Jane Sassaman’s Abstracting From Nature

You can’t beat the fun of a workshop, Abstracting from Nature, with Jane Sassaman in December! It was our last workshop for 2014 and it was such a great group.

“I didn’t know how great this facility is – very conducive to creativity and comfort! The meals were excellent, outstanding, delicious, healthy! Thanks for the wonderful week” – Stella Lang.

The students got off to a good start, by Wednesday they were already well on their way to creating some very imaginative and original abstractions from nature.

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This is a close up of one of Jane’s pieces.

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So ends the 2014 workshops season! It was fun and we are so grateful and pleased that we got to meet lots of old and new friends. The 2015 workshop season start in March, but in the meantime we’ll be planning and preparing for the fun and surprises of the new year. The full color brochure for the 2015 classes will be going out in the mail in a few days, but all of the new class information is already on our website and classes are filling fast.

Have a Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Holographic Mixed Media Collage with Wen Redmond

What a fun workshop with Wen Redmond! Wen just taught a 3 day workshop for Hudson River Valley Art Workshops on her mixed media holographic image process.

The first part of the process was doing some screen printing, stamping, another other techniques of surface design to create the “frame” for the holographic image.

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Here is a sampling of the finished pieces created by the students. They are fabulous!

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Manon and Gerri taking a coffee break during the afternoon cookie time. Fresh baked cookies are set out in the inn dining rooms, but generally the groups tend to grab the tray and take it back to the studio. They love the cookies but don’t want to stop creating!

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Impressionistic Fabric Art with Lenore Crawford

An excellent teacher – a great adaptable technique, very clearly explained. The set up was great – loved so many electrical plugs and good chairs!” – Juliet Nowlan

We had a wonderful week with Lenore Crawford. Lenore was here teaching her 5-day class “Impressionistic Fabric Art.” Everyone had some great starts to the pieces with a wide range of subject matter.

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Curves, Dimension, and Color with Vikki Pignatelli

Exceeded expectations! Learned so many techniques and got to use them in our own creations. Great teacher! Also, thank you for accommodating my dietary needs. The dinning room service was excellent.” – April Modlinger

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Every day of Vikki Pignatelli’s workshop, she brought out more of her stunning quilt to display in the studio and to illustrate the techniques she taught.

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Vikki’s husband, Dennis, came along as Vikki’s assistant and helped out where ever he was needed.

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Below are some examples of student work on the final day of the class. Still works in progress but well on their way to being wonderful finished pieces.

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Driven to Abstraction with Sue Benner

The always fun and inspiring Sue Benner was here last week teaching her “Driven to Abstraction” workshop. This was a very productive class that really threw themselves into all the daily design exercises presented by Sue.

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Here is the entire happy crew!

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The last night of the workshop was Halloween, so we invited the class to join in with costumes and a number of them really had some great looks, especially JoLee Tarbell. Don’t you just love that 10′ feather boa and striped stockings!

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The group gathered in the front parlor before dinner, snapping photos of everyone who appeared in costume.

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Even Chef Mark and Kadi, one of our servers, joined in the fun. How often do you get to say your dinner was made by a wizard and served by Pippi Longstocking?!

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The cut-leave maple in back of the Main Inn was in full glowing Fall color during the class.

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If you missed this class, Sue Benner will be back again in 2015 teaching “Construction / Abstraction.”

Abstract Art Quilts with Liz Berg

Our Fall fiber art workshop series got off to a great start with Liz Berg teaching a 5-day workshop: Creating Original Art Quilts. It was a small but eager group and they wasted no time getting into the meat of the topic.

The first two days were spent with design and composition exercises. Then on Wednesday everyone was cut loose to start creating! Some fabulous pieces emerged over the final three days of the class. These photos were just after the first day of creating!

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This week is a full class with Sue Benner, but there is still space in the other Fall workshops:

Musing about the Artist Retreat

Another fun and productive artist retreat week came to a close last Saturday. We enjoyed seeing the “regulars” as well as meeting several new artists. Some folks came for the full 6 nights and some for 3 nights.

John Skrabalak is one of our regulars and calls the retreat his muse. He completed at least 10 canvases this week! Last year his retreat paintings all went to a one-man show in which several of the pieces sold.

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As is was a smallish group this year, everyone was able to take full advantage of the space in the studio to spread out around multiple tables.

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Colleen was amazingly productive, too, even though she was here for only three days. She worked on multiple pieces at the same time. Colleen originally discover us when her medium was fiber/fabric, but then she discovered a collage technique that allowed her to still work with the layering of color but at a much faster pace!

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Colleen’s friend Dawn also painted some fabulous abstract collages in grays. I loved these!

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Meanwhile, outside we had unusually warm weather and bright sunny skies, perfect for walks around the “back forty” to work off the chocolate chip and snicker doodle cookies enjoyed during cookie break time!

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An Interview with Mel Stabin – Watercolor Artist

Stabin mel lg2014Mel Stabin has been teaching watercolor workshops at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops for decades. If you’ve ever taken a workshop with Mel, you understand why he is such a popular teacher.

