Brattleboro's River Gallery School offers Fall 2016 classes


BRATTLEBORO >> River Gallery School offers a myriad of opportunities. Instruction is individualized, and the art classes and workshops are suitable for students at all levels, from absolute beginner to experienced artists. Most materials are provided, making it easy to try out new media, no excuses. Classes begin the week of Sept. 19 (a few start earlier or later as noted) and break for holiday weeks.

For ages 6 to 12, RGS offers Child Studio, with Helen Schmidt, Ross Smart, Lauren Watrous, and Jen Wiechers, a 15-week session of after-school classes with an individualized approach to painting, drawing, and sculpture. The RGS philosophy and environment nurtures each child's free imagination. Guided experimentation with non-traditional forms of working will open students' perception of art, encouraging free movement between 2-D and 3-D media. There will be the option for tots (ages 3 to 5) and a parent to make art during some of the Children's Studio classes.

For teen artists (12 to 18), RGS offers a 15-week Teen Studio + Portfolio Class, with Helen Schmidt on Monday afternoons, ideal for committed students who want to further their artistic journeys. The class combines instruction on developing skills to create a portfolio with studio time to work on paintings, drawings, and other projects conceived individually with the teacher.

Ability Arts with Robyn Weisel on Monday and Thursday afternoons (beginning Sept. 12) specializes in serving and supporting individuals with a variety of abilities, allowing them to express themselves, fulfill their artistic passions, and more fully participate as artists within our community.

For adults of all ages and experience RGS offers Adult Studio with Lydia Thomson, Jason Alden, Helen Schmidt, and Lauren Watrous. With a focus on individual process, creativity, and expression, we employ a variety of media and techniques, including oils, acrylics, pastel, charcoal, watercolor, and Sequencing. Projects develop individually and instruction is one-on-one, so veteran artists work side-by-side with absolute beginners in a supportive, challenging, and fun atmosphere. There are four time options each week: morning, afternoon, or evening.

Helen Schmidt offers Plein-air Landscape Tuesdays (Sept. 6 through Oct. 18) in which artists work in either pastels or oil paints. Demonstrations and one-on-one instruction will de-mystify the process of working from nature help to make sense of so much visual information.

Schmidt will also instruct Sculpture: The Figure in Clay Oct. 25 through Dec. 13 where students work from live models sculpting the head and the figure in clay and then bisque-fire the finished products.

Schmidt's Monday morning Printmaking Studio will be an open format class for students to work more independently in printmaking. Ongoing demonstrations throughout the semester will be given for those who wish to explore new or different media and techniques.

Schmidt will also teach MultiMedia Printmaking Wednesday evenings in which students can choose to learn and work in whichever technique they are drawn to, monotype, chine-colle, collagraph, letterpress and drypoint, or to layer different processes together.

This fall, RGS welcomes new printmaking instructors Leigh Niland and Helen O'Donnell.

Niland will offer Monotype Printmaking, Oct. 15 through Nov. 12. Working from direct observation or imagination, explore the art of still life or other subject matter through direct monotype.

O'Donnell will teach a Printmaking Folio Project, Dec. 2nd through Jan. 20 in which students will work as a group to come up with a theme, subject, or idea and make prints based on the chosen theme and techniques. Students will decide on the parameters of the project and will come away with one full set of the collaborative collection of work.

Julia Jensen will offer Encaustics on Thursdays, Oct. 6 through Dec. 15. Students will learn the basics of this ancient art form, with hands-on instruction on how to build up surfaces with various substances and tools, manipulate the wax, and create finished dimensional paintings.

In Watercolor Painting with Lynn Zimmerman, students will learn the essentials of creating luminous watercolor paintings and work with color theory and mixing, composition, understanding light, and developing our visual perception. Each class will include the introduction of a concept, a demonstration, and practice exercises.

Zimmerman will also offer Artful Bookmaking, Oct. 1 through Dec. 17 in which students can make and fill simple books using a variety of creative techniques while exploring watercolor painting, drawing, silkscreening, gelatin plate printing, stamps and stencils, hand lettering, and collage.

Jason Alden will offer Life Drawing, in which students work from the live model and learn various ways to understand and draw the human figure. In his Observational Drawing, students will explore how to translate the three-dimensional world of light, form, space and proportion to the two-dimensional surface of the paper. Working primarily with pencil and charcoal, students will be introduced to a variety of ways of drawing from still lifes, landscapes, and the human figure.

Alden is also offering Color Mixing, Oct. 19 through Dec. 14. Classes will include demonstration, student painting time, and discussion, as well as topics in value structure, how color creates light, space and mood, and how to compose with color to achieve balanced paintings.

Ross Smart will offer Spirit Houses, Sept. 20 through Nov. 8. Using found objects, wood, and metal, students will each build a small fanciful dwelling and use soapstone to carve a spirit being to inhabit it. Simple joinery will be used — no special carpentry skills are required; suitable for ages 12 and up.

