Orly and I are friends who both live in Salem and share a love of old books. What started as an idea last fall, blossomed into something beautiful: a collaborative workshop with Orly and myself. We met to dream about what we would offer, to come up with a title, and to figure out how we would present the class.
Once our ideas began to take shape, we had several photos taken of us together, named our workshop MIXT: Collage on Old Book Boards, and decided that we would each teach two days in our four-day class. The class took place last week and was held in NE Portland at the gorgeous former studio of Flora Bowley. (An added benefit was that Orly and I got to stay at the studio, which has been made into an AirBnB – the commute to and from class was divine.)
Orly taught the first two days, and I taught the second two days. It was a whirlwind of tearing books apart, doing creative drawing exercises, playing with transfers, making our own painted collage papers, and creating the biggest mess we could. No words needed; the photos tell the story.
The workshop was a lovely success. The weather was perfect, and we were able to eat outside on the lovely grounds of the studio and take walks in the morning and evening. Everyone created a series of beautiful collages, incorporating the varied methods and ideas that both of us taught. There was laughter, silence, tears, the sound of paper being ripped, and the sound of a squeaky brayer. Orly and I deepened our friendship as we shared this time and experience together.
It felt good to be back teaching at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. Last year my workshop was cancelled due to the pandemic and I hadn’t signed up to teach this year because of the uncertainty with Covid. As cases began falling earlier this summer, Sitka’s Program Manager, Tamara, reached out to see if I would be interested in teaching a workshop in September. I jumped at the opportunity. As the workshop date approached, I watched as Covid cases once again surged. I was a little nervous about teaching, but Sitka had worked hard to provide a safe place with lots of protocols already in place. A couple weeks before my workshop, I asked Sitka to cap the class at eight students, to ensure that there would be plenty of space between tables in the studio.
I could write about the week of art-making, the learning, the techniques, the epiphanies, the experimentation, the fearlessness, the laughter, the great energy, the hard work . . . . but instead I’m going to do a photo essay, which I think captures the essence of preparation and our week together.
I’m teaching in September! After a hiatus last year due to the you-know-what, and then the uncertainty of this year, I figured I wouldn’t return to teaching until 2022. Then I was contacted by Sitka Center for Art and Ecology to see if I would be available to teach a class September 6-9, 2021. With some minor calendar tweaking, I said yes.
My class, Colorful and Dynamic Abstracted Landscapes, is four days of working in oil and cold wax, in the beautiful Boyden Studio at Sitka, located in the forest at Cascade Head on the Oregon coast.
Here’s the description of the class:
Oil and cold wax is a versatile medium that creates rich luminosity and interesting surfaces. Applied with putty and palette knives, it feels like painting with whipped butter. Using our surroundings at Sitka as a jumping off point for playful abstraction, we will pump up the color and make bold, startling marks to create surprise and inspire awe. We will experiment with laying down swaths of paint, building texture, and scraping away. We will work intuitively and energetically on multiple pieces, exploring texture, color, layers, composition, and design. My goal is for you to return home with several completed pieces, several beginnings, and a refreshed and renewed enthusiasm.
Registration is now open for this four-day workshop, September 6-9. Here is link to the registration page. (Limited to 12 students; vaccines required.)
Just for fun, here are photos from previous years.
At the end of October, I had the pleasure to take a five-day workshop with William Park, a Portland artist. For five days we had morning demos, then the luxury of painting the rest of the day.
In the afternoon Bill would share artists he loves and we would have chats about the love of painting and the challenge of keeping fear out of our process and paintings.
On the first morning, we did a nice warm up exercise of making marks and adding paint. Simple, yet profound in the ability to jump start our week.
The demos Bill did were primarily in acrylics, but I had brought my oil paints and a gallon of cold wax; there were eleven of us in class and a couple other people were painting in oils, so it was a mixed bag and we were encouraged to explore and do whatever we wanted.
Bill made the rounds throughout the day, spending time with each artist for as long as they needed. Here he is with my friend Katy, who also took the class.
For the first couple of days, I just laid down paint in order to get some early bright layers to respond to in later days. No fear, just the joy of painting and playing with color.
I’m not sure I finished anything, but I made progress and came away with some wonderful early layers.
And besides Katy being in the class, my good friend Stephanie was also there, so as you can imagine, we had a great five days together.