Arrowmont and a week of painting with acrylic inks

Wow, it’s hard to know where to begin, there is so much to say about Arrowmont, what an amazing place it is, not only as a place to teach, but as a place to learn, create, and meet other artists who are passionate about their work all in a gorgeous setting, nestled into the foothills of the great smokey mountains.


The trees were just starting to turn.

First thing to say is there are galleries filled with amazing art in every building, so there is inspiration everywhere you look. I walked through this gallery everyday on the way to my class.



Our workspace in the fiber studio was superb. We felt truly spoiled, with large covered tables suitable for painting with covers that could be lifted with a padded ironing surface underneath. Power outlets hung from a sliding bar over head, very handy, unless you are tall like me and occasionally knock your head into one, ow!


We all cranked out work to our creative hearts delight.IMG_0040 IMG_0051 IMG_0108 IMG_0109 IMG_0133 IMG_0132 IMG_0130 IMG_0131


Our work days began at 9 after a delicious breakfast in the dining room, we broke for lunch at noon and returned at one to work until about 6. The soft welcoming glow of the dining room at night.IMG_0183


After dinner each night there were several short presentations; either live demonstration or powerpoint by instructors, teacher assistants and resident artists.IMG_0059

This is the turning work of J. Paul Fennell, he hollows the wood until it is light as an eggshell and then creates intricate designs in the surface.IMG_0062

After the presentations we could go back to the classroom and work until 1 am if desired, which several of us did. How could one stay away from that fantastic workspace with everything all laid out at ones fingertips.

On Thursday night we had open house, touring each of the classes to see the work produced over the week. What a treat, all of us were anxious to see what everyone else was making.IMG_0120

This is instructor/book artist Randi Parkhurst showing figurative clay artist/instructor Tip Toland her book structures that graduate in size based on fibonacci/golden section geometry. randi's book class
Check out those gorgeous papers Randi teaches her students to make from cheap kraft paper and acrylic ink!

Below is a photo from the clay studio from Tips class on gestural figurative sculpture. You have to check out both Randi and Tip’s websites, they do fantastic work! I would have loved to be in both their classes.


On Friday my class laid out their weeks work so we could share our experiences, talk about techniques and new directions for the work.

Karol KusmaulIMG_0138
Karols textures

Karol created some really interesting textures with inking a tatted doily and laying it over or under damp fabricIMG_0137Karols work


Sue PolanskyIMG_0180
IMG_0146 IMG_0147Sue carved a stamp of 4 figures using smart phones and brilliantly incorporated it into what looks like a cave painting.IMG_0150


Barbara WilkinsIMG_0173 IMG_0170
IMG_0168IMG_0167Barbara really started to get into her groove when she began creating masks with tape and painting gradations.


Jan BruceIMG_0155

Jan has plans to use several of her pieces to create a tote bag.
Jan Bruce

The big brushstroke piece in the bottom right, was a bit of a departure from Jan’s other work and looks like a promising direction for her to explore.


Pati EspenlaubIMG_0156
Pati is an accomplished weaver and new to painting on fabric, I think we may have a convert 🙂
IMG_0160 IMG_0157



Elyse-Krista MischeIMG_0162
IMG_0052 IMG_0053Elyse is a wonderfully talented young woman who created such interesting work so clearly in her own voice. I just wanted to pack her in my suitcase and bring her home with me.
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My workIMG_0179 IMG_0097


IMG_0080The piece below was started from the painted strip of fabric on the right in the photo above.
fruit vine

IMG_0092I absolutely loved the opportunity to work non stop for a week, with all my meals prepared for me and no clean up to do after, in such a wonderful work space with other artists. Doing a class like this is a fantastic opportunity to learn and be inspired by others, because you will see one person doing something that will lead to an idea of something else new to try, it just feeds inspiration and creativity. I can’t recommend this kind of experience enough for creative growth.

By friday evening many of the students who drove to Arrowmont had already hit the road for home and at dinner the normally bustling dining room was calm and quieter than it had been all week.


This is wonderful Maxine who prepared all our meals. She came out to share a few songs with us after dinner, as thanks for a mixed media painted apron my class made for her to thank her for filling our tummies all week, while we fed our creative souls. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to get a photo of the apron :-/

I think everyone felt a full range of emotions friday night; happy for the wonderful week, the new friends we made, and sad that it was so quickly coming to an end. A group of us gathered in the lounge to listen to some live music performed by fellow instructor mixed media artist Phil Garret from South Carolina and a singer songwriter couple who were in the clay sculpture class.IMG_0187

Then we sat out under the stars til the wee hours sharing song, drink, laughter and kinship by a toasty mesquite fire.IMG_0189
What an amazing week!

If you are interested in taking an extended acrylic inks painting class with me, I will be teaching at Hudson River Valley Arts April 9-12, 2015.

One Response to “Arrowmont and a week of painting with acrylic inks”

  1. […] hotel in Waltham, MA and met up with textile artist Sue Polansky who I met when I was teaching at Arrowmont and lives in the next town. Sue took me over to Harvard to the Natural History museum to see the […]

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