Another Island Adventure
This week has been unprecedented as far as Paper Paintings Collage Workshops go. Never before have we ventured out of the classroom to so many interesting and unusual places. We had the benefit of local artist Michele Auger in our class. You remember Michele, our Dump Guide? Well today, Michele changed hats (and she does have great hats) to take on the role of our art gallery guide.
After lunching on the most amazing quiche (three different varieties in fact) fresh salad, fruit, cheese, and brewed ice tea… (the food here at Madeline Island School of the Arts is amazing) my group gathered up into cars and headed downtown.
Now, I use the term downtown loosely. In the summer months La Pointe boasts a population of close to 3,000 people. Right now we are at the close of fall and on the cusp of winter in Wisconsin,–the population of LaPointe is on its way down to under 300. Either season, this island town is small and full of charm.
The Bell Street Gallery
The Bell Street Gallery hosts live music in the summer. Last summer when I taught my class here at MISA, we visited the gallery and enjoyed the music, the outdoor selection of pottery and the indoor selection of jewelry along with the beer and wine window in the courtyard. The adjacent space hosted paintings, drawings, and prints.
Today my class enjoyed pursuing the jewelry selection and some unique clay fortune cookies. I told the woman working in the gallery very matter-of-factly that I was from Florida. I felt like I had to explain myself, she was looking at me like I was making way too big of a deal over the temperature.
OMG, the doors were OPEN!
The La Pointe Center Gallery
Our Gallery Guide took us over to the cooperative gallery and showed us her work in weaving, watercolor, and collage. Students were impressed especially with Michele’s weaving work and eagerly anticipated a promised visit to her home studio. We also enjoyed local plein air artists, sculptors, and hand crafted jewelry. What a feast for the eyes! We took the time to vote for our favorite artist in the gallery, put our slips in the jar and headed out for Michele’s house. Michele is currently working on a collage of her dog, Buford in class. The students couldn’t wait to meet him, we all feel like we already knew him.
Sneak Peek Into Michele’s World
Our Gallery Guide (and former Dump Guide) invited the class into her home, and into her weaving studio. She explained that her sons had built the studio for her with love, and it shows. Michele and her husband have lived on the Island (year round) for 37 years. They built the home we visited today in the 80’s. Very close to downtown, Michele’s place is beautiful, full of creativity, color, and texture.
Our Guide is one lucky gal.
Michele told us that she was so happy to be able to join us for the Paper Paintings Workshop this week. She explained to her classmates that weaving is a solitary endeavor and that sometimes she likes to get out and mingle with other art minded folks. Don’ you find that to be true of all artists? We work alone in the studio, but eventually we seek each other out for some common ground conversation.
And for a reson to get dressed.
This is why I enjoy teaching. For all the solitary hours I enjoy in at the easel, I also appreciate a balance of traveling, teaching, meeting, and inspiring others.
Have I said it lately? “I love my job!”
Buford was happy to see us, he followed us from the front door, to the studio, and back again. Michele was proud to share with us that all the mosaic tile covered furniture on her porch an in her yard were also her creations. One of my students exclaimed “Wow, you really do it ALL, don’t you?” Michele responded, “Well, just like Elizabeth, this is my job. I’m doing what I have to do to make it all add up to a living.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Hats off to our Guide. (did I mention she has great hats?)
All Good Things
Tomorrow is our last day of class. Today we did our show-and-tell with apple collages. Everyone is pretty much moved on to a second project of their choosing. My students take what they learn from rendering a simple sphere in collage, and begin to apply it to more complex shapes. Rebecca is doing a Boston Terrier, Our Guide has moved on from Buford to a pile of painted turtles (say that five times fast). Renée is working on a little girl in a bathing cap, Sara is still contemplating, and Jill has already made great progress on her butterfly.
And just to think, I inspired all of this creativity in one way or another. Maybe I motivated them on a path they had taken long ago and just needed to get back to. Perhaps this was something totally new, or slightly different. Maybe it was about the camaraderie and opportunity to bond.
For me it was all those things and more.
for being a part of
My Art Journey,
Italy 2017 Retreat!