Thursday, June 5, 2014

Extraordinary Paper Collage Workshop!

Last weekend I had the very great pleasure of spending four days at the beautiful Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, located guessed it....the beautiful Hudson River Valley in New York State. The classes are held at the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, a lovely country inn. My friend Pat and I were last minute attendees, getting in due to a cancellation. Very lucky, and the room we got was a cottage with a front porch, a fireplace inside (which we actually needed and used one chilly night), and a whirlpool tub in the bathroom. For more information, click HERE.

(Our front porch. Can you get any cozier?)

Pat and I took advantage of the porch. The perfect place to enjoy some pre-dinner wine.

(The entrance to the studio, just opposite our cottage).

Our teacher was Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. I kind of feel as though calling her a collage artist is like referring to Picasso as a doodler. Elizabeth is an art school trained painter and her collages are, well, painterly. She paints her own papers to get just the right shades, she tears them uber carefully and with just paper (and NO scissors, ever!) creates pictures with shading, shadows, volume and dimension. Elizabeth did a blog post on our weekend. Her husband Doug is a wonderful photographer, and the blog post contains his documentation of the workshop, as well as the surrounding countryside. He took way more (and way better) photos than I did, so do check out the blog by clicking HERE. Besides, you'll get to see Elizabeth's amazing work and her teaching schedule.

We had homework! Before the event we were to do an under-painting of an apple on a 12x12 canvas board. This is the photo I used for reference:

And this is my under-painting:

We spent a day painting all sorts of paper (rice paper, deli wrap, old text pages, music sheets, etc.) with a full range of all the colors we'd need to do our apple collage. We painted A LOT of paper. Elizabeth told us that no matter how much paper we painted it wouldn't be enough. You know what? She was so right. Most of us wound up doing a little more painting to get just the right colors.

Elizabeth came around and marked each photograph to help us know the order in which we should be collaging.

A work in progress:

Elizabeth had a few excellent suggestions to make my apple look rounder. I really appreciated the individual attention she gave to all 18 of us. I should mention that these workshops are never overbooked. We each had our own large table and there was plenty of room to move around.

My completed apple:

I had time to do a second canvas, but I didn't have a reference photo, so I just did a quick sketch and under-painting of a couple of birds, and tried to apply all the techniques Elizabeth taught. 

Here it is as a work in progress. Everything collaged except the birds.

More or less finished (photo taken under different lighting conditions, so color is a bit off):

And here is Pat's fabulous apple. A very NYC apple, don't you think?

I'm looking forward to reviewing the remainder of the 2014 class schedule as well as those already scheduled for 2015. I'd love to go back!  Did I mention that Mark, who owns the inn with his wife Kim is the chef, but more importantly, he is a chocolatier. His chocolates are for sale and sometimes appear as dessert after dinner. Need I say more?


Patzee said...

I have never been more pleased with the outcome of a gentle arm-twisting than when I got Eileen to sign up for the last spot in the workshop. What a fabulous environment, workshop, and art adventure. Thanks for this wonderful post!

teri F said...

Loved reading this!! It sounds like a wonderful weekend--really perfect. Looking forward to seeing these in person!!

jacquie said...

Eileen you are so wonderful. Your post made me feel like I was a fly on the wall!!!! OMG I love the place and the work you did. This is fabulous. I am all over her being our teacher!!!! I think she will be much better than the other college artist that Elena and I took the class with!!!!

I want to go to one of these with you!!!! I love the Hudson did you get there?

On another note...Ladies you look WONDERFUL!!!!



leida said...

love all the photos, the techniques so much I want to try it just by your descriptive post! excellent!

Deb Schaefer said...

Eileen love your post. This type of retreat is what I am hoping to do in Maine, if we can find the right spot.