Sitka Class: Abstracted Waterlines in Oil and Cold Wax
Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day. Winston S. Churchill
A dream came true last week when I taught a four-day class at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, located on the Oregon Coast at Cascade Head. I have taken many classes at Sitka over the years and many of those classes helped shape me as an abstract artist, so it felt satisfying and exhilarating to be standing on the other side of the table.
I arrived at the forested campus on Sunday evening and got settled into my private cabin, located just a few steps from Boyden Studio, where my class was to be held.
A couple of people offered to help me get the studio set up, but this was something I wanted to do by myself. I was feeling emotional and sentimental about teaching at Sitka, and I just wanted to fully experience it in solitude.
Monday morning I arrived early, ready for the day to begin and feeling just a tiny bit anxious.
Students began to arrive and get settled in. . . . . and then the next four days were a glorious blur of demos, activating boards, spreading paint, discussing how to let go, experimenting with new techniques, and making brave, bold marks.
Throughout the week, some artists arrived early in the morning, some stayed a little late into the evening, but there were three hearty souls who arrived early and stayed very late into the evening.
One night several of us went out to dinner in Pacific City and stopped to visit Lynne’s studio.
Boyden Studio was a blur of camaraderie and activity with artists working independently at times, other times soliciting feedback and ideas from each other.
The weather was good for three of the four days and we were able to take advantage of the outdoors to eat lunch, lay out our boards, and occasionally relax.
I had fun doing demos every day (even when they didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned!).
At times everyone worked hard, other times they kicked back.
I went into the studio early every morning to prepare for the day and enjoy the remnants of the previous day’s energy.
For the majority of time, everyone got into a zone, the flow state of letting go and laying down layers for the pure pleasure of experiencing the paint.
On Thursday afternoon we did a show ‘n tell and walkabout.
Here’s a sampling of what was created over the four days.
It was an amazing experience and the perfect mix of students.
Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art. Neil Gaiman