I had the privilege of teaching two classes at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. The first, June 30-July 3, was in the smaller of the two studios at Sitka, Smith, and with ten students, it was the perfect space.
Because I was teaching two classes and they were back-to-back (I had the 4th of July off between the two classes), I got to stay at Morley House, which was a first for me. I loved this space!
Now to the good stuff. The class. I could babble on about it, but instead I’m going to share photos – a fraction of the photos I took, but it gives a good look into our four days of art making. The group was talented, energetic, spirited, and hard workers — and they wanted to know if they could sign up for my 2023 class on the final day!
If you’ve ever been interested in working in oil and cold wax, I have a great opportunity to immerse yourself for four consecutive days of art making in a beautiful new space. I will be teaching my Abstracted Play class at the Salem Art Association’s newly revamped and remodeled Art Annex on October 6-9, from 9:30-4:30. There will be plenty of time to dive in, learn new techniques, experiment, be inspired, inspire each other, work hard, and, of course, play. But first, this is the bright, airy, new space, located in the heart of Bush Park, where we will be meeting. And my class is the very first to be offered!
This class is for everyone. If you have previously worked with oil and cold wax, this class will help take you to the next level, but it also works well for beginners with no experience at all. Oil paint mixed with cold wax is a versatile medium that creates rich luminosity and interesting surfaces. We’ll experiment with laying down paint, adding texture, scraping paint away, and then doing it all over again. And maybe yet again.
During the four days, we will work on multiple pieces, working intuitively and abstractly, exploring texture, layers, composition, design elements, and use of color through oil paint and pigment sticks. We will explore making marks using graphite pencils, twigs and awls, solvents to remove paint and leave marks, and oil pigment sticks. We will be working on wood substrates as well as Arches oil paper.
Oil paint mixed with cold wax allows the layers to dry quickly (and without much odor), and clean up is done with mineral or baby oil, so our use of solvents is very limited (or even unnecessary).
The cost for the four full days of class is $350 with a $20 supply fee. I provide some materials and share all of my paints and pigment sticks. To register, just go to the Salem Art Association website using this link.
The paint was flying last week when I hosted a three day oil and cold wax workshop called Abstracted Play. The class was held in the classroom at The Art Studios at Mission Mill, so I kept the number of students to five to maximize space. But we had a kitchen, an espresso machine, lots of snacks, and a lovely art lounge to hang out in, so we made do.
The class consisted of demos, work time, one-on-one assistance, more demos, feedback and support. Photos tell the story better than anything I could say.
The artists created some lovely work during the three days. Here is a sampling.
Such a fun, hard-working group of women. They assured me they cycled all the way from number 1 to finally landing at number 6. Whew, but it was touch and go for a while.
I’m just home from teaching a three-day workshop in Portland at Stacey Mattraw’s imaginative, magical studio, Arcangelo Productions, in North Portland.
Our three-day workshop actually started on Thursday evening when Stacey hosted a get together so everyone could meet and get their painting supplies set up.
Friday morning, we began our three-day marathon. We spent most of Friday preparing our boards, adding paint, plaster, and more paint, so that when we started to layer oil and cold wax, we would already have a nice layer of texture to respond to.
By the end of the first day we were already applying layers of oil and cold wax.
On Day Two it was oil and cold wax ALL DAY LONG.
Of course, breaks were taken.
On Day Three we gave each other feedback on some of the art in progress, painted, then ended the day with a walkabout.
And then we collapsed!
It was a great group of artists, so full of enthusiasm, energy, and talent — and they all worked so hard. Most of the ladies had traveled quite a distance to attend: Bellingham, the San Juan Islands, Alaska, California, as well as Portland and Silverton.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching my Plaster, Oil, and Cold Wax: Abstracted Play class in August. It will be held at the wonderful studio of Stacey Mattraw, Arcangelo Productions, located in a hip, diverse, funky area of North Portland.
The class will be held Friday-Sunday, August 14-16, 10 am-5 pm every day.
The first day we’ll be painting our boards and applying plaster and by Friday afternoon we’ll be learning oil and cold wax techniques (I provide you with a pre plastered board so we don’t waste a minute of our precious time.)
On Saturday morning, we’ll sand our plastered boards.
And quickly seal them with acrylic paint.
By Saturday afternoon, we’ll be applying layers and layers of luminous, buttery, oil and cold wax.
I’ll be sharing lots of techniques throughout the weekend on how to add interesting texture, add text, scrape back, and so much more.
As an added special bonus, on Thursday evening, 5-6:30 pm, we’ll meet at Arcangelo Productions for a pre-workshop gathering hosted by Stacey. We’ll have snacks and drinks and get to know each other in advance of the class beginning on Friday morning. We have also scheduled a field trip to Collage, a delightful, and full-to-the-brim art supply store on NE Alberta, where Maria is offering a 10% discount on all purchases.
The cost of the three-day class (with some supplies included) is $375. A $100 deposit holds your space, with the balance due on July 14, 2015. If you are interested, please contact me: email@example.com and I’ll e-mail detailed information about what supplies are included, what you need to bring, and my refund policy. Also, if you’re coming from out of town, I can send you information on places to stay in the surrounding area.
The maximum number of students will be 12 and five spaces are available as of this posting.
I’ve just spent the past three days guiding six beautiful women through the process of using plaster, oil, and cold wax. This was the first workshop held at The Art Studios at Mission Mill and it was a huge success. We went from this:
The women bonded instantly on Friday and by the end of Sunday, my sides were sore from laughing so much.
Friday afternoon we painted our boards and applied plaster.
Then on Saturday morning the ladies sanded and stained.
Before lunch on Saturday, I had the women applying initial layers of oil and cold wax.
And by the end of Saturday, the hall was filled with drying art.