Mel taught here this past summer and, of course, is already scheduled for a return engagement in 2016.

We interviewed Mel prior to his workshop and these are his responses to our questions.

How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I have been conducting watercolor painting workshops throughout the US and abroad for over 25 years. My teacher and mentor, Ed Whitney, who I studied with at Pratt Institute, was renowned as one of the great teachers of his time. His love of teaching and his love of the medium of watercolor had a profound influence in both my advertising career and subsequent career as a watercolor teacher.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

Relating to students by helping them discover the joy of watercolor and its magical and transparent qualities.

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

To gain more confidence as an artist by learning the many aspects of painting, to be in the company of fellow artists, and to have fun.

What are you currently working on in your own art?

Painting nature’s varied moments.

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

The North East Watercolor Society.
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Do you sell your work in any online gallery?

The New American Gallery at www.newamgallery.com

What is your favorite art quote?

My favorite art quote is by the American artist and teacher Robert Henri… “There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.”

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Describe your studio.

My art studio occupies an entire floor. It is a large room with many windows and a skylight, which provide abundant natural light. I have a drafting table to paint on and a floor to ceiling wall of shelves which hold all of my art books and art supplies. I also have a wooden cabinet with ten drawers large enough to store my watercolor paintings of all sizes as well as extra watercolor paper.

Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products.

  • Hake paintbrush made with goat hair by Holbein.
  • Backpack that holds all of my equipment including my easel, paper, paints, brushes, etc. When traveling, it conveniently can be stored in the overhead compartment of airplanes.
  • Mat cutter… I cut all of my own bevelled edge mats.
  • Sketch pad so I can use some of my sketches that I’ve done during my travels as reference for future paintings.
  • Camera to take pictures of people and places for my photo albums of my travels and, as with sketches, to use as reference for future paintings.

More Recent Instructor Interviews:

Oil Painting Landscapes with John MacDonald

John was incredible! Energetic and caring that we become better artists. I attended an art academy for 4 years and John’s the best teacher I’ve ever had.” Melanie Stackhouse

John MacDonald recently taught a 5-day painting workshop. This full class enjoyed painting outside just about every day. They were also the first class of the season to paint at the newly opened Long View Park in New Baltimore. The park had lovely views of rolling fields surrounded by forest that was just starting to change to Autumn colors.

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On the one day that rain threatened, the group painted around the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, home of the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, just in case they needed to sprint back inside if rain actually started falling. Luckily, it stayed beautiful all day.

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Some people choose to work inside for part of the day to focus on completing paintings that they started on previous days.

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John was always available for some one-on-one instruction and must have logged several miles just at the inn with the group spread out all over the 6 acres!

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If you didn’t make it into this class, John MacDonald will be back in 2016 with another workshop!

Pastel Landscapes with Richard McKinley

Richard McKinley and all of his students enjoyed a lovely, fun, and productive time with us last week. The weather was beautiful and there were just starting to be hints of Fall color in the trees.

Two of the days were spent at Olana because there is just so many inspiring views.

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Richard will be returning to teach for us again September 11 – 17, 2016 and already the class is filling up!

Watercolor Portraits with Ted Nuttall

We had another wonderful week with the talented artist and instructor, Ted Nuttall, for a workshop on watercolor portraits working from photo reference. Everyone had great things to say about Ted as an instructor. His demos were filled with explanation and tips and he spent a lot of time with each student at their easel.

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This was Ted’s demo on one of the days of the 5 day workshop.

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We also have four-footed guest for the week, Loki, an Australian Shepherd. He enjoyed hanging out by the back door of the studio so that he could keep an eye on his “mom.”

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Meanwhile outside the studio the weather was becoming very Fall-like. The night temps were going down to the 40s, so it was time to close the pool. Though the pool area is still a lovely place to sit for lunch or just to take a breather from the intenseness of the class.

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The front porch of the Main Inn was a popular place to gather before dinner for a drink of wine or a frosty mug of beer.

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The Value of Value Studies with Ann Lindsay

“Ann is a gem, one of a kind teacher, she has a way of explaining that you get! Makes class fun! – a student in Ann Lindsay’s

Fun is definitely what this class had. It was a 3-day workshop focused on the value of value studies and Ann said she “worked them hard!”

Ann provided lots of demos and samples to illustrate her points.

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The rest of the photos were captured from the student workspaces around the studio. Lots of good work!

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With the beautiful weather we’ve been having, the class enjoyed sitting out on the front porch of the inn before dinnertime. A happy crew!

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Ann Lindsay is scheduled to return in 2017 to teach a 5-day workshop.

David Taylor – Photo to Quilt with Hand Applique

We just had a fun and engaging week with David Taylor, the fiber artist form Steamboat Springs, Colorado (not David Taylor the fabulous watercolorist from Australia who will be teaching here next year! Although they both like and buy my Crazy Ties.)

I have long admired David’s award-winning work, having seen it all over the internet and also some of the major shows, so it was a pleasure to finally meet him and have him here to teach a workshop.

