Watercolor – Alvaro Castagnet Style!

“Alvaro is a masterful teacher!” ” Alvaro painted like mad and was excellent as usual.” “I had heard about Alvaro from my art friends. I learn a lot of new strategies.”

These were just some of the glowing reports we had about the fun week this group had in Alvaro Castagnet’s workshop. The weather was marvelous, so the class enjoyed hopping to a different Hudson River town each day, as well as hanging local to the inn and art studio. IMG 3390
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Even artists can vamp for the camera! IMG 3400
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If you missed the chance to join this lively workshop this year, Alvaro will be back again next year, October 16 – 22, 2016, for another 5-day workshop.

Loving the Landscape with Susan Ogilvie’s Pastels

It is always an enjoyable week when Washington pastelist Susan Ogilvie comes to teach a workshop. It was a busy week and the group painted around the inn, a the Greenville town park, a local farm, and a couple days at Olana, including in the midst of their BIG paint-out event. We were able to catch them in action at the farm. IMG 3361
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IMG 3375 Susan’s was our final pastel workshop for this year, but we have lots more coming up next year. Our full schedule for 2016 is on our website and we are already taking enrollments. Richard McKinley’s class is almost full! We also have Christine Ivers, Margaret Dyer, and Margaret Evans coming to teach pastel workshops.

Sue Rasmussen on art quilts, and her love of teaching

Both highly technically accomplished and artistically talented, popular and award-winning art quilter Sue Rasmussen recently shared with us some thoughts on her art, and teaching.


Sue returns to the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops this fall, to teach a Workshop November 1 to 7, 2015: Landscapes: Designing and Piecing Pictorial Quilts.


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

I have been teaching for over 25 years, initially teaching machine quilting, then Landscapes and Pictorial quilts. A friend of mine “stole” one of my Machine Quilting white-on-white quilts unbeknownst to me and entered it into the California State Fair. I won first place and Best of Show. Soon after word got out, I was asked to teach at the local shops.


What is your favorite part about teaching?

Sharing my techniques, piecing tricks, and extensive textiles knowledge with my students and friends. But more than that, I love meeting people and influencing or affecting their quilts and the way they approach quilting.


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

  1. You will learn a new technique and all the simple tricks that I have developed to make this process successful, enjoyable and transferable to all your quilting projects. So many quilters have pictures of loved ones(whether furry or two legged) or a special place that they want to remember and memorialize in a quilt, and I can share how easy and simple it is to make a pattern, create the design elements, and choose fabrics for that project.
  2. You WILL learn more in this workshop about basics in quilting than you ever expected or ever had before. (I am told this repeatedly by my students every time I teach, because I share the ‘whys and whats’ about quilt topics that most teachers don’t know). I have two degrees in Textile Science, and I share why things occur and how to make sure that things DON’T occur, such as shrinkage, bleeding, crocking etc., just to name three that we constantly battle. Understanding the importance of warp and weft in our quilts and how the right needle makes ALL the difference in your stitch and thread ease-ability.
  3. This is a fun, humorous and relaxed class, making you laugh and enjoy the process of learning a new technique. I share many of my silly stories of my quilts which will cause you to really belly laugh.

What are you currently working on in your own art? 

Oh my, so many things. I continue to create ‘Pieced Pictorial Quilts’, and am now working on two Toucans with totally different personalities. They just need to get sewn together and quilted. (Pictures below) In addition to those two quilts, I am developing some new patterns to teach at Houston next year, and a small quilt using the new HIGHLIGHTS threads developed by YLI Corp. I have made a collage piece for the SAQA Oasis challenge too. I literally have 8 things in progress at the moment.



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Where is your art currently being exhibited? 
Route 66 Traveling Exhibition, Dragonfly Fabrics Collection, Markham Ranch Art Collection.

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

Several of my pieces have been in galleries, and I think the art quilts that are faced do better than art quilts with traditional borders on them. Viewers seem to think ‘quilt’ if there are traditional borders on the art quilt.


Do you sell your work in any online gallery? 

No, I sell my pieces directly to buyers, or direct consignments.


What is your favorite art quote?

“Art does not lie in beds ready made for it

It runs away when its name is called

It wants to be incognito

Its best moments are when it forgets what it’s called.” Jean Philippe Arthur Dubuffet


Describe your studio.

Up until three months ago, I was sprawled out between three rooms and several closets. Now I have a wonderful, light filled, free standing, large studio. I designed the entire building on my iPad, down to the placement of each electrical outlet, window, 5 design walls, and the angle of the building to capture the best light. I designed specific furniture for my particular needs, for example: an electrical 4’ x 8’ table that raises and lowers from 23” to 52”. I can design, work, sew, press or baste on this table.

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

Bernina sewing machines; good quality threads [Aurifil, YLI corp.]; Bohin products-scissors, pins, machine needles; White Chalk mechanical pencils (Bohin, Sew Line, or Fons & Porter); Universal Thread Holder; The “Elfa storage system” from the Container Store.

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The Brilliance of Watercolor with David Daniels

BEST CLASS EVER!!” “Absolutely met my expectations. Tremendously good instruction. Congenial and interesting group. Great workspace and environment.” – Barbara B.

It was a great week with David Daniels as he taught his popular watercolor workshop to a full house. IMG 3350
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The class had a canine mascot, Cloe, who came with one of the students. She was a very sweet dog. IMG 3353
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Cloe like to “offer” the opportunity to give her a belly rub every chance she got, plopping herself on the floor and presenting her belly. IMG 3356
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Here is a behind the scenes shot of chef Mark and Nancy rolling out dough for the Chinese soup dumplings that are being served this year. They are made and steam right be for service, so they come out hot and fresh to the table. IMG 0971 If you were on the wait list for this class or are now thoroughly intrigued about taking a workshop with David Daniels, as luck would have it David is stepping into to teach a combined watermedia collage and watercolor workshop in just a few weeks. This is sure to be a fun and informative workshop that you don’t want to miss.

Expressive Portraits with Paul Leveille

Better than expected – learned to paint what you see not what you think you see.” – Marianne P. “This class exceeded my expectations! I learned so much and Paul is such a wonderful man.” – Toni D.

Paul Leveille was here just a week ago to each his 5-day workshop on creating expressive portraits. He showed his step-by-step process for developing a portrait starting with the large light and dark shapes, and then progressing to the detail. The group enjoyed working with a different model each day. IMG 0961
Paul offered plenty of help at each person’s easel. IMG 3338
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This is a sketch of the first day’s model done by Paul as he was talking about values. IMG 3340
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Here is Paul’s demo in done in pastels. IMG 3343 Paul’s demo done in watercolors. IMG 3344
IMG 3345 This is Paul’s demo done in oil. IMG 3346 This is Christine, one our housekeepers, who was kind enough to pitch in as a model when the one we had scheduled called in sick. She did a great job as a model. IMG 3348

Karen Rosasco’s Watermedia Exploration

Karen’s class took over the parking lot one day to get messy with charcoal and water! IMG 0954
There were a lot of interesting starts and finishes in this class! IMG 0955
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This is a bird house painted by Peggy Pepmiller, one of Karen’s students (and our retreat regular!) We gave her an unadorned bird house last year at the retreat so that she could take it home to decorate. We plan to have a painted bird house topping each “post” of our flowering fence by the pool. IMG 0943
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This is Cristina Del Sol with a beautiful painting she started in Karen’s workshop last year and then finished at home. IMG 3336
The happy crew all together! Most of them have already signed up for Karen’s class with us next year. It will be the last class that Karen teaches for us because she is semi-retiring and will teach only private lessons out of her home in North Carolina. IMG 3337