I spent a nice LONG week enjoying the beautiful town of Telluride, Colorado, during the end of July this year, teaching a workshop on Textured Landscapes at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. Although the teaching was work, I honestly felt like I was on a guilty vacation! I had a guest room 2 blocks from the school, all to myself. Every morning, before class, I would head out and hike a trail straight from my house. Straight up, too, I might add. I like to say I "wheeze-hiked" up the trail. With elevation at 8,750 feet above sea level, it took a couple of days to get my high altitude lungs back!
As some of you know, I grew up in Colorado, only about 1.5 hours from Telluride. I spent many hours in the mountains surrounding this area, and even got married at the base of one of these peaks. Colorado Roots, baby!
The town of Telluride is beautiful!
My workshop began at 10:00 every morning and ended at 4:00 pm for 3 days. We had a beautiful spot at the Ah Haa School for the Arts, located in the old train depot near the gondola. The studio space was fantastic, with a large open area, great lighting, and huge doors that opened up, looking out from a deck overlooking the river and river trail.
On the first day, we talked about compositions, value, color theory, and abstraction of landscape shapes. At the end of the day, I demonstrated how to create texture using gesso on cradled panel boards. All students then created their own boards, which we allowed to dry overnight.
The next day, everyone began to paint, using limited palettes, value studies, and their own composition notes, created from the day before.
The final day, we worked on finishing up details, fixing values, and correcting shapes and color. What a fantastic time. What a great class. I am very grateful to all my students, as each person is unique in their approach and eye to what they see and what they want to create. It's fun to meet and get to know people from all areas of life, and establish lasting friendships along the way.
Here is a group shot of the final paintings:
Speaking of those special people, here is one of my new friends, a student from this workshop. She purchased my painting, Weightless Change, see below. Love this photo.
Once the workshop finished, we did a little plein air painting.
During my stay, I had a chance to do a simple watercolor sketch as a thank you to the guest house owner:
So, so much inspiration in the high Colorado mountains. I LOVE them so and miss them terribly. When I am here, I feel a sense of loss at having not lived in the area for the past 30 years. Then I remember all the wonderful nature I have enjoyed in the Pacific Northwest, and realize I shouldn't really complain!
And when I return, I take plenty of photos for inspiration, so that when I'm home in my Bend, Oregon studio, I can re-create that feeling of being in the high alpine wilderness, with the pine-scented air, and the solitude of nature surrounding me.
Another inspiration, wildflowers! Here, a super bloom, Colorado version:
As it turns out, my class had such positive reviews, Ah Haa School for the Arts has asked me back! I'll return to teach another workshop in June of 2020. Perhaps one textured landscape and one watercolor on paper, back to back. Look for news on the classes to be mentioned on my website, newsletter, and Ah Haa's website. Will you join me next year??