Everyone brought a great photo to work from, each different than the others. David had everyone start with the eyes. It was sort of erie to walk through the studio that first day and see all those eyes peering at you.

Joyce L was working on a cute portrait of fox. I love her fabric palette spread out around her.

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Corinne had a wonderful picture of a blue-footed booby bird!

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Sandy’s focus was flora rather than fauna, with this bright yellow flower.

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Helene had a picture of one of her dogs.

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And Korinna was working on a cat. Korinna was our longest distance winner in this class, having come from Germany!

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These next couple of pictures show the progress after a couple of days.

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Every day David provided demos and discussions about the various steps of his process.

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The remaining pictures were taken on the final day. You can see that some people made more progress than others, but the reason is different than you might think. David told me, rolling his eyes, that everyone was having so much fun chatting, laughing and telling stories that they weren’t spending enough time focused on their work! The class even went on a field trip to a local quilt fabric shop, Log Cabin Fabrics, during class time one afternoon.

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David brought several of his art quilts with him, of course, and everyone oohed and aahed and had him hold them up for pictures.

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Here is the paparazzi!

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This is the quilting on the back of David’s bird quilt. Simplily amazing.

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One of the demos on the last day was how David puts on the binding on his finished pieces. He thinks of the binding as framing his finished work.

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It was a good week all around with good food and good weather to round out the experience. We hope to have David back again in the future!

Dynamic Portraits in Fabric with Esterita Austin

Another successful workshop with Esterita (Teri) Austin! Some amazing portraits were created. This first set of photos shows how much progress everyone had made by Wednesday of this 5-day class.

Don’t you just love the mustache! Wait til you see the beard.

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On the way back to the Main Inn from taking photos, I noticed this baby snapping turtle in the creek that runs through the property. The fish were circling around him in a teasing fashion. It was interesting to watch.

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Back in the Main Inn, the heavenly scent of chocolate filled the air. Marzipan was being enrobed with organic dark chocolate. The marzipan itself was made the day before from freshly ground organic almonds. After Teri tried one she responded with “Wow, I didn’t know I liked marzipan until I tried yours!”

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Here are our two birthday girls in the class, Caroline and Barb.

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Lunch in the Main Inn dining rooms.

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And finally, the class photo with all the wonderful portraits! You can see a video pan of a close up of the group on the Hudson River Valley Art Workshop Facebook PageIMG 2537

Teri will be back again next year, but with a new class – Mono-Printing and Mixed Media Collage. Sure to be another winner!

Going Beyond Your Boundaries in Watercolor with Mel Stabin

Another fun workshop week with Mel Stabin has just come to a close. Mel has been coming to teach workshops at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops more years than I want to count!

This year he taught a workshop titled “Pushing the Envelope in Watercolor: Express Yourself.” It was all about challenging yourself and go beyond your boundaries in watercolor! Mel wanted to encourage his students to experience the magical, spontaneous, and transparent qualities of watercolor and help them discover that watercolor is at its best when it is set free.

The class spent about equal time painting outdoors on location and in the studio.

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The final day was spent in the studio where Mel did a demo on figures and how to incorporate them in your landscapes. This was Mel’s demo painting.

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Painting and learning all day can be exhausting but this group knew how to relax. Every evening they’d gather on the front porch of the inn for some beers or wine, and some great conversation.

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This is one of the dishes served for dinner during the workshop – a savory Thai braised beef served on top of long rice noodles. The fragrance of the lemongrass, coconut milk, and spices emanating from the kitchen has people licking their lips in anticipation.

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And speaking of licking lips, this is Link who came with Suzy and got more attention and hellos than anyone else in the workshop.

Maybe he is thinking of the home-made pumpkin dog biscuit he found in his room upon his arrival!

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If you missed this class, Mel is scheduled to return again in 2016! Don’t miss it.

Transforming Reference Photos with Peter Fiore

Peter Fiore was recently here teaching “Beyond the Photograph,” a workshop about using photography as reference material for oil paintings. He discussed how to interpret light, key your paintings, control color, and create solid value structures.

This was the second time that Peter has taught a workshop with us and each time by the time the week is over, we can’t wait to schedule him for a return!

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Peter’s wife, Barbara, was also here and caught us as we were about to take our dogs out for a walk. Barbara is also a marvelous ceramic scupture artist. I just love the whimsical figures she creates.

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We kept everyone happy and well fed. This is a shot of one of the dinner dishes, Gai Yang, a Thai BBQ chicken served with mango slices on top of sticky coconut rice.

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Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop

We had a wonderful week with David Dunlop and his full class of eager students. David, besides being an award-winning artist and popular teacher and lecturer, is host and Emmy Award-winning writer of the 13-episode PBS television series Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop.

The group has a week of beautiful weather to go out and paint on location at some of the stunning parks in our area.

A new locations for this year was the Devil’s Tombstone park. The site had a picturesque lake and grand vistas of notch in the mountains. Plus picnic tables for an enjoyable picnic lunch — delivered by us!

