Five Questions for Pat Pauly

With works that carry a graphic, color-saturated palette using her hand printed fabric, Pat Pauly’s fiber art is seen around the world. Her textile work began in the early 1980s and was first accepted in Quilt National ’83, and has continued being shown in major exhibitions. Her fiber art’s distinction is with using a strong abstraction of natural forms and complex color combinations.

Pat joins us next summer for her ‘Glorious Prints’ workshop from July 26th-August 1st in which you’ll discover glorious ways to print on fabric using permanent textile dyes. With Pat’s techniques for applying color from scrapers to rollers to print methods, this class layers techniques on fabric that becomes one-of-a-kind. Starting with simple layers, then add on a variety of printing techniques making fabric that contains bold, graphic elements.

Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?

PP: I chanced to take a class in printmaking and after screening on paper, tried cloth. Intrigued with the result, I used it to make a quilt, then another using the printed fabric. These were successful, and I continued to make quilts after my initial printed fabric works. I made quite a few and was exhibiting them before I ever took a formal quilting class.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

PP: Time continues to be the greatest obstacle for making work. Each piece is in itself a time-consuming endeavor, and just having a block of time to work on a piece has difficulties. I try to ignore the administrative side of my job and focus on the morning for studio work.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice?

PP: Often, students worry that I will take away the ideas they generate in class. Somehow that has not interested me, but I will do some demonstrations that are quick and free flowing. I’ve learned so much from these demo pieces and the style has worked its way back into my studio practice. I hear my admonishing to “work quickly, think less” in my head, almost as if I were guiding myself instead of my students. So, that voice helps me to! My approach to my art is to encourage students to work large, to take in composition. And I bring my finished work as examples. That seems to inspire the class work. And I’ve become more at ease with my work, and more at ease in sharing techniques for how to compose and build the work.

Q: What advice has influenced you?

PP: A colleague suggested that I continue to use fabrics that are commercial as well as artist-made. Though I’ve been using exclusively artist made fabric, I do pay attention to using uncommon pairings. Composing with conflicting patterns are enjoyable.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?

PP: Who said it was organized? I do clear the deck after a large project, but that is because I need the space to square the work and add the finishing. But that said, most of my materials are stored in clear containers. If I can’t see the parts, they don’t exist.

Five Questions For David R. Smith

Joining us for the first time this year is watercolor painter David R. Smith! David will be teaching his ‘Watercolor Journey’ workshop with us from July 12-18, 2020. He began his artistic journey studying Chinese Brush Painting in the United States and China. A decade later, he was introduced to Western style watercolor painting and was amazed at how enjoyable and forgiving it was compared to working on rice paper. Ever since, he has been hooked on watercolor painting, and has become a popular artist and instructor nationally, as well as a sought-after juror.

With over 20 years of experience as a public school teacher, David is skilled at breaking down complex concepts and skills into easily learned chunks to help students find success. As much as he loves to paint, he has found sharing his watercolor passion through instruction even more gratifying.

Q: How does your personal art practice fit into your life?

DS: Presently, I have a pretty busy teaching schedule, which has it’s unique scheduling challenges, and have little time in my personal studio. Since I’m traveling a lot, I try to work on my drawing and compositional skills while on the road in a sketch book or with different iPad apps. Though I miss my studio time, I love exploring the world, meeting new people, and sharing my passion for watercolor. When I do have a block of time that I can be in the studio, I make a priority list and find time to develop my skills through study and play.

Q: What are some of your favorite tools for creating your work?

DS: One of my favorite tools is the spray bottle. I love to spatter water periodically while painting to keep things loose and to help create the unique textures and interminglings of color that are unique to watercolor. Some other unique tools that one might find helpful are; a White Pastel Pencil – great for drawing on your painting, Packing Tape – great for masking large areas of white paper, and Fritch Scrubbers – great for lifting or softening edges.

Q: How has your work evolved over time?

DS: I’ve titled my web page The Watercolor Journey as I’m still very hungry to learn and develop my skills. All my paintings that have earned international awards and recognition have been completed using a process of preserving the whites of the paper with masking and then layering glazes of colors to develop my values. I love the end result, but actually prefer a more spontaneous approach to painting. Therefore, though I still incorporate the masking approach, more of my paintings are being developed with a more direct approach one might use when painting plein air.

Q: Do you work on multiple pieces concurrently or focus on exclusively one at a time?

