Five Questions for Natalya Khorover Aikens

Five Questions for Natalya Khorover Aikens

Natalya’s art is an extension of her commitment to using recycled and repurposed materials, a lifelong advocacy. Her detailed works are nuanced and reimagined images inspired by the lines of the urban environment. A close examination of Natalya’s art reveals delightful and unexpected combinations of materials as diverse as vintage lace, plastic sheeting, and candy wrappers, layered and collaged with machine and hand stitching.

Natalya will be bringing her Nature in Plastics workshop to our studio from December 2-6 this year. In this three-day workshop, you’ll learn a creative way to craft an art quilt while also cleaning up our planet by using single-use plastics as your fabric. They come in a myriad of colors, thicknesses, patterns and even textures, and can sewn almost like fabric.

In advance of her workshop, we asked Natalya a few questions about her work and approach to teaching.

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

NKA: I was first attracted to the colors and translucency of the plastic bags years and years ago. Can’t pin an exact date on it, but I started saving them for a while before it occurred to me to start stitching them. I think I must have been looking for a specific color in my fabric stash and came across it in a plastic bag. I learned quickly that most plastic bags are very fabric like to stitch through and the multiple stitched layers are quite sturdy. I thoroughly enjoy layering the bags and getting new shades and colors due to the translucent nature of most plastics.

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

NKA: My biggest challenge is time and lack there of. How to deal with that? By taking every available minute. I am lucky to have my studio in a dedicated space in my home, so that I can leave whatever I am working on as is, and get back to it as soon as I can without having to take everything out again. I learned to work in small increments of time when my daughters were little and all I had was their nap times, and seems to have served me well. The only time I must have a long stretch of uninterrupted time for art is when I’m in the initial design stage, after that I can work in short bursts since I already know where I am headed.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice?

NKA: As I think most teachers will tell you, we learn as much from our students as they do from us. I always feel inspired by my students and that gives me an extra boost of energy in my studio.

My personal approach to art is called “go with the flow”. I let my artistic intuition lead me through the work; lack of certain materials teaches me to be inventive; time constraints lead to reevaluation and streamlining of the process or the design. The same approach helps in teaching – I am able to adapt to my students needs, knowledge levels and the time constraints of the workshop, and we figure out the best way to get the most out of each class.

Q: What advice has influenced you?

NKA: “The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more. And this routine is available to everyone…. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s all in a nutshell“. ~Twyla Tharp (The Creative Habit)

Don’t wait for inspiration, it comes while working“. ~Henri Matisse

It is absurd to look for perfection“. ~Camille Pissarro

When you’re terrified, embarrassed, don’t wanna put it down on paper, I’ve found through the years, usually you’re on to something good“. ~Erica Jong

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

NKA: A thorough cleaning after each major project is completed!

Five Questions for Philippa Naylor

Five Questions for Philippa Naylor

Born in Yorkshire, England, Philippa discovered a love of sewing and knitting as a child. A second-hand sewing machine for her thirteenth birthday enabled her to progress from making dolls clothes to full sized garments for herself, family and friends. After training to be a clothing designer she worked in industry for five years designing lingerie for Courtaulds Clothing. After this she moved to Dhahran Saudi Arabia with her husband Peter, who at the time was working as an English language teacher. Here she set up a business making bespoke wedding and evening dresses, and had two sons Daniel and Benjamin. A chance meeting, in Saudi Arabia, in 1996 led to a short quilting course, after which clothing became less interesting and quilting an all-consuming passion.

Philippa joins us for the first time from November 1-7, 2020 to teach her Machine Quilting Masterclass in our heated studio space. In advance of her workshop we asked her a few questions about her work!

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

PN: Oooh tricky! As much as I can which might be every day and might be weeks before I can get to it due to teaching/filming my online classes/looking after family and so much more…

Q: Has your work evolved over time?

PN: Definitely. I never stop learning and I think i get better technically and in design terms as well. After all these years I’m still totally enthused and always itching to sew and create.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist?

PN: Don’t see any of this as a risk. See it all as an adventure and journey.

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

PN: One piece at a time. If I have a talent it is persistence. Deciding on a new piece is not hard. Finding the time is hard.

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

PN: A mix. We will begin with specific tasks to build skills ans explore possibilities. The students will then take what they have learnt and develop the ideas ans techniques in any way they wish with me on hand to assist and offer technical and design led possibilities.

Five Questions for Judy Coates Perez

Five Questions for Judy Coates Perez

Join Judy Coates Perez from October 18-24 in her five-day workshop to print your own personal fabric line, then use it to make an improvisationally pieced modern quilt top! Explore a multitude of ways to apply color to fabric using acrylics inks with broad brush strokes, salt, pleating and shibori techniques. Learn the art of hand printing fabric and applying pattern.

Judy is an International award-winning mixed-media textile artist and author, who travels globally to teach painting and mixed-media techniques and lecture about her creative process and sources of inspiration. She received my BFA in graphic design from The Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design, but found her true passion when she began working with textiles.

In advance of her workshop, we asked Judy a few questions about her work and approach to teaching workshops.

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

JCP: About 10 years ago, I began experimenting on fabric with acrylic inks, because I was curious about how they would behave when used on fabric given they are very thin and runny, and are also an acrylic based paint. Acrylic inks are generally used for calligraphy and illustration on paper and other porous media, but I saw immense potential in using a paint medium that could possibly behave like a dye, but without the toxicity or chemistry involved, or harm for the environment that dyeing can cause when living in an area prone to drought, because dyeing fabric uses a lot of water in the rinsing and washing out stages.

I love the instant gratification of acrylic inks, there’s no batching, rinsing or washing out needed. Once the fabric is dry, it’s permanent.

I also found that acrylic inks work well with stamps, and are fantastic when used in combination with Japanese shibori resist techniques for creating gorgeous pattern and texture.

I like to use thermofax screens to print designs on fabric in my Tea & Ephemera and Prayer Flags class, so it was only a matter of time before I started to explore printing on the textured fabrics I was making with acrylic inks. I love the ability to use a variety techniques to create unique fabrics filled with pattern and texture that I can use in patchwork and applique. There’s endless possibility to create beautiful fabrics in such an easy way.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?

JCP: I don’t think I have any unexpected source of inspiration, I see potential all around me and would have hard time qualifying anything as ‘unexpected’, but there are probably some people who would be surprised by some of the things I’ve used in my work over the years.

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

JCP: Time. There’s never enough time. Because I am financially self supporting with my art and teaching there is always business related tasks that need to be done that take away precious time from creating.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice?

JCP: I think my art practice has had far more impact on my teaching than the other way around. My work is always evolving and changing, and when I go off in a new direction I get very excited about it and want to share it with my students. My classes are generally technique driven with exploration highly encouraged, my goal is for students to create unique work with their own voice and vision.

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

JCP: Organized? HA HA Ha ha ha ha ha ha….

Five Questions For Seth Apter

Five Questions For Seth Apter

We’re thrilled to have New York City based artist Seth Apter join us this year for a totally new kind of workshop for our studio! In Bento Box you will be make a series of small-sized projects, each of which will nest inside its own container – for example, tins, boxes, bags, etc. Each of these will in turn be placed and housed inside one larger box, creating a very special treasure chest. In the process of creating your unique artwork, techniques you will learn will involve acrylic painting, collage, book binding, hand stitching, mark making, surface design and alteration, heat embossing, mixed media layering, stamping, assemblage, and more.

Seth is a mixed media artist, instructor, author and designer from New York City. His artwork has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions and can be found in numerous books and national magazines. Seth has published two books, The Pulse of Mixed Media and The Mixed-Media Artist, and eight mixed-media workshop videos with North Light Media. He is an instructor at Pratt Institute in NYC and his live workshops have been held throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the UK. Seth is also a product designer, with multiple art lines with Impression Obsession, StencilGirl Products, PaperArtsy, and Emerald Creek Craft Supplies.