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If you missed this class, David will be back again in 2016!

Landscapes in Pastel or Oil with Alan Flattmann

We had beautiful weather for the Alan Flattmann workshop a couple of weeks ago. The class had a wonderful time and very enjoyable time out at a local farm.

Alan’s group was split just about 50/50 with pastel painters and oil painters.

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It was a busy week in the office, as I was getting the 2015 workshop information up on our websites. So I only got out to take pictures on the one day. If anyone else in the class has photos to share, I love to add them to our blog.

More Cathy Taylor Workshop Photos

Cathy Taylor sent us these great photos from her workshop with us a couple of weeks ago.

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Cathy’s husband, Scott, came along, too, and had a good time hanging out with Charles, who is Manon’s husband.

Manon has attended many of our workshops and this last time she told me that the workshops have changed her life! They have sent her art in new and exciting directions and she is seeing the recognition in more exhibit acceptances and awards. This is the reason we have this business – to provide a nurturing, inspiring, safe and comfortable environment where artists can spread their wings, and I can’t tell you how much it means to us to hear this kind of comment from one of the students. It is what makes everything worth while.

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Pastels in the Heat of the Night with Christine Ivers

Christine Ivers, the awarding winning pastelist from Connecticut, just taught an intense 3-day workshop focused on focus on temperature, atmospheric perspective and drawing.

Christine is known for her incredibly rich and evocative nightscapes. The image below is the beginning of one that she used to demonstrate her technique.

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The studio was a colorful place that week. Many had such extensive selections of pastels!

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All in all it was a great class. If you missed this year, don’t worry Chris will be back again in 2016.

Pastels in the Heat of the Night with Christine Ivers

Christine Ivers, the awarding winning pastelist from Connecticut, just taught an intense 3-day workshop focused on focus on temperature, atmospheric perspective and drawing.

Christine is known for her incredibly rich and evocative nightscapes. The image below is the beginning of one that she used to demonstrate her technique.

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The studio was a colorful place that week. Many had such extensive selections of pastels!

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All in all it was a great class. If you missed this year, don’t worry Chris will be back again in 2016.

Amazing Alcohol Inks and Collage with Cathy Taylor

Start with inks and acrylics, add a touch of collage and a pinch of print making and you have the perfect recipe for a mixed media masterpiece!

That was the starting point of the description for Cathy Taylor‘s 3-day workshop, and from there it was just 3 days packed with Cathy sharing her expertise and passion for her medium, as well as loads of laughter and story telling.

Marcia brought with her a bunch of “failed” paintings and turned them into winners with the application of the techniques she learned from Cathy.

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The first day Cathy had the group creating masses of altered collage papers with CitraSolv and National Geographic magazines. It was amazing to see the cool effects with the colors on the different pages.

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A woven collage of altered papers.

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Next on the agenda were those amazing alcohol inks! The vibrancy of the colors was outstanding!

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This is one of the stencils that Cathy had available for the students to use.

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Another of Marcia’s transformed paintings!

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Be sure to watch for Cathy Taylor’s new book from Shiffer Publications due out in the Fall – Pigments of Your Imagination, Creating with Alcohol Inks.NewImage

Plein Aire Oil Painting with Howard Rose

Howard was patient, encouraging, funny, insightful, very careful to speak with everyone equally. He Obviously loves teaching! So many excellent artists are poor teachers. Howard is both an artist and a teacher, and really wants his pupils to succeed and learn. Thank you, Kim and Mark, for your hospitality, generosity, fun, and laugher. I hope I’ll be back soon!” – Marg Stalker

With an endorsement like that you know that this was a fun class and a fun week with Howard Rose.

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Gabby was one of the student’s pup who enjoyed the outdoor painting, too!

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Taking a break for coffee and cookies! We now have 16 oz coffee cups for more of the pick me up that you need in the afternoon, cookies help, too.

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Howard looking serious, which as a rare photo opportunity! He is usually always smiling and having a great time teaching.

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Margaret Evans Unleashes Her Pastels

Margaret Evans, the delightful and talented Scottish artist, was here once again teaching a 5-day workshop for pastelists. The focus of the class was to “unleash your pastels” and discover their versatility when used on their own or with other media.

Here are Margaret’s pastels unleashed!

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. . . and here is her demo started on the first day.

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She finished the painting with more detail later on in the week and we’ll post a picture as soon as we get it framed!

Margaret loves to paint outside and that was the plan for this workshop, but after the first day, I think the weather tried too hard to make Margaret feel at home with damp, rainy weather! The valiant group did make an attempt to paint out by the Hudson River, hoping that the clouds would clear, as they had on the first day but after spending the morning in the large covered bandstand in the Athens riverside park, the group returned to the studio.

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Margaret kept everyone busy working from photo reference or florals (our peonies always seem to bloom in profusion and then are followed by torrents of rain that flatten them to the ground, so we had dozens of vases filled). During breaks in the rain, some students immediately found inspiration around the inn for a bit of plein air painting.

