Workshop Report: True Colors with Kellee Wynne Conrad

Our first workshop of 2019 couldn’t have been more fun! Maryland-based artist Kellee Wynne Conrad joined us for the first time for an acrylics and mixed media workshop. Here’s what her students had to say;

The workshop exceeded my expectations. Kellee was like a breath of fresh air, filled with ideas, creativity, encouragement and personalized teaching for each person as well as twice daily group instruction. She is a really fine teacher.”

This workshop was everything I hoped for and more. I felt so well taken care of and all my favorite things were available in one place – studio time, amazing food, cookies, and coffee!!

Kellee was a great teacher. I learned new techniques that a will be use in my futures works.

The workshop was a good mix of excellent instruction and and freedom to create in a moat nurturing atmosphere.”

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 Artist Patti Mollica

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Five Questions for Artist Christine Camilleri

This spring, we look forward to welcoming British Columbia based artist Christine Camilleri for a five-day studio workshop from April 29-May 5, 2017. Christine’s workshop will focus both on color and composition. In advance of her workshop, Christine took a moment to help us get to know her a little better!

Q: What’s been your most unexpected source of inspiration?
CC: I am inspired by many unexpected things: an unusual perspective, a story line, an abstract design that makes me think of something to work up, a shock of color where I didn’t expect it. I always want to challenge myself and my viewers.

Q: How has teaching impacted your personal art practice? And vice versa, how does your approach to your personal art impact your teaching style?
CC: I took a workshop once where the instructor said, “Every time you pick up a pastel or a brush loaded with a particular color you should be able to tell anyone what you’re using that for”. That was a breakthrough moment for me: before hearing this I was experimenting (producing “mud”) and adding marks without intent. I then challenged myself to have a ready response and to understand that if I didn’t have one, then I, and the painting, were losing direction. I take that thinking into my painting classes to share with my students. 

Q: What’s one tip you have or trick you use for keeping your studio space organized?
CC: In order to stay creative and focused I clean out my studio once or twice a year. I don’t mean wash the floors and dust. I mean I throw out old ideas, sketches and half finished paintings. I find I have to be ruthless. It clears my mind and helps me to see where I am going. I don’t want to fill my visual space with things that are half done or forgotten pulling me back to “finish” them one day, some day. I also keep my mediums separate and work on one medium for weeks at a time. Oils in one corner, pastels on a big table, acrylics on another table. Some paintings lend themselves to a certain medium and that way they are accessible at a moment’s inspiration.

Q: Who are your art heros? Who do you admire and why?
CC: I enjoy artists who exert competence, color mastery and story telling ability: these include but are not limited to Howard Terpning, Charlie Russell, Richard Schmid, Sheila Reiman, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, Jeanie Dobie, and Skip Lawrence.

Q: What exciting projects are you working on right now or big dream projects you would love to begin exploring?
CC: Bison have become a fascinating focus and I am drawn to wide, open landscapes like the prairies they once roamed. I am planning a series of paintings inspired by the last of the intact prairie areas in Canada and the US and hope to capture what these may have looked like before settlement. 

Learn more about Christine’s Let’s Boss Around Color & Composition Can Be Fun workshop here
Find out more about Christine on her website!

Workshop Report: Loosen Up With Aquamedia Painting with Robert Burridge

Artist and ever popular instructor Robert Burridge joined us for a week early last month to share his inspiring approach to making art as well as his famed magic show along with Chef de Cuisine Mark LaPolla! Here’s a few things we heard from the students when asked if their expectations were met;

Yes and more…staff was friendly and welcoming…food was amazing. Loved that they accommodated my dietary needs.

Yes! Came home energized with lots of new ideas and resources.

above and beyond what I expected….. Bob brought a great energy, humor, patience and he willingness to share scads of information he’s gained over the years, and his demos were enlightening.”

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class.

New for this workshop, we’ve also launched a YouTube page to share our videos with those of you who aren’t so into Facebook! We hope you enjoy this look into experiencing one of our workshops!

Workshop Report: Loosen Up & Get Painterly with Patti Mollica

Seventeen students filled our studio for a week of learning from one of our most popular instructors, Patti Mollica. Patti guided them through a variety of timed and structured exercises – including one which limited their brush strokes – to study both color and value in acrylic and oil paints.

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class and watch the video in our Facebook Video Library.


Workshop Report: Visual Improvisation with Jane Davies


Artist Jane Davies spent her first week with us and a full house of eighteen students using acrylic painting, collage techniques, and more to create beautiful and colorful abstract art.

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class and watch the video in our Facebook Video Library.