Five Questions for Artist Patti Mollica

One of our most popular workshops each year we can get her is with artist Patti Mollica! Leading up to her 3-day Bold, Brilliant, & Fearless Painting workshop from July 28-August 1, Patti took a moment to give us a bit more information on her background, teaching, and approach to art.

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
PM: When I moved to NYC in 1992, it was such a visually exciting experience, I’ve been inspired to draw and paint it ever since.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
PM: In order to teach effectively, I have to be clear and articulate on my process, and be solid in my understanding of the foundational blocks — values, color and brushwork. Teaching has facilitated my own understanding and artistic development in these all-important areas. There are basic reasons why a painting works or doesn’t work. Being able to analyze the strength or weakness of a painting based on it’s foundational underpinning is the key to creating more consistently successful work. In my own personal art there is a continual flow of new artistic discoveries and creative exploration. I’m curious and intrigued by various styles and techniques, which factors into my being very open-minded in my teaching style, and my appreciation for interesting artistic approaches.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
PM: I have to continually organize to keep my space neat so that if an idea or technique crosses my mind while I am painting, I can put my hands right on whatever tool or material I need. At the end of a day’s painting session, I clean up thoroughly before starting in again the next day. All my materials are stored in labeled shelves and boxes. Its pretty organized, and the only way I can work.

Q: Who are your art heros? Who do you admire and why?
PM: I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to take a workshop with Charles Sovek, whose no-nonsense approach to composition and simplification influenced me. I also studied with Ken Auster, master of urban landscapes using a very painterly style. My all time favorite is probably Joaquin Sorolla, for his strong compositions, draftsmanship and brilliant use of color.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
PM: I’ve recently moved into a larger studio space which will allow me to do a series of larger urban landscapes, which will be a blend between abstract and representational. I’ve already worked out the small studies for the series, and am excited to jump in with larger brushes and more paint! 

Learn more about Patti’s workshop with us here.
Find out more about Patti on her website and give her a follow on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

Five Questions for Watercolorist Mel Stabin

One of our most popular watercolor instructors is back this year! From August 5-11, 2018, join us for a workshop with artist Mel Stabin! In advance of his workshop, Mel took a moment to share a bit more about his background and approach to art.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
MS: I’ve always enjoyed drawing from an early age. I attended fine art and advertising classes at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Edgar Whitney was my teacher at Pratt. He was my mentor and friend and he introduced me to watercolor painting. When I graduated from Pratt, I became an art director for various advertising agencies in New York City in the days before computers when you had to know how to draw. After 30 years creating major campaigns for clients, I retired from advertising as a creative director and began conducting watercolor workshops throughout the country and abroad. 

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next?
MS: I focus and complete one watercolor painting at a time. Whatever grabs my attention at the moment, I respond to. People, people in landscapes, pure landscapes, and portraits are all of interest to me. 

Q: How do you comie up with ideas to begin something new?
MS: The choice of subjects to paint is endless. Watercolor is the most free of all the mediums to paint so if I (like everyone) get in a rut, sometimes I will just throw paint around (often on wet paper) and let nature take its course. I respond to what the “out of control” watercolor is doing and then I create something out of it.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
MS: Studying the Great Masters… Cezanne, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas, Gaugan, Sargent… and going to museums, galleries, and exhibitions. 

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
MS: I take risks every time I begin a watercolor painting. It’s all about challenging yourself each time you pick up a paint brush. As I tell my students in my workshops, taking risks is essential in watercolor painting. Don’t be concerned about failing. We learn more from failure than success. Failure teaches us what not to do. Success can make one complacent. Continue to acquire knowledge and never be discouraged.

Learn more about Mel’s workshop here.
Find out more about Mel on his website.

Five Questions for Art Quilter Deborah Boschert

Another new addition to our fiber art workshops is art quilter and instructor Deborah Boschert! She’ll join us for a 5-day workshop from August 19-25, 2018 on creating art quilt collages with layers of fabric, paint, and stitches. Learn more about Deborah through our short interview with her below!