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It was a great week. “Exceeded all expectations” was a comment by one student that was echoed by all.

Margaret will return again in August of 2016! Don’t miss it.

Bold and Loose with Eric Wiegardt

Eric Wiegardt, the award winning watercolorist from Washington, just taught a 5-day workshop on being bold and loose with watercolor! The weather was beautiful and there were plenty of Spring flowers putting on a show all around the inn.

Eric did at least one demo each day. Here he is doing a painting of the white flowering viburnum in the white garden on our side lawn.

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On another day, Eric painted a scene of the side view of the carriage house. These photos were taken by Kathy Kernan, a student in the class. (Thanks, Kathy!)

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The group also went to our favorite local farm to paint. This is Eric’s demo painting from that day.

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On the final day the class to a short trip out to the Riverside Park in Coxsackie for a day by the Hudson River.

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Everyone enjoyed Eric’s easy going style and great sense of humor. It’s easy to see why he is a popular teacher. Eric will be back with us again in 2016!

Interview with Oil Painter, Howard Rose

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How long have you been teaching and what got you started?

I have been teaching for over 15 years. I got started when I was in a painting class and everyone kept on asking me questions on how to improve their paintings.
I always felt good if I helped some student get one step better, bring their painting up a notch, and solve a difficult stumbling block for them.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

I always see how important and serious most painters and students are about their paintings. I see each student putting their heart and soul into each of their paintings and if I can guide them into a better and more successful painting, they truly appreciate it as well as I do.

What are the best reasons for taking a workshop from you?

Over the past 15 years, of teaching and critiquing art shows, I always say I have the ability of taking their painting UP a Notch. I never let a student start a painting without a good design. They can work for weeks on a painting but without a good design, It will never be a good and successful painting. I have designed very logical steps to start and complete an oil Painting. My mantra for my all my students is… Slow and Accurate. Be accurate with each step along the way…. color application, design, perspective, calligraphy etc. Doing it slow and accurate will assure the student in creating a successful painting.Image 6

What are you working on in your own art?

I have joined a web site called Daily Paintworks. I create a small painting every other day and post in onto this site…. working on 6 x 6 and 6 x 8 inch paintings is very exciting.
All of the knowledge that I have learned has to be applied for a large as well very small painting. Its exciting to create a good painting in a couple of hours and see in on an auction where potential buyers will buy my painting.

Where is your art currently exhibited?

I have a gallery in Southampton ( Chrysalis Gallery) and I have a yearly show every June or July… I will have one of these on July 4th. I also exhibit my work at a gallery in Weston , Ct and a beautiful Gallery in Manhasset , Long Island called Tripani art gallery.Image 5

What hints would you give for getting gallery representation:

An artist has to have a theme in their work… Landscapes, or seascapes, still lifes, floral etc. You can of course vary it, but you should be known for a particular theme.
You should be proud of your work. Know that it is good art and know that you can produce paintings on a regular basis. If you know that you need to be in a gallery, find a gallery that you love. walk in , look around and start getting acqainted with the sales people. Ask questions and drop a hint that you paint and if you wanted to show your work to someone in the gallery, how would I go about it?

Do you set your work in any online gallery?

Daily Paintworks… I do small paintings and create about 4 a week. The paintings go on auction.

What is your favorite art quote?

My Mantra for my students is To create a successful painting you must think… SLOW AND ACCURATE! Take each step and make it accurate, Perspective, design, accurate color, thought out harmony and rich paint application.

Describe your studio:

I have a wonderful studio in Syosset, Long Island New York, above the American Legon center. I have room for 12 easels where I run classes and do my painting. Its very bright, and quiet.

Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products.

  • clean and new brushes
  • Kings blue from williams burg
  • Gessoboard panels
  • Bounty towels
  • good lighting


More Recent Instructor Interviews:


Interview with Esterita Austin

Austin estertiat lg2014cEstertia Austin, the creator of Misty Fuse and Transdoodle Transfer Paper, has taught workshops for us for quite a number of years. We always look forward to her workshops because of her approachable teaching style and her grand sense of fun!

She is teaching her portraits workshop this August, which is always a fun class. I especially enjoy seeing the amazement on the faces of the students when they see how Teri’s techniques make it easy to create dynamic portraits from their photos.

Here are Teri’s answers to our interview questions:

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How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I started teaching in 1980 when my first child was born. I had been a graphic artist which tens to be messy with using the inks and paints. I needed a clean creative outlet with kids around and found that quilting was easy to put down when I needed to run after a toddler.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

I had been a high school art teacher before I started teaching quilting. I just love it when I see (metaphorically) the light bulb go off when someone “gets it” and sees how to use value to create a dynamic piece. I get excited when students realize that they have undiscovered talent, now discovered.

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

  • To let go of trying to control the outcome of the day and their piece.
  • To have the space and permission to go outside of their expressive boundaries.
  • To add to and expand the tools in their creative tool box both with new materials and ideas.

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What are you currently working on in your own art?

