Landscapes in Oil with John MacDonald

We just finished a wonderful week with John MacDonald and all of his students. This was John’s first time teaching for us, but it certainly won’t be his last. He came highly recommended and we now know why. All of the student feedback was extremely positive!

John had expected to have to spend quite a bit of the workshop time painting in the studio, given the typical nature of the weather in May here in upstate NY. However, the weather has been anything but typical! It was beautiful all week long, so the class went outdoors to paint every day and loved it.

Mostly they kept local — within 10 to 15 minutes of the inn, but on Wednesday they all decided to go out to Olana, the historic home of Frederick Church. Olana is located in Hudson, which is about 30 minutes from the inn.


It was a trifle windy when they first arrived at Olana, so most people choose to set up their easels at a lower point of the hill, but there were still a couple of intrepid painters who wanted the full vista effect at the top of the hill next to the house.


This is Linda, who choose to paint the vista that includes the Rip Van Winkle bridge across the Hudson River.


Every time I go up to Olana, I always have to check out their marvelous perennial garden that is just below the main house. With the early Spring we’ve been having, you can see that everything is well on the way.


The gardening staff was in the process of spreading a layer of mulch around the flower beds, which reminds me that I have to order a big load for the gardens at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn!

John MacDonald is schedule to return to teach for us in 2014 during September. You’ll want to sign up early for this class because I’m sure the word will spread from this year’s happy students and it will fill up quickly!

Working with Sheers with Esterita Austin

Teri Austin was back again teaching a workshop for us with her usual enthusiasm! This time the students were exploring/playing with all the fun things you can do with sheer fabrics, whether you are creating something abstract, a still life, a landscape, or a portrait.

Teri brought some fabulous hand-dyed fabrics for sale, as well as paints, brushes, markers, Misty Fuse and more fun stuff.


The first day was spent just experimenting. Teri had a suitcase of tulle that looks like is exploded when she opened it!


The second and third day the students got down to incorporating what they learned about using sheers into their own projects.


It is interesting to see how the advent of iPads and laptops have change the way the students bring their reference material. Now is it all visible and searchable on the digital device, instead of bringing a folder full of printed photos. Their whole photo library could be on their iPad!

Also, now that wi-fi is available allover our property, if a student wanted to search for a detail look at, say how an eye looks close up, they can easily do a Google search.

Sue Andrews decided to a portrait of her dog. Here is it in process . . .


and here it is done (just needs to be put on a background, which she did do before the class was finished).


Great use of those hand-dyed fabrics!

Here is another student started portrait that makes use of sheers for shading.


Alison Chandler brought in a piece (the one on the right) that she started in a Jane Sassaman workshop at HRVAW (Hudson River Valley Art Workshops) a couple of years ago. While playing with creating texture with sheers and Misty Fuse, it suddenly occurred to her that the texture would be great for creating a new piece similar to her other palm tree quilt.


Here is the palm tree a little further on in the development. I can’t wait to see it when it is done.


Alison also brought in her award-winning quilt portrait of her husband on his Harley. She started this piece in one of Teri’s portrait workshops with us a number of years back. She is justifiably proud of this piece. It is even more amazing in person.


Teri Austin will be teaching her 5-day portrait workshop for us again in 2014. Put it on your to do list now!

There were another colorful sights around the inn during this workshop . . .

The forsythia is an amazing yellow at the moment.


And the vegetarian meal choice of Ratatouille was as delicious as it was colorful!


The next fiber art workshop on our schedule is Dye Painting with Hollis Chatelain: April 29 – May 5, 2012. There are still a couple spots in this workshop! Don’t miss your chance.

Chicago School of Fusing – New York Branch

We were finally able to get Laura Wasilowski, of and Chicago School of Fusing fame, to come to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops to teach a workshop.


She came to teach her 3-day workshop, Couching Thread, Hidden Needle! She was spreading the joy of taking your fused quilts from flat to fabulous with hand embroidery. is Laura’s hand-dyed fabrics and threads company and she brought a tempting array for the students to purchase.


The first day of the class was spend on Fusing Basics and creating fabulous fun fused floral fancies for later embellishing with stitching. Here are several examples.


The second day the embroidery threads came out and Laura showed how to use various stitch patterns to embellish and enhance the fused quilts design. She also demonstrated other useful ways to use the colorful threads!


Here are some shots of the student’s work with some very creative use of hand stitching.


The next workshop coming up is with Esterita Austin on April 12 – 15. A 3-day workshop on working with sheer fabrics and mono printing for still life or portraits. Always a wonderful workshop!