Q: When did art first enter your life?
DB: Oddly enough, my earliest memory is creating a Christmas ornament in pre-school. I must have been about four. We cut letter shapes out of construction paper, put them in some kind of plastic, then cooked them in the oven to seal the letter inside. I still have it and enjoy hanging it one the tree every year. I am delighted to say that I’m still cutting out shapes, but now I used fusible web and an iron to seal everything together.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
DB: I do! Lately, I’ve been exploring bowls. They symbolize all the things we contain in our lives. Sometimes life feels like it’s overflowing and sometimes it feels empty. My art quilt collages are created with layers of fabric, paint and stitching, but also explore the layers of experiences in my life. I try to create art with a strong visual impact from across the room, but with several small, intimate details that the viewer can only appreciate upon close viewing. This is also like life — the big events are as important as the day-to-day routines. Other personal symbols I’ve used regularly in my art include ladders, houses, trees and stones. I also love to include handwriting as a graphic element. It suggests that there is a narrative behind the work. Every artist has a story to tell, an idea to explore or a message to convey. Sometimes it’s clear and sometimes it’s a bit more undefined. 

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
DB: Pull out some supplies, grab on to a bit of inspiration and begin! Just see what happens. As you create, think about what materials, techniques and ideas you enjoy working with, and continue with those. Use your head, heart and hands! Explore ideas that interest you. Use materials and techniques you love. Find techniques that fit your skills and ability. 

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
DB: Well, what else am I going to do with all this fabric? Seriously though, I am always curious to see what I can create with different shapes, textures and fabrics. Usually it’s just a small bit of inspiration that eventually finds its way to a completed piece of art. It might be a song lyric, a scrap of fabric, or an interesting shadow.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
DB: Besides five-days exploring art quilt collage at the Hudson River Valley?! I’m just beginning to think about creating some three-dimensional work. I may explore small sculptural pieces, or maybe vessels or possibly something related to the form of books. Also, I’ve joined a new yoga studio. I’m looking forward to lots of great, sweaty yoga classes!

Learn more about Deborah’s workshop here.
Find out more about Deborah on her website and give her a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter.


Five Questions for Watercolorist Fabio Cembranelli

Another new artist for us in 2018 will be Brazillian-based Fabio Cembranelli! We’ve had so many of you recommend him as a terrific watercolor instructor and his workshop has certainly created plenty of buzz on our Facebook page! In advance of his workshop, Fabio took the time to let us know a bit more about his background and art practice.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
FC: I’m an architect by training, although I’ve never worked as one. One year before my graduation I started learning watercolor technique at the University of Architecture and Urbanism, in São Paulo (USP) just to add some colors and interest to my projects. It was an acessory to represent my projects but when I handled a brush for the first time I noticed that I wanted to use this medium to portray much more than a project illustration; it was the right tool to express my feelings. 
A few teachers at the University showed me the basic principles of watercolor, so after that I started painting and learning by myself as I wanted to develop the technique in another way (not only as an illustration resource), so I started trying and trying to paint in watercolor every evening, just as a hobby.

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time? If the former, how do you balance that? If the later, how do you decide which one to start next? 
FC: I work one at a time. My style is intuitive with an spontaneous approach to the subject, painted in a wet on wet style. I like to portray the essential of each subject: a light effect, a colorful contrast, an interesting play between hard and soft edges, foreground and background. All these things are very important to each artist but the difference in my technique is that I aim to make an intuitive painting very quickly. Timing is very important in my technique so I must start and finish in a couple of hours each piece. It’s an emotional work, I wouldn’t be able to work in many pieces at the same time, it’s an intense and unique process.

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
FC: I teach workshops around the world, so most of my inspiration comes from my travels. Each country has specific flowers, skies, greens, buildings, and mood. There are beautiful, sometimes gray skies in Scotland, for example, quite different from the golden light of Australia.There are wonderful and exotic flowers in South Africa and they are different from flowers from France or Canada. Fall in New York state is so different, not the same colors of anywhere in South America. As an artist I am exposed to all these influences. 

