Thursday, March 23, 2017

Galax and the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts

Last week, I had the pleasure of going to southwestern Virginia to teach in Galax, VA at the Chestnut School of the Arts. It was my third time teaching there, and David and I first went in 2015. I absolutely love teaching there. Though the classes tend to be small, there's such a special energy to the classes.

Galax is rather small, and there's not a ton of local attractions, though in the summer, it is home to the Old Fiddler's Convention as the city lies in the heart of old time, bluegrass music country. But Galax has a quaint downtown with shops and restaurants, and it even has a popular brewery, at which of course, I always find myself.

But probably the thing that I like the most is the accommodations. When available, the school puts instructors up at a nearby log cabin owned by former board member Mary Guynn of Guynn Furniture. This tiny cabin sits next to Mary's house, just five minutes from downtown, but it might as well be out in the middle of nowhere because that's the way it feels. It's in a peaceful neighborhood, and I really love the peace and quiet. Though there's a tv in the cabin, I never turn it on, and I sit and relax by a fire each night reading, working in my journal, or just losing myself in the flames and the crackle of the fire.

Of course, I am there to teach workshops, and I enjoyed two days of wonderful workshops. On Saturday, I taught Mapping the Journey, and this mixed-media workshop focused on using life as inspiration for making art, and I lead the four students through a process that looked at key moments and people from their lives. Then they worked to build rich layers using mapping marks, such as grids, highways and roads, borders, and boundaries. Unfortunately, I was so into the workshop, I forgot to take any photos.

On Sunday, I taught Luminous Liquid Layers, and it was the first time that I had taught this class. I was a little nervous about that, but we had fun building layers using liquid acrylics. We specifically used Golden High Flow Acrylics. We were even joined by one of the student's dog, Hank.

We definitely made a bit more of a mess in this workshop than we did the day before, but using a variety of techniques and application processes, the four students and I were completely immersed in the work. I did remember to stop from time to time and take photos.

Working on a multitude of surfaces, we splattered and scraped, dripped and stamped, stenciled and painted. All in all we had a good time playing and exploring.

Thank you Patty, Penney, Martha Sue, Chris, and Christy (not pictured) for making the weekend wonderful! I hope to see you all the next time I go to Galax to teach.

If your interested in taking a workshop, check out the Events page for a complete listing.


Penney said...

What a beautiful write up of Gala and the workshop last weekend! It captures the spirit and tranquility that lured us to the mountains here. We always look forward to creating with you and can't wait for your return. Thank you!

Eric said...

Thank you, Penney! I look forward to coming back Galax in the future! Maybe a journal weekend in the fall?