DS: How many paintings I work on depends on the result I’m after and how complicated the pieces are. When preparing for a workshop, I typically have one or two going at a time. I allow one painting to dry as I begin the next stage of the second. However, if I want to develop a complicated painting that might be incorporated into an international exhibition, I typically put my undivided attention into that one piece.

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop.

DS: When I plan my workshops, I think “What would I want to learn if I were a participant?” I then develop a series of paintings, along with reference photos, drawing guides, and outlines, that I feel will introduce folks to the most valuable painting approaches and techniques, given the time that we are provided.

Five Questions for Desmond O’Hagan

From June 27-July 1, 2020 we’ll be welcoming new-to-us artist and instructor Desmond O’Hagan into our studio to teach his 3-day workshop on Advancing Your Pastel and Oil Painting Techniques.

Desmond was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and was raised in the United States. He enjoys working in a variety of media, but his primary focus is pastels and oils. Constantly challenging himself has translated into a fulfilling career in fine art encompassing several one-man shows and participation in group exhibitions in the United States, Japan, China, and France. He is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America and is listed in Who’s Who in American Art. O’Hagan has won several awards at the Pastel Society of America’s annual shows in New York City. He has also won the George Innes, Jr. Memorial Award from the Salmagundi Club. At the 1999 International Association of Pastel Societies Exhibition held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, O’Hagan was awarded the Prix’d Pastel Award (Best of Show). In May of 2005, he was inducted into the IAPS “Masters Circle”.

If you’d like to learn more about Desmond, we highly recommend watching this great video profile about his work with pastels here. Additionally, we asked Desmond a few questions about his work and teaching – so read on below.

Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?

DO: As a teenager, I experimented with oils but not very seriously, even though I had been drawing from an early age. When I was in art college, I tried pastels in an illustration class and enjoyed them. After four years as a graphic designer working at an advertising agency, I returned to both media with a more focused interest.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

DO: Subtle and somewhat overlooked effects of light have always intrigued me. With some experimenting in color and technique, these effects have great potential for paintings.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

DO: One of the greatest challenges is to find unique subjects to paint. It is important to be as creative with your subject matter as you are with your painting technique.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?

DO: One advantage of teaching is you are constantly analyzing and verbalizing your painting approach and technique. If something doesn’t work as well as before, you’re immediately aware and able to adjust. I approach my personal art with an open mind to subject matter, color, technique, tools, and a mindfulness of how other artists can positively influence me. I strive for a similar openness and sharing of knowledge when teaching.

Q: What advice has influenced you?

DO: When I first started painting professionally, an older artist mentioned how important it is to be constantly painting. Everything else in the career, although necessary, came in a distant second.

Five Questions for Kim Johnson Nechtman

We’re looking forward to welcoming new-to-us watercolor instructor Kim Johnson Nechtman to the studio next year with her Portraits and Animals workshop from June 7-13.

Kim discovered her love for the creative process at a young age. On the advice of family and friends concerned that she have a ‘real career’, Kim completed her degree in psychology before pursuing her real passion – watercolor. Kim’s workshops on human and animal experiences bring the thrill of throwing, dropping, and pushing paints until the subjects emerge from the paper. She believes that every painting is a learning experience and, in the need to be patient through the experience. Her ease as an instructor encourages you to experiment and take on new challenges.

To get to know her a little better in advance of her workshop, we asked Kim a few questions about her personal art practice, approach to workshops, and creativity in general.

Q: How did you first begin creating art with the medium(s) you’ll be using in your workshop?

KJN: This has always been my preferred medium. I’ve painted with watercolor since high school, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I became serious about the medium when I started taking classes at Scottsdale Artists’ School as a pastime. But, the more I painted the better I became, the more interested I was in becoming proficient in watercolor.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

KJN: I always thought I was inspired by a particular subject matter, but my unexpected source of inspiration is light and shadow. The way they describe a subject, and how those lights and shadows define lost and found shapes; I can lose myself in them.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?

KJN: My biggest challenges are staying loose and not putting too much information in a painting. I deal with these issues by pretending I’m painting in front of an audience. Funny thing, I seem to paint more loosely and with more freedom when I’m in front of an audience than I do by myself!

Q: What advice has influenced you?

KJN: The best advice I’ve received is to paint what I want, what inspires me, whatever moves me to paint, and to just paint.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?

KJN: That’s a good one! Have people to your studio on a regular basis! This always makes me clean up my space!