Sunday morning, we were back at it.
We had snacks available all the time . . . .
. . . and on Sunday, Howard delivered a salad bar lunch to us.
Before we knew it, it was time to clean up and prepare for show and tell.
Here is a sampling of the incredible work the women created. A sampling, I tell you!
It was an energizing, exciting, creative three days.
I was asked by the Salem Art Association if I would like to participate in their high school mentorship program. It took me all of seven seconds to respond with a big fat YES. It is a rigorous program for the students who apply. They first have to complete an application, responding to a series of questions, provide two letters of recommendation from their art teachers or principal, then they go through interviews; there are only 15 available spots. Once they are accepted into the program, they attend two events per month during the school year. As part of the program, artists are invited to mentor students based upon what the student has indicated as art goals. I was invited to mentor three students: Olivia, Madeline, and Simon.
I met with each of the students for an initial consultation so I could get to know each of them and find out their art goals and how I could help them be accomplished. All three students were interested in mixed media, plaster, oil and cold wax, and experimenting. After meeting with all three students, I was excited as they were.
Since all three were interested in some of the same types of experimentation and exploration, I scheduled a couple of mini workshops during their holiday break. For the first workshop, we prepped boards with a variety of materials: gesso (white and colored), plaster, and venetian plaster. They all jumped right in.
On Friday, we’re getting together again to make decisions about the next step for the boards. Acrylic? Oil and cold wax? Paper? Pencil? So many choices.
I was invited by Kristina Trudell, a Washington artist I had met in a previous workshop, if I would be willing to teach my plaster/oil/cold wax class, Abstracted Play, either in Salem, Portland, or Washington. Since I have a daughter in Tacoma, I decided to make it a road trip. Of course, if I’m on an art road trip, it usually involves Tory Brokenshire. I invited Tory to join me, and she did the driving; we picked up two artists along the way and made the trip north last Friday afternoon.
The class was held at the home of Kathie Vezzani, who lives in Gig Harbor. Oh my. She prepared a wonderful space for the workshop and provided several gourmet meals. (Side note: Kathie arranges art trips around the world, so check out her blog and get on her mailing list for information on her upcoming trips.)
Friday night we prepared our boards with paint and plaster.
By morning, the plaster was dry and ready for sanding and more paint.
Before noon on Saturday, we were laying down layers of oil and cold wax.
The food Kathie prepared was delicious, and the weather was perfect.
Then back to it.
Saturday night we took a little road trip to the Key Peninsula for dinner at Leslie’s house. It was a magical and dream-like evening.
Sunday was our final day. A time to work on our pieces, resolve problems, start over, scrape back, scritch, scratch, and finally, lay out our pieces for show and tell.
What a great weekend. And this was our view on the drive home Sunday evening.
To teach or not to teach. I used to teach quite a bit, then I took a year and half hiatus to focus on my art. The time away from teaching allowed me to dedicate more time to creating my own style of painting, and I’m glad I temporarily stepped away from teaching. But I’ve been feeling the urge to teach again. I’ll be teaching a plaster, oil and cold wax class later this month in Gig Harbor to a closed, private, group of artists. I’ll also be teaching my Layers of Memory plaster class next May in southern California (details on that will be shared later). And I’m ready to begin teaching regularly in Salem.
My good art friend Tory and I recently leased studio space with a group of artists at Mission Mill (Willamette Heritage Center) and there are two common areas that will be available for offering classes. I’m in. But what to teach? That’s where I’m seeking input. For those who know me or have taken classes from me in the past, what would you like to see offered? If you don’t know me and have never had a class from me, what would interest you? Here are some ideas that I’ve been thinking about.
Layers of Memory
Working with plaster to create texture and interest.
Oil and Cold Wax: Abstracted Play
Creating abstract pieces using oil and cold wax.
Oil and Cold Wax with a Punch of Plaster
A combination of both the plaster workshop and then the addition of oil and cold wax workshop (this is how most of my pieces of are created).
Building a journal from scratch, then incorporating visual journal techniques on the pages.
Visual Journal in a Deck
A couple years ago I created a visual journal using oversized flash cards. This class would go from prep to art on the gessoed cards, incorporating a variety of techniques and prompts.
I’ve just finished a summer of creating and overseeing the creation of prayer flags through my Scattered By the Wind Prayer Flag Project. This class would be basically a time to create a personal strand of prayer flags.
Why not be a kid again. Paint and embellish a tall, skinny muslin Bendi doll.
Please let me know what class or classes you would be interested in and I’ll put together a schedule of classes. Contact me with your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org/curele.
Is there something else you would like to see me teach? Let me know that, too.
I recently returned from a ten-day road trip with my friend Tory Brokenshire. On the first leg of our trip, we were in Cleveland where Tory was teaching three classes at Small Studio. The classes were all found object assemblage classes with a big dose of sculpture. I’m good with the found object part, not so much with the sculpture, but I gave it my best effort.
From a pile of junk and a flurry of arms and legs, I created Mr. Songbird.
Day two was titled Sail Away and involved sculpting an entire body AND making a little wire boat. Tory was a great and patient teacher and I managed to create a companion for Mr. Songbird, but her boat, well, it sunk.
Please meet Miss Pennington.
The good news is that Mr. Songbird and Miss Pennington hooked up at the end of the second day, although Mr. Songbird’s nose put out Miss Pennington’s right eye.
On our final day, we created a Santos. Fortunately, we only had to sculpt the head!
Then we got to dress our Santos, which was great fun.
The finished crew of Santos (mine is on the far right).
Post Script: After three days of classes, we spent a couple of days in Cleveland sightseeing, then we rented a car and drove to Chicago, where we spent a few more days.
During the ten days I was away, I spent an entire 30 minutes in my travel journal. A whole 30 minutes!