RGS Art Workshops offer an opportunity to delve deeply into a specific technique or subject without the commitment to a semester-long class. They focus on specific skills and approaches, and often offer weekend sessions.

Kicking off the season, RGS offers: Painterly Abstraction: Part 2 with Cameron Schmitz Sept. 12 and 13, for students who are well on their way painting abstractly on their own and Mosiac Treasures on Sept. 24 and 25 with Jen Wiechers in which students will create rich mosaic art using found "treasures" and materials that perhaps would otherwise be discarded.

In October, Julia Jensen joins forces with Kim Colligan, Oct. 1 and 2 to offer a two-day workshop — Printmaking and Encaustics Fusion. Students will use various approaches to make layered and textured prints on the press; then, with the encaustic technique, use them to create multimedia collage pieces. This is a great opportunity to learn about and explore the connection between both mediums, or just focus on one if one prefers.

Spend Saturday, Oct. 8, with Bruce Iverson for Meditations in Ink: Suminagashi & Asian Calligraphy learning the art of Japanese paper marbling — a simple process with extraordinary results. Then adorn your marbled paper with calligraphic strokes. All materials provided; no previous experience necessary.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9, Lydia Thomson will offer Sequencing, an original creative process created by RSG co-founder Ric Campman. This three-hour class is a way for both novice and experienced art-makers to enter the process of painting deeply and directly, using our hands to access creativity.

Robert Carsten will teach Pastels: Trees Against Dramatic Skies on Oct. 23. Color, composition, atmospheric effects, figure/ground painting techniques, sky holes and pastel application techniques will be discussed and demonstrated, followed by ample studio time to experiment.

In Landscape with Mary Giammarino, Oct. 15 and 16, students will work with the impression of sunlight in painting and use a limited palette of warm and cool primary colors to discover how light affects the landscape. Students will learn how to "key" a painting to achieve atmosphere and to create a good composition. Joslin Roderick will offer Build a Vision Board or Book on three Thursdays, Oct. 13 through Nov. 10. Students will learn how to make a vision board as a tool to discover, clarify, and maintain in focus on specific life goals and states of wellness. Participants will work with different intentional exercises, such as short meditations, gratitude exercises, and written statements. Those who attend all three sessions will have the opportunity to share their creative visioning experience and build upon their work achieving maximum transformative results.

In Nov., Lauren Watrous will offer Making Paint from Scratch Nov. 6 and/or 13. Students will make simple versions of our own oil, acrylic, tempera, gouache, and distemper paints from pigments and paint mediums using basic recipes to customize paint consistencies and create pigment from plant, metal, and stone.

Saturday, Nov. 19, is Marathon Day at RGS. Matthew Peake will host a Life Drawing Half-Marathon, a six-hour-long immersion into drawing from a live model while downstairs in the new Main Street Studio Kim Colligan will hold a Printmaking Marathon in which students will fully immerse in making prints incorporating stencils, R & F pigment sticks, caran d' ache, stabilos and plant material.

RGS's traditional Angels, Beasts, Shepherds and Kings workshop for the holidays will occur on Sunday, Nov. 20. Faculty and RGS friends offer a time to drop-in at the studios and immerse in making joyful and fanciful creatures. This inclusive and fun event is open to all ages, is family-oriented, and your attendance benefits the RGS Scholarship Fund. Donated pieces will hang in a December exhibit and sale, which opens Friday, Dec. 2 during Gallery Walk.

Julia Jensen is offering Encaustics and Paper on Saturday, Nov. 12, and Encaustics on Dec. 10 and 11. In both workshops students will experiment with Encaustics, an ancient medium that allows the artist to build painterly surfaces quickly; the complex surface makes it perfect for embedding various collage elements.

Walter Cudnohufsky will offer Watercolor: Anyone Can Paint! Saturday, Dec. 3. An avid and animated teacher of watercolor for the past 15 years, Walter is of the well-proven belief that everyone can paint. His step-by-step, productive and fun workshops lead to one or more finished and matted paintings in the all-day session.

On three Sunday afternoons in December, Leigh Niland will teach Reductive Relief Printing, an opportunity for students to work with carving away plates to produce three-color prints — possibly for an edition of holiday cards.

River Gallery School is a 40-year old non-profit arts organization providing high-quality arts instruction to people of all ages and all levels of experience. The new Main Street Studio at 36 Main Street houses Printmaking, Bookmaking, Watercolor, Ability Arts, and many other classes, workshops and community events.

Gallery 34 hosts monthly shows of emerging and established artists in an intimate art space. Art studios are on the second floor at 32 Main St. (fully accessible via elevator available at 30 Main St.),

For more information, visit or call 802-257-1577.


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