Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Road Trip, West to East - Valparaiso, Indiana and the Art Barn School of Art

It's not an Art Barn workshop unless you have chickens!
After the workshop in Batavia, Illinois, we drove about 90 minutes east to Valparaiso, Indiana, and the Art Barn School of Art.  This makes my sixth time teaching at the Art Barn, and I am grateful to my mentor, Ann Templeton, for suggesting I teach here.  Ann, who taught many times at the Art Barn, is still fondly remembered by Jan Sullivan, now in her 90s, who founded the school.  Jan takes my workshop every year.


The Art Barn occupies 69 acres of woodland and fields, complete with a pond and a trail that runs throughout.  In the woods, many wildflowers are blooming:  trillium, wake robin (a dusky red trillium), jack-in-the-pulpit and spring beauty.  Flowers about to bloom include mayapple and bloodroot, and I'm sure they'll pop the day we leave.  The trees are just barely showing some of their spring greens, and the woods are full of that wonderful red-violet.

Inside the Art Barn
I like to display some of the other work from my trip for students, so these are
some paintings from Zion National Park and Batavia, Illinois

I should give some mention to the farm animals.  Jan keeps a miniature pony and burro, plus a quartet of white ducks and so many chickens I can't count them all.  This year, we missed our chicken wrangler, so chickens made it into only a couple of paintings.  (They don't hold still for long and require a wrangler with plenty of biscuits to feed them.)  I did make sure to include one slow-moving hen in my oil demonstration.

Spring Willow, 12x9 oil
For this workshop, I had seven students, four of which had studied with me previously.  We had oil, pastel and acrylic painters, so I demonstrated in pastel the first day and in oil the second.  The first day dawned with thunder, sleet and heavy rain, but by the time the students arrived, the weather had started to clear.  Still, it was cool enough that everyone wanted an indoor demonstration.  I painted a scene through one of the barn's large, sliding-door windows.  That afternoon, things warmed up enough for everyone to get outside.  On the second day, we had plenty of sunshine, and I chose to paint a storm-blasted willow tree that reminds me so much of some of the Romantic English painters.  Everyone did a fantastic job these two days.

Plowed Field, 9x12 pastel - SOLD
Now we're done with the Art Barn, and tomorrow we head off for Toledo, Ohio, where I'll be leading a two-day workshop for the Toledo Artist's Club.  Toledo is new territory for me, so I'm excited and looking forward to it!

The burro

Yes, we've got roosters, too!

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