I’ve been working in two different directions. One very planned and thought out in the form of portraits in hand dyed cottons/ and the other very loose and expressive with layered sheer mono prints, experimenting with all different mediums. I find going back and forth between the two expressions satisfies both sides of my personality.

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

I just had an exhibit in Hampton Virginia and have exhibits in a few universities around the country the past few months.IMG 1665 2

What is your favorite art quote?

Light reveals form.

Describe your studio.

My studio is attached to my home. It’s 20 x 22″ white walls and oak floor. I teach classes as well as do my own work there. I have two work tables raised to waist high. One old oak desk and file cabinets. And of course cabinets and drawers for fabric storage.IMG 1641 1024 2

Name some of your “can’t” do without tools/products

  • black cotton fabric
  • Mistyfuse
  • Transdoodle transfer paper
  • parchment paper
  • hand dyed fabrics by Carlene Keller
  • 18 mm rotary cutter
  • every color of lumiere textile paints!


More Recent Instructor Interviews:


Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson’s Paper Paintings

The wonderfully creative and inventive Elizabeth St Hilaire just taught a 3-day workshop to an eager and very happy crew. This is what one student had to say to Elizabeth:

Thank you again for a very special weekend. My hope for any art endeavor is to have my eyes opened allowing me to see things in a new way. You certainly helped me achieve that! When I think of collage, I think of putting paper elements on a page in a mindful way, but your technique of paper painting is so very different. And so eye opening. My brain has been percolating since the weekend and I hope to be able to clear the decks and experiment in the next few weeks.


These are some shots of the workshop and around the inn that Elizabeth’s husband, Doug Nelson, took during the class. Doug is a professional photographer, as you can tell by these amazing photos.

Elizabeth is one of the elite bloggers for the Growing Bolder website and she wrote a lovely piece about her workshop with us.


There was heavy lobbying from the students at the end of class to bring Elizabeth back for another workshop and I’m happy to report that Elizabeth will be returning in 2016, September 25 – October 1, for a 5-day workshop!

The Magic of Oops with Bob Burridge

Another super week with Bob Burridge where a marvelous time was had by all. The magic of “Oops” was that even mistakes can be turned into successes with a little “magic” and imagination.

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At dinner on the final night, the group of students presented Bob with a little moment gift. One was a book titled “Beautiful Oops” by Barney Saltzberg. This delightfully illustrated children’s book was a perfect example of the things that Bob Burridge was talking about in the class – how “oops” can be transformed with imagination and creativity into something beautiful.

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Bob will be back again next year in October!

Figures In Pastel with Margaret Dyer

As Bob Burridge says, “She’s the best!” That’s Margaret Dyer, who was here teaching a 3-day workshop in pastel figures. Always a popular class, this year was no different. A great bunch of students and a fine couple of models.

If you missed this year, Margaret will be back with us again next year in March.

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Outside the studio there was also a bit of color on nature’s palette – the tulips are just starting to bloom and with the recent rains and warm weather everything is getting really green!

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Drawing on the Wild Side with Joe Weatherly

Last week the wonderful Joe Weatherly from Southern California taught a 5-day animal drawing and oil sketching workshop. The group had a grand time and learned a lot about animal anatomy and drawing moving subjects. They were able to go to the Discovery Zoo and Balliwick Ranch in Catskill and have the complete run of the place, getting up close to the animals without anyone getting in the way.

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As the zoo was not yet ready with their food concessions, we were able to bring in a picnic lunch to the zoo grounds.

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After two days at the zoo, for change of scenery and animals, the group went to K & K Equesterian Center, which is just 10 minutes from the inn. They found friendly people and friendly animals!

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Here is Joe, having just finished a demo of one of the many horses.

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It was great week and everyone in the class was clamoring for us to bring Joe back again for another workshop, so we did! Joe will be returning June 27 – July 1, 2016. Mark your calendars!

Smoked Salmon and Leek Chowder

This is one of the new hit dishes at the workshop this year. The first time we served it we actually had several people request a second bowl instead of the rack of lamb being served as the main course! (The rack of lamb with the pesto and breadcrumb crust is another of the favorite recipes.) We’ve already had so many requests for the recipe, we decided to post it right away.


  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large rib celery, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2 cups whole milk
  • 2 8-oz bottles of clam juice
  • 3 small red potatoes, cut into a 1/2″ dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 oz hot-smoked salmon, skin and bones removed, flaked into bite-size pieces (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make:

Melt the butter in a 4-qt saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and celery, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Slowly whisk in the milk and clam juice, then bring to a simmer. Next, add the potatoes and bay leaves. Simmer gently until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.

Add the salmon, cream, dill, and lemon juice, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve!

Fun with Digital Printing with Kathyanne White

Mixed media artist, Kathyanne White, brought her knowledge of digital printing on alternative surfaces and dazzled us with the endless possibilities. Her enthusiasm and humor made this class a weeklong party.

These photos show just some of what they were working with, including printing on beverage cans, metal mesh, plastic milk cartons, and more. They also creating some really neat constructions by crocheting wire and bits of printed aluminum cans.