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
FC: That’s my job, my work, I paint everyday and I love sharing my painting experience, so teaching is something very important in my life too. My artwork is colorful and vibrant and I aim to cause some kind of reaction in each viewer. I hope they are attracted by the diversity of colors, shapes, light and shadow effects. I want them to feel a joyful sensation, how interesting and particular is my way of portraying a subject.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
FC: My painting technique is a challenge, I take a risk everyday. 
I don’t draw everything in my paintings. I want something unexpected to happen during my painting process. I need to feel that I am working in a subtle line between a good piece and a bad one. My preferred paintings are those painted intuitively. Like a challenge, I need to discover the best paths at the moment I am painting. 
In a business sense I am a bit more careful, I get a lot of invitations to teach but I think I have a “feeling” about what’s worth or not. Maybe this “feeling” came after 15 years of experience but when you are invited to teach or exhibit your work, try to check all info about who is inviting you. Take a few risks, some risks are worth to (a new country or a new workshop venue) but try to be as professional, transparent, and honest as you can. In general, I believe that good people “attract” good people, and also in the business world. 

Learn more about Fabio’s workshop here.
Find out more about Fabio on his website and give him a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube.

Five Questions for Artist KathyAnne White

Bringing us a different and much needed type of workshop this year will be multi-disciplinary artist, KathyAnne White. From July 8-14, 2018 – KathyAnne will work with students to develop their own voice as an artist in whatever they’re medium of choice (within facility parameters of course!). The workshop will include an advanced consultation of KathyAnne, so she can tailor the workshop to the participating artists. Learn more about her workshop on our website and read on to learn more about KathyAnne!

Q: When did art first enter your life?
KAW: Art first entered my life when I was seven. My grandfather was a tailor so we had several sewing machines. He gave me a 50’s style (it was the 50’s 🙂 Good Housekeeping Book on sewing. There was nothing free style about any of it, but I made my first skirt after learning some of the basics of a machine and joining seams. The skirt had a waistband and gathered bottom. 
Crocheting came later that same year in the style of a ripple afghan. Today most of my crochet work is with wire, but I also have an insane collection of my crochet ponchos I can’t seem to stop making.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
KAW: The stark trees here in the southwest have long influenced my work. Their skeletons remain growing out of rocks and off the sides of hills. Burnished and twisted roots of a bristlecone pine become a sculpture of wind and tenacity. My depiction of these elements have traveled through various mediums throughout the years. Their shape and form is evident in my sculpture.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
KAW: Find a medium you are drawn to and would like to explore. Get in touch with what moves you about it and what you might want to do with it —and then dive in. Learn about the media create, create, create. Don’t worry about anything just work it. The more you work the better you get. Express yourself with the media — make a piece and do another and another and another….. 
Develop an active art practice and don’t look back just keep going. All the artists that inspired you started somewhere. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, these can be happy accidents. Just keep working and enjoy the ride.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
KAW: Not sure there is one thing that drives me–driven seems to be my natural state. Maybe I could say curiosity and pushing my media. Making art is part of me. My art practice leads me to what is next intuitively. I explore and play with new ideas on construction or added elements constantly. If I have something that I am considering creating— I start actual construction on the ideas running around in my head. This way I know how they could influence the work. I would say I am more inspired than driven to produce art.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
KAW: Well there are two – one is related to teaching and the other to an art project. 
Coming back to teach at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops is one of the events I look forward to the most –for 2018. I love teaching there and meshing with the students who participate. The classroom is available for learners to work as much as they want—so the entire stay at HRVAW becomes a retreat. My class will be an exciting, exploratory experience as artists come together and learn to show their voice with their work in any media. Everyone is different and that is a good thing. The facility is great for this workshop. 
The second is I am starting work on a new project to expand my current body of work. There is a bit of a learning curve so most of what am doing is in the early stages. Once it gets past that I will be publishing videos on my youtube channel on my ideas and how it is working. 

Learn more about KathyAnne’s workshop here.
Find out more about KathyAnne on her website and give her a follow on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, & YouTube.