear, a bat, two angels – everyone discovered something different. And every answer was interesting and valid – there was no wrong or right. It was a great way to get the participants into a creative mood and to encourage them to trust their instincts.
We then all chose an easel, were given a wide brush and told to pick a colour and paint until we felt we were finished. We then did the same with a second colour. Some pieces of paper were completely covered with paint, with others the paper was peeking through. One was still half naked. We all stood back and looked at our work – and at what the other participants had created. It was then time to do something I’d never done before – work on someone else’s painting. My immediate reaction was that of reluctance – was I going to ruin it? What if the person didn’t like what I’d done? But as soon as I’d chosen an easel and got started that feeling melted away and I concentrated on immersing myself in the painting. Caroline encouraged us to see our additions as gifts to the original painter, contributions that didn’t overwhelm or cancel out the other’s work, but rather complimented it. Over the next hour and a half, we swapped paintings three more times, until I felt more connected to the painting I was currently working on than to my own. Each time we swapped, we were given new tools to work with – thinner brushes, sponges, wax crayons. It wasn’t about creating the perfect picture, it was about letting the painting tell you what to do next, about immersing yourself in each in turn. Then it was time to return to the painting we’d started with – and to complete it. I added more of the two colours I’d used at the beginning, emphasising the original concept, but still keeping the aspects added by other participants, leaving some sections in their entirety, but making others subtler.
We then sat down on multi-coloured stools to look at the paintings and see what the original painters had made out of the artistic contributions. Some had kept much of what had been added, whereas others had almost created an entirely new painting.
This is a workshop that is perfect for anyone interested in exploring their creativity, whether you are an experienced painter, or are picking up a brush for the first time. And if you’ve caught the painting bug, but struggle to find the space or time for it, the Kreativ Atelier also provides a once-monthly artistic home for you to come to. You simply have to send Caroline an email and, as long as enough people register, there will be an open studio for you to come to. This place isn’t about perfection. It is there for anyone interested in art, who wants to learn more and improve their skills – whatever level you are at.