To get to know Seth a bit more, we asked him a few questions about his approach to art and teaching.

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

SA: The longer I have been involved in the art world, the more I realize that my art practice is really not separate from my life in general. I work on some aspect of art everyday – sometimes creating new work, sometimes focusing on the business end, and (very often) spending time on social media. Most often, the different aspects of my work collide and they are all happening at the same time.

Q: How has your work evolved over time?

SA: My work has become increasingly complex as I have become more comfortable with pushing myself further and taking creative risks. Initially I focused mostly on 2-dimensional works on paper with a relatively, small set of supplies. As time has passed, I have stretched myself further in terms of supplies, art domains, and techniques. My work has become more and more layered, textured, and dimensional whether working with paint, art mediums, paper, fiber, assemblage or found objects.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist?

SA: While becoming a full-time artist was a plan that unfolded for me slowly, over time, making that choice was certainly a risk for me. Carving out a living as an artist while living in New York City is most certainly a challenge. Leaving the comfort and stability of my previous career as a Psychologist was also a huge move for me. But my experience in life has always been that the times when I have chosen the risk and taken a leap are the times that are the most meaningful, memorable and enjoyable.

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

SA: I always work on multiple pieces at the same time. For me, that has been the key to never having experienced the dreaded artist block. I rarely finish a single artwork in one setting, so the ability to step away while I work on another piece fits well into my approach. I also find that the time away gives me the opportunity to see the work I am doing with new eyes and a fresh direction.

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

SA: The workshop I am teaching, Bento Box, is a balanced blend of structure and exploration. Part of each day will will revolve around focused and detailed demonstrations and instructions. Other periods will allow each participant to get into the zone without interruption – something I think is very important for a creative individual. A significant amount of one-to-one creative mentoring will also be included during which time direct feedback will be provided.

What’s New With Elizabeth St Hilaire?

What’s New With Elizabeth St Hilaire?

We’re pleased to have Elizabeth St Hilare back in 2020 with a brand new workshop! From September 13-19 – she’ll be teaching Fabulous Florals! In advance of the workshop we checked in with Elizabeth to see what’s new with her!

Meticulously torn bits of hand-painted papers, delicately put together, form the exceptionally vibrant collages created by Artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire. Born and raised in New England, Elizabeth has lived in Central Florida for the past 20+ years. She holds a B.F.A. in Advertising Design from Syracuse University, which prepared her for a dual identity as both communication designer and a painter–these days she’s a full-time fine artist who’s only graphic design client is herself.Teaching and sharing her collage technique through an intense Paper Paintings workshops has become a passion.

Q: Tell us what’s new in your personal art practice!

ES: Recently I have moved from FL to CA where I will be living in Sacramento, Northern California. I have been accepted into the Journey of Hope show there, which focuses on mental health awareness. I was paired with a writer in order to create a piece of visual art which embodied the essay I was provided with on the topic. I took some of the skills I explored in a recent on-line workshop with Ardith Goodwin and applied them to my piece, a portrait, which was a new direction for me. I am very much looking forward to the opening of this show in October at the Elk Grove Fine Arts Center. The show will also open at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center and then ultimately at the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento.

Q: What will be new or different about your workshop this year?

ES: This year I will be teaching my all-new workshop Fabulous Florals! Which involves drawing from life and collaging flowers. This is the first year I am teaching this workshop and it has been a great success both on-line and in Tuscany, Italy.

What’s New With Fiber Artist Lyric Montgomery Kinard?

What’s New With Fiber Artist Lyric Montgomery Kinard?

Fiber artist Lyric Montgomery Kinard joined us for the first time in 2018 and we’re thrilled to have her back for a 5-day workshop from August 2-8, 2020. This year’s workshop will focus on how to find your voice!

Lyric encourages deep personal exploration and seeks to help you gain the skills to confidently work within your own unique vision. She can help you learn to speak the visual language as only you can.

Lyric is an award winning artist with a passion for sparking the creativity that she knows each of her students posses. With playful support and gentle encouragement she will take you through your first steps on a new path, seeing the world through the eyes of an artist. As an artist, author, and educator she transforms cloth into art in her studio and timid spirits into confident creatives in the classroom.

Q: Tell us what’s new in your personal art practice!

LMK: 2019 kept me busy working on a solo show called Stone, Water, Time that exhibited for two months at the Cary Art Center. It was a collaborative effort with poet, Maura High, exploring the history and geometry of historic mill wheels in North Carolina. 20 artworks and 9 poems and two months of events including gallery walks and poetry readings.

All this along with inspiring travel around the US and to both New Zealand and South Africa to teach and share my love of the visual language of art.
2020 will be a time of regrouping, doing a little less teaching travel and spending more time developing new online courses and working on a new book on Abstract Design.

Q: What will be new or different about your workshop this year?

LMK: Every time I teach it is new since my courses are always student driven. The chance to spend extended time with a small group of students will allow us to delve deeply into each person’s own artistic explorations. I help my students to better understand and articulate their own unique visual language. We work on surface design techniques but mostly we learn the creative analysis skills that help artists compose their work and problem solve during the design process.

Five Questions for Pat Pauly

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

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

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

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!

What’s New with Quilt Artist Paula Nadelstern

What’s New with Quilt Artist Paula Nadelstern

Bronx-based quilt artist Paula Nadelstern returns to our studio in 2020 with her Kaleidoscopes and Quilts workshop from April 19th-25th. As part of our Instructor Interview series for next year, we asked Paula to let us know what’s new in her world!

Q: Tell us what’s new in your personal art practice!

PN: In 2018, I received a Bronx Recognizes Its Own award and used the funds to purchase a Bernina 750 so I could finally begin the journey toward successfully machine piecing. Wish me luck.

I’ve got three new collections premiering at 2019 Quilt Market: Where in the World, Artful Snowflake and an enlarged group of Marbellas. I’ve been enjoying creating simple quilts with these complex fabrics, inspired by the pattern bumping into pattern lessons learned making KALEIDOSCOPIC XLI: The Prague Spanish Synagogue Ceiling. These collections will be available in the studio.

In December, I’ll start KALEIDOSCOPIC XLIII exploring a new-to-me mirror system in a lovely Japanese kaleidoscope in my collection. Perhaps I’ll be able to share some new design directions by the class.

Tentatively called KALEIDOSCOPIC XLII: Wheelhouse Rock, it was made over two summers for my professional guild’s exhibition of each member’s signsture style called 40×40@40.

Q: What will be new or different about your workshop this year?

PN: We’ll begin by focusing on technique, learning to detangle angles. This will lead to unique compositions and lay-outs, If students who have been in class before (or even those who haven’t) want to contact me in advance, we can talk about the direction you’d like to take this year.

What’s New with Art Quilter David Taylor

What’s New with Art Quilter David Taylor

This year we’ve asked some of our returning instructors to let us know what’s new with them! Are they conducting new workshops? Are they working on a brand new collection in their personal creative practice? First up is art quilter David Taylor, who had some very exciting news to share with us!

Q: Tell us what’s new in your personal art practice!

DT: I am thrilled to be working on my next major exhibit in Colorado for 2020 – a retrospective of my 20 years of quilt making. As I sell all of my works, there is a massive coordination effort to bring the quilts together. All of my time off the road teaching is concentrated on the exhibit. I am working with two venues – the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden and the Steamboat Art Museum in my ‘hometown’ of Steamboat Springs. The first exhibit space will open in January at RMQM and run concurrent with the museum’s biannual mens exhibit. My portion with then be packed up and transferred up to Steamboat in May and hang through Labor Day.