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If you missed this wonderful class, you’ll have to watch for your next opportunity. In the meantime, Kathyanne’s new book, “Digital Printing Alternative Surfaces“, is a great resource. It really is as the title says, “The Definitive Source.”

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Around the inn, Spring is taking shape in the form of loads of blooming daffodils and the greening of lawns and trees.

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Interview with Mixed Media Artist – Cathy Taylor

IMG 1276Cathy Taylor is an award winning mixed media artist and popular workshop instructor. She is teaching a workshop for us at the end of June and we are so looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for art!

Her water media artwork is a celebration of the patterns, textures, and color found in the natural environment. Cathy is known for her ability to interpret a subject in a variety of styles, from her whimsical collages to multi-dimensional abstracts.

We were introduced to Cathy through the CitraSolv company, the makers of CitraSolv household cleaners, which also happens to be a fabulous product for creating altered paper, image transfers, and more! We use a number of these fabulous natural cleaning products at our inn.

Here are Cathy’s responses to our interview questions:

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How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I started teaching because I wanted to share my new found love of water media. I was having way too much fun to keep it to myself!I started teaching on a local basis in 1995. The class was called No Mistakes Watermedia and had weekly titles like the fear of white paper, risk a glorious failure and Imagination constipation! The class sold out. I LOVED teaching and knew then I had found my passion.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

The pure joy when a student creates a wonderful piece of artwork. And the HUGS

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

  1. The support, encouragement, and sharing that happens in a workshop environment.
  2. The opportunity to do something just for you!

What are you currently working on in your own art?

I am in LOVE with alcohol inks. I am still discovering new ways to work with them. I also have been working on a series of large collages using circuit boards and old watch and clock parts. One was featured in the current Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. They have also been juried into the National Collage Society shows and the International Society of Experimental Artist shows.100 2396

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

I am represented by several galleries including the 2103 NICHE award winner KALA gallery in Morganton NC. I also belong to the world’s best co-op The Main Street Gallery in Blowing Rock NC.

Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?

Get together a body of work that represents your style. Seek out cooperative galleries where you will receive the support and advice from other artists. Most galleries have an online application process and will contact you if interested.

Do you sell your work in any online gallery?

FASO is my web support. Their web site is designed specifically for artists and is very user friendly. I have my work featured on my site and have sold several pieces through my site.

What is your favorite art quote?

”Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Albert Szent100 2377

Describe your studio.

Controlled chaos. My studio is on the second floor with a view of our surrounding woods. It is full of light with a high ceiling and lots of room. It is filled with my collection of inspiring Stuff including a paper wasp nest (minus wasps), old clock parts, leaf skeletons, sea glass, and old weaving spindles. I also have a mini trampoline to bounce out new ideas, and my two Doodles, Elle and Gracie May who serve as my muses and my squirrel alert team.

Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products

  1. Alcohol inks
  2. cotton swabs
  3. gel medium
  4. light
  5. Music
  6. assorted junk

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You can see lots of great videos by Cathy Taylor on her YouTube channel!

More Recent Instructor Interviews:


Landscapes in Fabric with Kathy McNeil

Kathy McNeil, the award-winning art quilter from Washington, recently taught a 5-day workshop on Creating Your Own Landscapes.

Here is a photo tour of the work during the classes. It was great fun to see how each student progressed with their landscapes throughout the five days.

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Kathy brought a number of her stunning quilts to share with the class. The detail on her work is amazing, including stitched hidden images and 3-D elements.

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While the class was happily creating their landscapes, the landscape outside around the inn was happily transitioning from winter to spring!

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Strip Therapy with Rayna Gillman

Rayna Gillman asked “Has your creative muse taken a vacation?” and a fun-seek group of women responded! They spent three glorious days slicing, dicing, and combining strips, squares and rectangles in new ways without a plan. I don’t know that these women’s muse had really “taken a vacation” because they seem to have plenty of creativity. I think they just liked the idea of “new ways to create without a plan!”

Mary Beth said, “This was my first quilting experience and I was delighted! Rayna allowed me to experiment, yet offered valuable instruction with many options. She was readily available to assist me in design, composition decisions. I thoroughly enjoyed working in an environment surrounded by superb art, from the quilts on our bed to the dining room area. We were treated to all sort of art treasures.

These photos show just a glimpse of the wonderful things created in this workshop. The three days seemed to speed by.

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Seriously Super Series with Katie Pasquini Masopust

Working in a Series was the challenge for the week in this fun class taught by Katie Pasquini Masopust. Everyone was told to bring an existing piece to be the start of their series. Then from that, the goal was to create several other pieces to add to the series. On the first night quite a few people expresses doubts about being able to create a new piece every day, but you’ll see by the photos, that they did!

It was great fun to watch as each person’s series grew to cover their design walls. There was an exciting variety of work in this class.

Below are photos taken over several days when I had the chance to ramble through the studio. Katie also posted daily photos of the series as they developed on her FaceBook page.

