Workshops & Events


My philosophy….

Painting Demonstrations & Workshops:

I enjoy giving painting workshops and demonstrations to varied groups. I believe there is a creative spirit within each of us and through sharing and exploring the tools, techniques and principles of art this creativity can be expressed in ways towards which we are individually inclined.  

photo of painting demonstration given by Mary Jane Volkmann

So many times I have heard people say, “I wish I could paint!” or “Do you think I can paint?”.   Sometimes I think the only thing standing in our way of doing things is fear of failure.  I have seen over and over again the joy which comes to those who give themselves permission to try! 

Some years ago, I was asked by the National Art Gallery of Namibia to travel to a remote region in the north of the country to train school teachers so they could help their students submit paintings for a national competition. When I arrived and met the teachers (who had traveled from far away to attend the workshop) I found that other than paper and glue they had no materials in their classrooms with which to paint and draw and no budget to purchase any. We grabbed some cardboard boxes from a local shop and went on an exploratory walk through the bush, collecting anything and everything we could find that could make a mark, a color, or be used in a collage painting. With these materials we explored the making and teaching of art with whatever is on hand.

The teachers, although at first very shy about trying to create art themselves, tried their hands at creating collage paintings with what they had gathered from the field and tested. They were delighted to see what they could actually do! After discussing imaginative means of helping their students create art in the absence of classroom materials, they left the workshop excited with possibilities.

pictures of paintings the Namibian teachers created during a workshop taught by Mary Jane Volkmann
paintings created by school teachers from materials they found in the bush


I am often asked to give presentations about my experiences in Africa where I lived and worked for 28 years, and where I met my husband and our two children were born. I have been the “Storyteller’s Voice” for Black History month in the Alachua County Library District and have given presentations to students, professors, professional organizations and other special interest associations.   These presentations cover a variety of topics and in addition to stories may include samples of my African and other paintings, slides, native artifacts, and recordings of traditional African music.  


“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
— Edgar Degas

Scroll Up