I am also back in the studio working on some new pieces that are confidential and will make their public debuts in 2020. “Sorry, no peeking.”

Q: What will be new or different about your workshop this year?

DT: There’s an old adage: do one thing and do it well. My workshop has not changed during my decade of teaching. I must be doing something right, as roughly half of my students during each session are repeats. As each class participant is working on their own unique image, every class presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to explore fabric.

David will be teaching his Artistry Through Applique workshop with us from May 10-16, 2020 and yes, we still have spots available! You can learn more here.

Five Questions for Kimberly Kelly Santini

Five Questions for Kimberly Kelly Santini

We’re pleased to be kicking off our 2020 Instructor Interview series with new-to-us artist Kimberly Kelly Santini. Kimberly is an acrylic painter internationally renowned for her color sensibilities, decades of commitment to daily painting, and expressive brushwork. She has over 1000 pet portraits in private collections around the world, created imagery for the American Kennel Club, and was the official artist of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, among other honors.

Kimberly’s Fresh Color & Brushwork workshop will run from March 15-21, 2020 and we still have spots available! Learn more about Kimberly’s workshop here.

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

KKS: I’ve been a daily painter since 2006, and try to actively create at least 5 days a week. I am also doing marketing/social media/computer tasks every single day, so I guess it’s safe to say that my life evolves and unfolds around creating. Thankfully, technology makes it easier to take tasks on the road, so I’m not restricted to having to work from the studio exclusively, but I am working pretty much every day.

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

KKS: I absolutely love my acrylic paints, and have gotten a bit obsessed with pushing their properties with a variety of mediums and tools. I also love to experiment and try new things out – I’m not afraid to mix them with my paint processes and see what happens. Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying the addition of water soluble graphite to my paintings – it allows me to build up lines in a totally unique way.

Q: How has your work evolved over time?

KKS: I’ve evolved from a photo realist (as a teenager), to color field and graphic centric imagery (college), tried my hand at installations (post-graduate), and returned to representational painting. In 2000 I began painting pet portraits with expressive color; these paintings grew looser and embraced gestural mark making as the years progressed. Within the past few years, I explored still life, florals, figurative and symbolic work, as I found my way to a current series of abstractions that are about dreams and that point where lucidity ends and our imagination begins to gel.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist?

KKS: Most likely my biggest risk was committing to a daily painting practice in 2006. At that time I had three children at home (5, 8 and 11) and my husband worked long hours 6 days a week. Learning to juggle family needs while also preserving my own creation time was a big challenge. Ultimately, it served me in so many ways. I learned that on those days when I simply couldn’t make it to the easel, it was ok to fail (and my kids saw that happen, and learned from it too); what mattered was my desire to succeed and the honest effort put into the practice. The daily hours spent at my easel added up over the years, and I’ve gotten my 10,000 miles in so to speak – I’ve greatly improved my drawing skills, learned my paints’ properties inside and out, created well over 2300 paintings (not all of them good, mind you, but I showed up!), and built a community around my business. Additionally, from a business standpoint, the daily painting practice gave me a platform from which to blog regularly and build a social media presence which serves me well to this day. And with respect to life, I demonstrated by example to my kids/their friends the value of embracing a creative lifestyle and what that returns to one’s self and one’s community.

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

KKS: My workshops revolve around a presentation of an idea, perhaps a quick demo, followed by an exercise. Exercises are grouped around a particular concept – like loosening your brushwork – so that the learning happens in modules. While students are creating, I circulate, continue to talk, provide feedback and answer questions. We have many show and tells, where students share their exercise paintings or what they were surprised to learn. I also like to do one longer demonstration painting so that participants have a visual of the entire process, start to finish. The final day or a large chunk of the final day is focused on students’ pursuing their own piece while utilizing the methods and approaches learned. My goal is to allow them active time to practice what they have learned on their own subject/style while they still have easy access to me in the classroom.

Three Questions for Susan Brubaker Knapp

Three Questions for Susan Brubaker Knapp
Returning in 2019 is fiber artist, author, and teacher Susan Brubaker Knapp. In 2014, she became the host of “Quilting Arts TV,” which is shown on more than 400 public television stations across the U.S. She loves traditional hand quilting and needle-turn appliqué, but embraces innovative machine techniques in her art quilts. This year, Susan will be teaching how to recreate your original photos as pieces of fiber art in her 5-day workshop from November 10-16, 2019.
Q: How does your personal art practice fit into your life? Do you work on it every day? Block off certain time periods for it? 
SBK: I juggle a lot of things, so I work when I can. Sometimes that is 15 minutes a day, and sometimes it is all day. I have periods where I am very productive, and periods where I am not. When my children were very little, I learned to grab time where I could. It’s a mistake to think that you need big blocks of time to accomplish things. Those 15-minute blocks add up. My studio is a small-ish room in our house that used to be a guest bedroom, so I don’t waste any time getting to my workspace, and I can (and do!) work in the middle of the night, in my pajamas.
Q: How do you approach critiques in your workshops?
SBK: I don’t do formal critiques during my workshops, unless students request them. I do provide constant feedback during class, though. Between demonstrations, I circulate through the classroom and talk with every student, making observations, offering constructive criticism, and helping guide the student to realizations about her or his work. I don’t believe it is my role to teach my students how to make work that looks like mine. I want their voice to shine through. So I try to help students figure out what they like or don’t like about their work, and either build on that or change it. 
I’m not a “it’s my way or the highway” kind of teacher. I’ve taken classes from a few of those kinds of teachers, and I didn’t like it. I want my students to try new things, and to learn, but I also want them to have fun and feel a sense of joy as they work.

Q: How has your work evolved over time? 

SBK: I’ve refined my processes and techniques since I started making art quilts, about 2006. I focus now mostly on wholecloth painting and fusible applique. I do sometimes dabble in other techniques, usually on smaller pieces, because I think it is good to experiment and wander off the path sometimes. My work is nearly realistic, and I think it will stay that way. 

Learn more about Susan’s workshop on our website.

Three Questions for Michael Solovyev

Three Questions for Michael Solovyev

Another new-to-us instructor for 2019 is Montreal-based Michael Solovyev. Joy and reverence are evident in everything he produces, perhaps especially in the deep play of light and shadow. He experiments continuously, challenging himself with a wide range of styles, techniques and media. Michael’s 5-day workshop will run from June 30-July 6, 2019 and still has spots available!

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

MS: I started paint by watercolor when I was five years old. What is interesting, my first watercolor is safe!!

Q: Tell us about your process from idea to finished piece.

MS: I focus on the light. For me, the main thing is to catch the light, not the objects. Building the right balance is the main task. Therefore, in watercolor, I always move from light areas, gradually picking up the tone. And, of course, in no case can you lose transparency!

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

MS: I am very flexible in teaching. Depending on the level of students, I will select exactly those exercises that will help them. I do my best to make my workshops as close as possible to private lessons. Each student receives a large amount of personal attention and help.

Learn more about Michael’s workshop on our website.

Three Questions for Maria Shell

Three Questions for Maria Shell

Joining us for the first time this year is Alaska-based fiber artist Maria Shell. Maria’s work is grounded in the tradition and craft of American quilt making. She strives to take the classical components of a traditional bed quilt and manipulate them with the hope of creating surprising combinations of pattern, repetition, and color for the viewer. In her October 20-26, 2019 workshop you’ll use solid colored quilters cottons and learn how to stitch an assortment of pieced prints including stripes, chevrons, polka dots, herringbones, circles and curves.