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When she was not doing presentations, leading discussions on design, or working one-on-one with each of the students, Katie worked on her own series based on an abstract still life of flowers in a vase. These were composed of hand-painted canvases that were cut into pieces and then reassembled into the still life. Katie teaches this technique in her Stitched Paintings class.

The students in this class were so taken with the stitched paintings, that they begged Katie and us to schedule this class in 2015, even though Katie is already scheduled to teach another class. Since we happened to have just one spot left in the 2015 schedule, Katie agreed to do it! Some of the students have already signed up. The Stitched Paintings class will be December 6 – 12, 2015 and the Artful Log Cabin class, that was already scheduled, will be June 7 – 13, 2015. Two opportunities to work with an inspiring artist and teacher!

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An Interview with Eric Weigardt – Watercolorist

The Duck Hunter 2012 AWS Gold Medal of Honor Eric Wiegardt AWS DF, NWS has taught over 5,000 watercolorists his popular “Secrets of Painting Loose” seminars. Over 4,000 original paintings have been collected privately and corporately. He is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society (Dolphin Fellow), National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America (Master Status) and others. He has been awarded the 2012 AWS Gold Medal of Honor, among many other national and international awards. He was invited to the Third Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary International Watermedia Masters in China. Featured in many publications as well as cover artist for both The Artist’s Magazine and Watercolor Artist Magazine, Eric is the author of the North Light Book “Watercolor Free and Easy”.

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Eric has taught many workshops for us over the years and always welcome him back because not only is his a fabulous artist and excellent teacher, he is just plain nice to have around!

Eric had theses responses to our questions:

How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I think I started teaching classes and workshops around 1987 to supplement my income from painting sales. I soon found I enjoyed the interaction with others of similar interest in watercolor and the reward of helping others with their paintings.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part of teaching is the gratitude I receive from those I help. It is very rewarding to see the “light bulb go on” as a student progresses to the next level of accomplishment, and to have been a part of it.

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

The best reasons for taking a workshop:

An excellent instructor will teach in terms of design concepts. This is critically important to understand for the amateur to progress from rendering to producing art.

The student’s horizons should be expanded and challenged beyond a previously constructed comfort zone.

The camaraderie provides a valuable learning atmosphere and a realization we are not in this alone.Image 7

What are you currently working on in your own art?

Currently, I am exploring the delicate balance between abstract and realism. I enjoy the abstract qualities of a painting close up and then have it unfold into something recognizable as the viewer steps back. I feel this provides the viewer with a very visceral experience.

Where is your art currently being exhibited?

Wiegardt Studio Galley, Ocean Park, Wa
River Sea Gallery, Astoria, Oregon

What is your favorite art quote?

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

” A slightly false statement, yet fresh, is much better than a tiresomely truthful one”. My mentor, Irving Shapiro, on watercolor painting.Image 1

Describe your studio

My business is Wiegardt Studio Gallery. It is my great grandfather’s house he built in 1897. Downstairs is my display area for paintings, an area for framing, and upstairs is my studio of approximately 12×18′ with more display and storage space. The studio has large north facing windows and is fairly sparse. I don’t like clutter and like to have lots of room to move around.
I am fortunate in that my commute to work is a minute and a half, by walking, if I don’t have to wait for a car to go by. I love it!

Name five of your “can’t” do without tools/products

  • My Eric Wiegardt Signature Brushes
  • A mirror to check the design of my paintings
  • The knowledge I have acquired, as displayed in my video series and books.
  • My clutch pencil set and Nero leads….the best for doing sketches and value studies.
  • My associates who work for me….invaluable for keeping the paperwork off my plate!

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More Recent Instructor Interviews:


Paula Nadelstern and Her Merry Kaleidoscope Makers

Paula Nadelstern just finished teaching another of her magical kaleidoscope quilt classes to a group of both repeat offenders . . . . . I mean attenders and newbies. Everyone had a grand time.

Some of the comments by the students were:

My expectations were high and the class exceeded them by far!” – Bonnie Kuhn. “This class met all of my expectations and more. Paula is such a great person and teacher.” – Totty Sos

The afternoon cookie break is a favorite daily event. This is the first batch of cookies for the year!

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Cookies weren’t the only sweet delight during the week, for dessert one night three different ice cream flavors were made – chocolate, vanilla and ginger. Here they are cooling before going into the ice cream maker.

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Churning in the ice cream maker.

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Paula spent a lot of time leading discussions on fabric, designs in fabric, and how use the designs to create the magical effect of a kaleidoscope.

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Paula brought a number of her quilts to display in the class.

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She also brought a tempting array of Benartex fabrics that she designed. The designs were so luscious. I especially liked the metallics, like that purple one you can see peaking out of the middle of the pile.

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We had a contingent of Featherweight fans in the workshop, about 5, I think. Those ladies knew how to party and have fun!

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Here are some of the first set of blocks made by the class and they got bigger and even more amazing from there.

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It was an enjoyable week and a great way to start our 10th year! Already many in the class were anxious to sign up for Paula’s next class in 2016. We just have to select the dates!