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

MS: I started sewing when I was four, but never thought of it as a career path. When we moved to Valdez, Alaska in 2000. I took my first quilt class, and it really was this sort of explosive experience for me–I could not stop making quilts. Almost 20 years later and I am still piecing quilts. I wake up every day thankful I have found my passion and that I actually get to work as a professional quilt maker, teacher, and writer. 

Q: Tell us about your process from idea to finished piece.

MS: I like to work on several pieces at once. I think of myself as bit maker. I create dozens of “bits”–which are really small pieced units that I then put on my design wall and move around. I often sketch out my ideas with black ink on paper. I know that if I can get a good graphic image on paper that I can often translate that design to a colorful pieced composition. I have spent a lot time exploring traditional American patchwork blocks as the foundation/structure for my compositions. Once the composition is completed, I quilt it on my long arm quilting machine. 

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

MS: I like to do a formal lecture at the beginning of each day which usually includes technical information and an assignment as well as ideas about being an artist and cultivating your voice. From there, I move around the room visiting with each student one on one. My hope is to meet each student where they are in their path and empower them to move forward. At the end of the week, we will do a sharing as well as individual private student lead meetings where the student is free to ask for help with whatever matters to them most–a critique, a discussion about showing work, how to create a schedule to get in the studio everyday are all common topics–whatever they would like to talk about is what we discuss. My hope is always to meet the student where they are and move forward together on a positive creative journey. 

Learn more about Maria’s workshop on our website.

Three Questions for Denise Labadie

Three Questions for Denise Labadie

Have you ever found yourself unable to find just the right fabric or materials for your creations? Take some inspiration from one of our 2019 fiber art workshop instructors, Denise Labadie, and create your own! Denise is constantly asked about the “stone”, landscape, and sky fabrics she uses in her quilts. There just isn’t much commercial fabric with the types of colors, textures, depth, and complexity that many quilters are looking for. So during Denise’s August 25-31 workshop, participants will create their own!

Q: How does your personal art practice fit into your life? Do you work on it every day? Block off certain time periods for it?

DL: I love sewing, and art quilting. I love working with fabric, even if just to hold it. My art is not separate from the rest of my life; it is fully complementary. I work on it when I can – which is usually daily, though not always – and often until late at night (or into the early morning), but it is not “work” per se. I love just being in my studio, and with my fabric. While my art Is a high priority in my life, I thus do not force myself into a highly structured, rigid work schedule. For me, creativity is not enhanced by a fixed and imposed work environment, but by a dedicated but balanced work ethic.

Q: How do you approach critiques in your workshops?

DL: My workshops are about quilt composition and construction “best practices”. I basically try to teach the “what, why, when, and how” of both new and (oftentimes repurposed) traditional fiber art and quilting techniques. My workshops are highly interactive, are very hands-on, and are focused more on the development of participant creativity, confidence, and experiential exploration and learning than on rigid, one-size-fits-all lesson plans or patterns. 

I therefore view critiques as, first of all, one-on-one opportunities to promote the above learning and creativity objectives – perhaps suggesting alternative approaches or techniques, but always while affirmatively and positively empowering the student, not using critiques to get them to do things the “right” way or, worse, “my” way (this is one of the key benefits of not teaching via the use of patterns or rigid “rules” that must be exactly copied). And, to me, “critique” does not mean “criticism”; it instead should represent positive and empowering feedback. I will also promote group feedback depending on my feeling about the group as a whole, i.e., that they have shown and demonstrated the above type of thoughtful co-participant caring and creative support. 

Q: How has your work evolved over time? 

DL: I no longer have to explicitly “think” about techniques; they are now just friends that I intuitively call on as the need arises. I am now – compared to earlier in my career – absolutely comfortable with the “what, why, when, and how” (as noted above) of quilt construction. I have come to similarly trust my design sense: a native and experienced-based understanding of what will likely, and not likely, work. I am also far more comfortable – based on lots of hard work, multiple complementary art classes, feedback from my treasured (multidiscipline) art critique group, and the like – with the many integrated nuances of composition, color, shadowing, and perspective (all of which are central to my “style – see next question). 

Because of the above, I am a much better problem-solver than earlier in my career, so with every new quilt I now purposefully take on compositions that I would never have previously attempted, applying my skills to the solving of ever more complex compositional and/or construction challenges.

Learn more about Denise’s workshop on our website.

Three Questions for Debora Stewart

This week we’re getting to know more about new-to-us instructor Debora Stewart and her work in abstract pastels & mixed media! Debora is the author of the best-selling Northlight book, Abstract Art Painting: Expressions in Mixed Media and a series of Northlight videos on abstract painting. She teaches workshops throughout the United States and has juried national competitions in pastel. Debora is a Master Pastelist with the Pastel Society of America and in the Master’s Circle of the International Association of Pastel Societies.

Debora will be joining us from July 7-13, 2019 for a 5-day workshop on Creating Expressive Abstracts in Soft Pastel.

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

DS: I like to use a mixed media approach to my soft pastel paintings. I really like to develop an abstract structure on which to develop the pastel painting. This underlying structure can be developed from a variety of materials including black gesso, fluid acrylics, inks, water soluble graphite and charcoal and other various mark making materials. I also build a textured surface with clear gesso. My favorite pastels are Unison and Girault but I use many others. One can never have too many pastels! 

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

DS: I do have a structure that I follow. Each day has a different focus from creating abstract compositions, color theory, use of underpainting and ground, developing a series, finding your style and evaluating your work. Each day includes power point discussion on the days objectives, short demonstrations of techniques, exercises to help artists learn techniques, individual working time to explore the technique and ending in individual and group processing of the day. Each day builds on the day before so that by the end of the workshop artists will have a thorough understanding of how to proceed on their own. 

Q: What influences your work? 

DS: Nature influences my work. Most of my work is a reaction to time spent in nature. Sometimes you can see the evidence of more observational drawings I have created from gardens. Other times my work is memory based from a specific place. The materials also influence my work. I love the act of drawing and the physicality of making marks on paper. I really try to absorb time spent quietly in nature and allow it to come out later on paper or canvas. 

Learn more about Debora’s workshop on our website.

Three Questions For Dani Ives

We’re thrilled to be expanding our line up of fiber art workshops into a new art form next year with Dani Ives teaching us how to paint with wool! In her workshop participants will explore the diversity of using wool fibers as a “painting” medium by diving into the world of two-dimensional needle felting.

Dani is a self-taught fiber artist and founder of Good Natured Art. Her enthusiasm for the natural world from an early age took her on a university and career path based in biology and conservation education, after which Dani worked as an educator at a zoo for ten years.  Over the course of a few years, Dani developed her distinct style of needle felting that she calls “painting with wool.”  With this style, instead of using paint and a brush, she uses wool fibers and a felting needle to create the effects of layering color, creating texture and depth.

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

DI: I hope my students come with a few ideas that they’d like to conquer. I find the best way to learn my style of needle felting is with a bit of guidance on technique and then some trial and error. There’s a bit of a learning curve for those that have never needle felted this way before, but I have all the tips and tricks ready to share. We will also have a few exercises to really practice a few techniques that will come in handy on most future projects. 

Q: How do you work through or get over the occasional creative block?

DI: Luckily, I haven’t encountered a creative block, but I think there’s a few reasons for that. I keep a running list of commissions, but I’m also constantly working on other projects. I think jumping back and forth between the two types of work helps to keep my mind from going blank on what to do next. I also keep a sketchbook that I work in every day. Often, these sketches/paintings have nothing to do with my current fiber art, and they’re a way for me to explore new mediums and subjects. Often, some of those pages end up influencing a fiber art piece in the future. Lastly, I go outside. My best ideas have come to me while I’m on a trail in the middle of the woods. I spend as much time as I can hiking and exploring. 

Q: What influences your work? 

DI: My science background tends to have the most impact on the work that I do. I’ve only been comfortably calling myself an artist for the past three years. Before that, I worked as a conservation educator at a zoo, and studied biology, chemistry and conservation education. I spent so much time learning about and observing animals and the natural world, so tending to details in my art is second nature and enjoyable. With that said, lately I’ve been challenging myself to use color rather than detail to portray subjects. It’s been difficult to let go of intricacy, but I’m having a great time learning and developing new processes and skills. 

Three Questions for Koo Schadler

Next year’s workshop line up includes the return of Koo Schadler and egg tempera painting to our studio. Old as the Egyptians and made most famous during the Renaissance, egg tempera painting is becoming increasingly popular with artists today. Tempera has unsurpassed luminosity, dozens of glazes can be applied in a day, and yet the medium also allows for meticulous linear details.

Koo is a Master painter of The Copley Society of Boston. She is a contributing editor at The Artist’s Magazine and a board member of the Society of Tempera Painters. Koo teaches painting and design workshops around the US and abroad. In advance of her workshop, she took a moment to share a bit more about her life behind the scenes as a working artist.

Q: How do you approach critiques in your workshops?

KS: My goal is twofold: to offer a specific suggestion as to how a work can be improved, and to make a genuine affirming comment. Both beginners and very good painters need a mix of encouragement and critique in order to improve. An experienced instructor who really looks at any artist’s work can nearly always see something being done well and an area that needs improvement. 

Q: How has your work evolved over time?

KS: Like most full time painters, I just keep trying with all my effort to improve. And I think my work has, very gradually, gotten stronger – more organized visually and with better technique. I’ve become less interested in the “story” within a work of art, more interested in just making the best possible visual experience I’m capable of – i.e. a beautiful work of art. That is my ultimate goal. 

Another change is that I’m focusing increasingly on metalpoint drawings, often combined with other mediums (such as metalpoint colored with egg tempera). I love old fashioned ways of working and am always working to expand my knowledge and experience of traditional mediums, to help bring them into current usage. 

Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to artists looking to sell their work?

KS: Be very professional in every respect: Paint the absolutely best work you are capable of, photograph it well, present and market it professionally, follow through on your commitments. At the same time, stay true to yourself; what you love to paint, how you love to paint. Love is what keeps you an artist.

Three Questions for Sue Stone

Leading off our series of short interviews with new-to-us fiber art instructors is UK based textile artist Sue Stone! Sue studied Fashion at St Martins School of Art and then Embroidery at Goldsmiths College in London. She is current chair and exhibiting member of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. She’s best known for textural, figurative compositions that often feature a fish.

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

SS: I grew up surrounded by cloth and making. My mother was a talented tailor and I started designing clothes when I was very young. Fashion/ textiles was a natural specialism when I went to art school. I studied embroidery and graduated with a degree in Textiles/ Embroidery from Goldsmiths College, London in the 1970s. I had a long career as a clothing designer and manufacturer after leaving college but always longed to start stitching again. I returned to embroidery in 2002 and I’ve been making figurative embroidery since 2006. My recent work is mainly hand stitch sometimes with the addition of machine stitch or paint.

Q: How do you work through or get over the occasional creative block?

SS: All of my work is based on ideas and I am an avid collector of the seen, the heard and the experienced. My thoughts and observations are written in a notebook or a virtual notebook like Evernote on the computer. If I get a block I can delve into a myriad of ideas I have already collected to help me get going again. I use sampling to clear space in my mind to be able to think. The samples are never just samples. The samples spark ideas and explore the nature of marks left on the surface of the fabric by different threads, paints or crayons. They provide an important means of problem solving and a springboard from which to move forward.

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

SS: The workshop will start with a short digital presentation to introduce students to different ways to tell their story. The focus of the story can be a single figure or a group of figures. I will share the simple processes I use myself to make my work. The workshop itself will be fairly free form with individual guidance throughout. Students will be able to ask questions at any point. It’s very important to me that students produce their own work not a facsimile of mine. Students will have the opportunity to use their own drawings or photographs and ideas as a starting point so they can make their own choices. In short I like students to think for themselves but never be afraid to ask for help when they need it. 

Learn more about Sue’s Every Picture Tells A Story workshop.

Three Questions for Alain Picard

Joining us for the first time next season will be Alain J. Picard, an award-winning artist, instructor, author and speaker. His acclaimed pastel and oil paintings have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe, China and the UK. Alain travels internationally as an art instructor, demonstrator, speaker and artistic advocate for the vulnerable.

In advance of his March 31-April 6 workshop on Painterly Landscapes & Portraits, Alain took a moment to fill us in a bit more on his personal practice and approach to his workshops.

Q: How does your personal art practice fit into your life? Do you work on it every day? Block off certain time periods for it? 

AP: I’ve heard it said that the good is the enemy of the best. With many competing responsibilities, all of which are good, it’s crucial to design a schedule with studio time that is protected and nurtured. I teach, lead, write, speak, husband, father, and create. With all these roles, a very disciplined approach to studio time is vital. Currently, I have studio painting hours protected for every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then teaching and leadership roles are allocated as well throughout the week. This plan gets assessed for each new season to ensure there’s time to prioritize the best. I spent 12 years painting every day and logging my 10,000 hours of painting time before life began to get increasingly complex. We all have competing priorities and challenges, and studio time gets swallowed up by the tyranny of the urgent if we don’t have a clear plan of action. As artists, art-making is an essential priority which must be protected to foster growth. Read Greg McKeown’s book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” for an outstanding wake up call on how to pursue less and gain more. 

Q: How do you approach critiques in your workshops?

AP: I like call critiques a “constructive review and celebration” of our work together. I think critiques are vital to the growth of an artist as a feedback mechanism to assess progress, but they are also a positive affirmation tool to verbally reward a student for stretching into new territory and leaving their comfort zone. Yes, we evaluate what works and where opportunities for improvement lie. But we also look at some perceived “failures” and celebrate them as new departures into unknown territory. We must “fall forward” to reach a new level. So I like to get the whole class excited about growing together, and being comfortable with making mistakes along the way to new breakthroughs in technique. Critiques in my workshop are a wonderful time of learning and celebrating together. We have fun, and look for insights into opportunities for growth. I believe critiques when handled well can be quite revelatory for an artist in perceiving the way forward in their work. 

Q: How has your work evolved over time?

AP: I have developed from being more focused on realistic portrait and figurative work early in my professional career to now enjoying the landscape, and incorporating a colorist approach into all my work. My style has evolved to allow a more painterly and impressionistic application of marks. While I still love portrait and figurative subjects, I am interested in exploring themes of culture and identity in my figurative work, and utilizing techniques that will best tell the story of each subject, whether loose or more refined. I have a love affair with mark making in pastel, and continue to explore composition and color as new frontiers in my landscape and figurative work. 

Three Questions For Kellee Wynne Conrad

We’re excited to be launching our 2019 Instructor Interview series with new-to-us artist & instructor, Kellee Wynne Conrad!

Now settled in Maryland with her husband and three boys, Kellee has dedicated herself to the creative process, revealing complex layers of paint and emotion in her work. 2017 brought the birth of the Color Crush Creative, a thriving, internationally followed online community of color loving artists. It is through this program that Kellee has been able to connect with the hearts and souls of artists around the world, discovering that teaching her love of color and paint is her true calling.

Q: Tell us a bit about how you plan to conduct your workshop. Will it be more structured with specific tasks for students or will be it be more free form with students exploring their own work with your guidance?

KWC: I believe that a workshop should be a good balance between learning new techniques and foundation principles while still having the opportunity to grow and explore as an individual. I build on these principles each day with lessons and demos and then turn over the time to the student to explore what excites them the most. If I haven’t got you asking “What if?” in total excitement by the end of class then I know I didn’t work hard enough to tap into your curious nature. Art is supposed to be a fun exploration and I am always excited to go on that journey with my students because we learn so much together.

Q: How do you work through or get over the occasional creative block?

KWC: Artists block is a real thing. I’ve learned to embrace it and accept that it happens rather than fight through it and feel frustrated. When I feel blocked, it’s usually because I’ve been neglecting other parts of my life and have outside influences that I’ve been ignoring. I give myself grace and take some time off from the expectations of making art. This usually means that I end up doing something equally creative but different, like gardening, reading, going to museums, playing with my family more or cleaning out the closets. It doesn’t take long before I find myself sparked by a new ideas and craving my paints again.

Q: What influences your work?

KWC: Everything. I really try to observe the world and the elements and express my relationship to that experience in marks, color and motion. At the moment I am really taking in the fall colors and natural elements and I feel like a child observing autumn for the first time, but in another month I’ll be traveling and I am sure the old architecture of Europe and layers of history will capture my heart. By spring there will be something about the burst of color as everything grows that will keep me craving more flowers and then in time the sky will begin to fascinate me again and I will have no choice but to look and see and feel and figure out how to capture all of that as art….but it could just as well be the stars or an old book or a conversation about time and mystery. I just try to keep my eyes open with great wonder and see what flows through me.

Five Questions For Fiber Artist Ana Buzzalino

Joining us for the first time this autumn is award winning fiber artist Ana Buzzalino! Before her workshop kicks off, Ana took a moment to tell us more about herself and her background in fiber art.

Q: What is your most unexpected source of inspiration?
AB: A few years back I fell in love with the old wooden grain elevators that still dot the landscape of the Prairies, so I set out to photograph as many as I can before they are torn down and disappear. The textures and grayish tones of the old wood, the peeling paint, the effects of time, all that gives me ample material for new work. 

Q: How has teaching impacted your person art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
AB: Teaching is what keeps me current and engaged. Time spent with students is time that I have to share what I know and love and at the same time, learn from them. Every class I teach, teaches me something new. I have grown in my art in the past few years and I find that those changes inform my teaching; I want to share everything I know and love: all the techniques, the tips, the tricks that allow me to work in my own style. I love to help students how to find their own voice, and this particular workshop I am teaching is one way of doing that as everyone works on their own designs. I give them, hopefully, a few more tools to be able to translate their visions into actual fiber pieces.

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
AB: I have just finished renovating my studio so everything is organized and nicely put together right now. I have an entire wall covered in built-ins with drawers, shelves and baskets which allows me to keep tools organized and projects together. As I tend to work on several pieces at the same time, I can set aside the ones I’m not working on at the time in their own drawers until I am ready to work on them again. The one thing I cannot live without is my design wall, which covers one wall in my studio and sits right across from my sewing table. I pin up pieces in progress so I can look at them and let them “percolate” for a while. 

Q: Who are your art heros? Who do you admire and why?
AB: I have so many … I admire so many artists in different media, such Georgia O’Keefe, Robert Rauschenberg, Sean Scully, Anne Moore, Fran Styles, and so many more painters and mixed media artists. Quilters and fiber artists such as Laura and Linda Kemshall, Hollis Chatelain, Michael James, Sara Impey, Bethan Ash, Eszter Bornemisza, Willy Doreleijers, Cecilia Koppmann, Sue Benner, Pamela Allen, and so many more. Each artist, in their own media, creates work that moves me and resonates with me. I wish I could spend one week in each of their studios, just observing … and absorbing…

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
AB: I am working on new samples for classes coming up, but I am also working on larger pieces that have sat percolating for a while and are ready to be finished. Plus a few more that right now reside in my head, one in particular that has been developing in the last few months which means I need to work on creating a few more pieces of fabric using mono printing, screen printing, etc.

Learn more about Ana’s workshop with us here

Five Questions for Quilt Artist David Taylor

We’re looking forward to having quilt artist David Taylor back with us to round out our 2018 season! Get to know a bit more about David and his practice through our short interview with him below.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
DT: My works have been the result of an emotional connection to images. When I try to force a subject matter, the results are never as fulfilling. I want the viewer to be able to see the story.

Q: What are you most proud of in regards to your art?
DT: When I have reviewed past images of my quilts, I’m often amazed at how much I’ve accomplished. Sometimes I can’t even remember the process of making them. Perhaps it’s because I truly enjoy the ‘creating.’ The more difficult the project, the more satisfaction I feel in solving issues. If the process was ‘too easy’ there would be nothing to gain.

Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them?
DT: By far, the biggest challenge I’ve had to face is the gas explosion and fire that destroyed my studio in 2016. It’s been more than two years, and I’ve heard from other victims of home fires that this is typical. Every day gets a little easier, yet every day is a little harder – facing what has been lost. My brain tells me to move forward, but my heart is caught in the past.

Q: What advice has influenced you?
DT: I was given a nugget of insight by a consultant in my first full-time management position. I was working in a print house. The shop was very busy, and it seemed there was never enough hours in the day. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get all the day-to-day tasks completed. He advised, “Never try anything. Do it.”

Q: Is there something you are currently working on, or excited about starting that you can tell us about?
DT: There are so many ideas and plans in my head, it seems there won’t be enough years remaining to bring them all to life. The hard part is bringing what I see in my mind into the physical world.

Learn more about David’s workshop with us here.

Five Questions for Artist Wen Redmond

Artist Wen Redmond will be teaching Digital Explorations in Fiber & Mixed Media from November 28-December 2 this year and well before her workshop, she took a moment to fill us in on her background and approach to art.

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
WR: Inspiration abides everywhere! When I first started selling my work, viva a craft booth at shows, I found my work had stories, not just the construct but also the inspirations, the unconscious absorption of what I gain with my senses. As I talked, I learned about my own work and the ideas that went into it. This was the surprise! 

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
WR: Teaching is sharing inspirations. The connection and communication one experiences when with a group of like-minded people is a precious thing. It takes time to prepare a workshop that instructs and yet allows students creativity. It takes time to gather materials. Energy required for this equals energy not available for ones own work. There has to be a balance, difficult to achieve. 

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
WR: Presently, I have a relatively small studio in my home. A home studio suits my mode of working. Every space is used and thoughtfully planned out. The best thing I can do is simply replace items used as I finish with them. There is nothing worst than being in the throes of creativity and not being able to find the proper tool I need! That said, I like my storage to be visible, not behind doors. Visibility reminds me of the tools I have and the possibilities of using it.

Q: Who are your art heros? Who do you admire and why?
WR: So many, all medias. So hard to nail down. I love the adventures you can have, not only making art but viewing what others have made. I love the collage works of Joan Schultz and Fran Skies, the texture of Dorothy Caldwell, Sue Hammond West, and Jill Kettulla, the photography of the Starn twins and Michael James, the grubbiness of Anselm Kiefer, the painterly work of Deidra Adams, the journals of Roxanne Evans Stout, the encaustic work of Bridgette G Mills, the paintings of Patricia Larsen, Georgia O Keefe, and abstractionists, the pottery of Paulus Berensohn and MC Richards, the mixed media work of Masha Ryskin, Seth Apter, Takahiko Hayashi, Cas Holmes and so many others, and the nameless dozens of women who made art with fabric over the centuries.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
WR: I’m looking forward to returning to my art and exploring all of the ideas in my file. Some of these ideas happened as I was writing my book! I’d make a sample and get ideas for another! I had too many for the book so I saved them to explore later. Ready and waiting for me! Recently I did a short video for CT Publishing on Shiny Surfaces, an extension of that section in my book. You can find the link in this blog post

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

Five Questions For Quilt Artist Gloria Loughman

We’re so thankful to have Gloria Loughman returning for another fiber art workshop this year! Her workshop, The Textured Landscape, still has spots available and will run from August 26-September 1, 2018. Well before her workshop and in fact, right before she left on a quilting cruise – Gloria took a moment to share more about her background and approach to art with us.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
GL: When I was growing up I like to play every sport available. I loved to run, climb trees, swim, sail and it never entered my head to sit still and paint or stitch. I actually failed needlework in year 7 when we had to stitch two samplers by hand and after that very negative experience I thought I would never attempt anything to do with sewing.

After finishing high school, I went to University and trained as a teacher of mathematics and physical education. Later on I went back and studied to be a teacher of students with special needs. It was after the birth of our second daughter, my husband surprised me one Christmas with a gift of a Bernina sewing machine. He now maintains it was his ‘biggest mistake’ as I set off to make cute clothing for our daughters and later on formal dresses.

In 1988, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, still in my 30’s it was a tough time in our lives but as I was recovering from surgery and chemotherapy, a friend invited me to a quilting class. I loved the whole process. The precision cutting and piecing, choosing colors, fabrics and patterns, designing my own traditional quilts etc. After making quilts for our family and lots of wall hangings, I became frustrated that I knew nothing about color or design so I enrolled in a Diploma Of Art which I did by distance education. It was a really busy time as I was teaching at school 4 days a week and busy doing my course the rest of the time. I had no time for making quilts. Once I had finished, I began making my large landscape quilts and then things have just progressed from there. What an incredible journey it has been!!

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?
GL: I tend to work on one project at a time although I am always thinking about the next one. I tend to work in a series whether it be technique or theme based. When I have been working on my books, I sometimes have more than one project on the go.

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
GL: This never seems to be a problem. The problem is being home long enough to work through my ideas. I travel a lot. We love going camping in Australia, especially in the wildness areas. We also love wandering through old cities taking photographs. It has to be one of my favorite pastimes that I share with my husband. Taking photographs of old crumbling buildings, unusual color schemes that clash and I would never think to put together, close ups of unusual and fascinating textures …

So I am never short of inspiration and then it comes down to experimenting with a way of producing this image in fabric. I love art that is semi abstract and leaves the viewer filling in some of the spaces. This is what I am trying to pursue in my won work at the moment rather than reproduce a realistic copy of my inspiration.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
GL: I just love time in the studio and then I love sharing my techniques and ideas with others. I think I will be making art for the rest of my life and as I am nearly 70, I probably should stay home more and spend more time in the studio. Because I am away so much teaching classes and camping in Australia with friends, my time at home in the studio is precious and I value every minute of it. Sometimes it is just playing and other times it is working long days on a project. Always a treat!!

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
GL: I think the biggest risk I have taken was to leave my position as a team leader in a special school setting in a secondary school to teach quilt making. Our youngest daughter had just left school and we were supporting her at University in Melbourne. Financially it was quite a risk but after having breast cancer, my husband and I decided to take a chance and see how things worked out. It was a great decision. My husband is retired and usually accompanies me as we travel to so many amazing and beautiful places. We have friends from so many countries around the world and we even get the opportunity to host some of these friends at our home in Australia. We feel very fortunate.

Learn more about Gloria’s workshop here.
 
Find out more about Gloria on her website and give her a follow on Facebook.

Five Questions for Fiber Artist Ann Shaw

We’re so pleased to have fiber artist Ann Shaw joining us for a fall workshop on designing quilts from photographs from October 28-November 3! Before her workshop, Ann took a moment to fill us in on her background and approach to art!

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
AS: Working full-time as a quilt artist blossomed for me after I retired from an academic career as a biological anthropologist and forensic specialist. Though I have been passionate about quiltmaking for many years, I now have enjoy the time and freedom to explore pieced pictorial quilts as a artistic medium. This style of quilting is tactile, has explicit connections to the traditions of patchwork yet poses fascinating challenges such composition, color, texture, and abstraction. For me designing new quilts and sharing my ideas and techniques through teaching and inspiring others are part of the same creative spectrum. 

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?
AS: I tend to work on multiple pieces concurrently. Some are pieces are new designs that join my quilt pattern series. Other pieces are one-of-a-kind designs that explore how the technical aspects of pieced quilt designs affect the visual impact of the completed piece. And then there are the bed quilts I make for my family, often based on traditional quilt blocks……..so the walls of my quilt studio often have a number of different projects as well as piles and piles of fabric that sometimes get intermixed from project to project!

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
AS: I am a very visual person and I enjoy taking pictures, so my pictorial quilts begin with photographic images. I am constantly working to develop my skill of “seeing”, that is looking at the world and in my mind abstracting from it elements that make an interesting composition, that tell a story. For me, attempting to capture these images photographically is the first step to creating a quilt design. I keep many portfolios of images and ideas that inspire my work. When starting a new project, I select something that inspires me or is important to me in that moment.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
AS: Both the personal sense of satisfaction of seeing a project through to completion and the satisfaction of sharing my work with others keep me motivated.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
AS: For many artists, it is a big “risk” to share one’s work with others. Pouring one’s heart and soul into projects not knowing how it will be received by others creates both big risks and big rewards. I think it is the push and pull of those elements that makes one’s creative life interesting.

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

 

Five Questions for Watercolorist Judi Betts

Watercolorist Judi Betts will join us from September 16-22 for a 5-day workshop on Watercolor . . . Creative Design & Innovative Color Patterns. In advance of her workshop, Judi took a moment to tell us a bit more about her background and approach to art!

Q: When did art first enter your life?
JB: Art has been important to me all my life. I was an art major at Indiana University and graduated in 1958. Teaching art in public schools, colleges and universities and teaching workshops around the world has been my passion, along with painting, since then. In other words … “I never put my crayons away.”

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
JB: In the mid 1960s I chose watercolor as an emphasis. Although I studied abstract expressionism I moved into what I call creative realism. Farm animals have been a reoccurring theme as I grew up in the Chicago suburbs and my father’s family was in the dairy business. After I was married and we moved to Louisiana, I became fascinated with boats because my husband was in the barge and tow boat industry. We were around ocean going vessels, fishing boats of all kinds, and smaller boats for streams and bayous. My passion for painting architecture developed because I have lived in the South for over 50 years and sunlight and shadows on old buildings has intrigued me. Having traveled extensively, I’m always delighted to paint the local scene.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
JB: Sketching is very important to all of us. I encourage people to fill sketchbooks with drawings, paintings, and writing.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
JB: I’m always excited to try something different and to make new compositions. It seems I never run out of ideas. My creative thoughts flow continuously.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
JB: I look forward to the workshops I’ll teach in 2018 and to almost daily painting and designing.


Learn more about Judi’s workshop here.
Find out more about Judi on her website.

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! 

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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.

Five Questions for Artist Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Elizabeth St. Hilaire joins us for another paper collage workshop in 2018 and we couldn’t be more excited to have her back! This year’s workshop, from June 24-30, 2018, will focus specifically on crafting animal portraits. In advance of her workshop, Elizabeth took a moment to answer a few questions for us!

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
ESH: I have a BFA from Syracuse University, I have always been a full-time working artist, starting off in Graphic Design and ultimately making the transition to full time painter and workshop instructor.

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?
ESH: I have two easels in my studio and i work on multiple pieces at a time depending on my deadlines. I often paint in a series, so that determining “what’s next” is a little easier. I have one easel that holds larger, oversized work, and one that is set up for smaller work.

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
ESH: I have a variety of successful subject matter that I rotate in and out of according to what’s of interest to me at that time.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
ESH: It’s how I pay my bills 🙂 And it’s my true love, my happy place, my comfort, my joy, myself.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
ESH: Deciding to give up the commercial life of graphic design in order to be a full-time fine artist.

Learn more about Elizabeth’s Paper Collage workshop here.
Find out more about Laurie on her website and give her a follow on Facebook, Pinterest, & YouTube.

 

Five Questions for Artist Joel Popadics

Just as the northern Catskills are at their greenest, join us and watercolorist Joel Popadics from June 17-23, 2018 to work on those green tones! In advance of his workshop, Joel took a moment to answer our short interview to help us learn a bit more about his background and approach to art.

Q: When did art first enter your life?
JP: As a toddler, I remember watching my mother draw along with Jon Gnagy while watching his television show “You are an Artist.” Years later, I drew all the pictures from his drawing kit. Art and creating has always been part of my life. As a child we attended a church that was elaborately decorated in paintings depicting biblical scenes. To this day, I vividly recall those images and how profoundly they inspired me to become an artist.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear? 
JP: Yes, a major theme in my work is light and mood of weather. I’m especially fond of the fog. The subject is well suited for watercolor and creates an instant mood in a picture. 

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
JP: If a beginning artist wants to become a painter, then I would suggest that they draw constantly and work on their craft.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
JP: It’s what I do and how I make a living so there’s always a drive in my to produce. I love to learn and really enjoy the process of painting.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
JP: I’m honored to be giving a watercolor demonstration for the American Watercolor Society on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at the Salmagundi Club in NYC. It’s usually a “standing room only” crowd and the venue with its history gets me all excited for this event.

Learn more about Joel’s Capturing the Feeling of Light, Air, & Atmosphere in Your Watercolor Landscapes workshop here.
Find out more about Joel on his website and give him a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Five Questions for Watercolorist Laurie Goldstein-Warren

We couldn’t be more excited to be bringing a watercolor portraiture workshop to our 2018 season with artist Laurie Goldstein-Warren. In advance of her workshop, Laurie took a moment to fill us in a bit more on her background and approach to art.

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
LGW: I began drawing with my brother when I was young, took art in high school. I was also a ballet dance with the Rochester Academy of Performing Arts. I had to quit dance when I was 19 due to knee problems. I returned to art when I moved to West Virginia in 1998. We live out in the country and I felt that now I had the time to reinvest in my art. I never looked back.

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?
LGW: I usually focus on one painting at a time. Occasionally, I do work on workshop demo pieces along with my current work. If I am working on two or more at one time, I focus on the one in front of me at the moment, but sometimes, I may get an idea from one painting to incorporate into the other. 

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
LGW: I have many photos from trips, etc. But for my portraiture, I also have some ready models, who are most gracious with their time when I need an inspiration.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
LGW: Painting is like breathing to me. I do not like to go a day without some painting time. My motivation is to continue learning and bringing what I learn to my workshop students.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
LGW: I think the one time I was most nervous was right before my first workshop that I taught. I remember thinking what could I possibly show these artists? After the first day of that workshop, I was hooked! I love to teach and my students have been very happy with my teaching style.

 
Learn more about Laurie’s Limited Palettes Portrait workshop here.
Find out more about Laurie on her website and give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Five Questions for Artist Larisa Aukon

This week we’re highlighting another of our three-day workshops during 2018, this time with painter Larisa Aukon. Larisa’s workshop on the Power of Landscape will run from May 30-June 3, 2018.

Learn more about Larisa and her approach to art through our short five question interview with her.

Q: When did art first enter your life?
LA: I’ve had art around me as long as I can remember.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
LA: Flowers is one of the subjects that come and go and then come back again.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
LA: Beginners often are too hard on themselves and do not have enough patience. My advice would be to paint as often as you can and be more patient with themselves.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
LA: Inspiration. New ideas. But there is also an element of studio routine and discipline, I just have to be in the studio every day and work.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
LA: My annual solo show in Scottsdale, in Paul Scott Gallery is in January 2018 and I am looking forward to showing all my new work together. Teaching the workshop in the Hudson Valley is an event I am looking forward to and also I was invited to teach a plein air painting workshop at La Romita School of Art in Umbria, Italy – I am very excited to teach there and looking forward to this workshop too!

Learn more about Larisa’s Power of Landscape Workshop with us here.
Find out more about Paula on her website and give her a follow over on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter.

Five Questions for Artist Christine Ivers

We’re thrilled to be offering a unique three-day workshop; from May 16-20, 2018, for pastelists this year with artist Christine Ivers. Join her and us to work on nightscapes with pastels.

Want to know a little more about Christine and her approach to art? Read on down for her responses to our five question interview series!

Q: What was your path to becoming a full-time working artist?
CI: I owned and operated a full service ad agency for many years and when everything crashed in 2008, I lost the business. The only thing I knew how to do was draw. I cleared my office and made a studio and put a sign out in front to teach art lessons. It all expanded from there. 

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?
CI: I work on a few pieces at the same time. As we all know when you hit the “miserable middles” you usually want to walk away. When I have a few things in progress I can go to another piece and view it with a fresh eye and usually resolve a problem that was causing me to walk away from that one!

Q: How do you come up with ideas to begin something new?
CI: Having been a Creative Director for so many years, I am constantly looking for inspiration around me. My “sketchbook” has always been a camera and I compose through it’s lens. I usually carry a small point and shoot and the iPhone, so when something interesting strikes me I can immediately record it and store it for future use.

Q: What keeps you motivated to continue making art?
CI: The world around me. Everywhere I go, everything I see, the people I meet, and the journey that lies ahead are always my motivations.

Q: What’s the biggest “risk” you’ve taken in your journey as an artist? Creatively, in a business sense, or in life?
CI: Since I was a business woman with a pretty successful ad agency, I was used to the risks that I took for the 40+ years that I worked in that unstable industry (advertising). I mortgaged my house to do that and successfully paid it off, so starting from scratch in another unstable industry (the fine art world) was just another challenge. Since I knew that I had to somehow making a living at this second career in my life, I put together a business plan just as I had for the ad agency. It is a sad statistic that 95% of all start ups fail in the first five years. I knew that. So I was determined to set reasonable goals for yourself you can get there. It’s tough (I went from making a six figure salary to making $15k the first year after I lost the agency) but somehow I managed to build a base of students and with the help of two incredibly generous friends, Claudia Seymour and Richard McKinley, I was guided through the world of today’s fine art world. So this is my second career and business. Looking back I would have it no other way.

Learn more about Christine’s Nightscapes in Pastel Workshop with us here.
Find out more about Christine on her website and give her a follow over on Facebook.

Five Questions for Artist Peter Fiore

Joining us from May 6-12, 2018 will be artist Peter Fiore for a workshop on landscape painting from photographs. Before his workshop, Peter took a moment to give us a taste of his approach to art through our five question interview series.

Q: When did art first enter your life?
PF: Art entered my life when I first opened my eyes — seeing and remembering — my first memories are about light.

Q: Do you have certain themes in your work or subjects that reappear?
PF: I use the landscape to convey the feeling and quality of light. Light is the true subject of my paintings.

Q: If you could give only one piece of advice to a beginning artist, what would it be?
PF: Don’t expect to make the finished painting in an hour. Making art is a life time battle.

Q: What drives you to produce new art?
PF: The need to communicate. The need to make things.

Q: What show, project, or event are you most looking forward to in 2018?
PF: I’m embarking on a new body of work.

Learn more about Peter’s Landscape Painting: Beyond the Photograph workshop here.
Find out more about Peter on his website and give him a follow on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.