Ah Haa’s Painting School This Fall

Inspiring creativity on the deepest level

Pinkney, Wave Hill

Pinkney, Wave Hill

When Robert Weatherford, board member and director of the center’s Telluride Painting School, Ah Haa School for the Arts, talks about painting, he doesn’t speak about technical skills. Instead the emphasis  is on the important journey that all artists must take to discover their own unique voices, as well as the courage it takes to express that voice in their work.

This year’s Telluride Painting School features six weeks of classes taught by Weatherford and two other handpicked visiting artists, Sam Levy and Pinkney Herbert. Centered on abstraction, each two-week session will help guide artists toward connecting with the emotions that drive their impulse to create. Classes run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday and give students 24-hour access to the painting studio in between  Tuition for each class is $1,000, not including materials and model fees.

The first two-week block, The Figure and Abstraction with Sam Levy, runs Oct. 13- 24; the second two-week block, Abstract Landscape Painting as Self Portrait with Pinkney Herbert, runs Oct. 27 to Nov. 7, and the last block, Finding Your Voice Through Abstraction with Robert Weatherford, runs Nov. 10-21. All classes take place in the Ah Haa’s Daniel Tucker Gallery at the Depot.

Weatherford is not only excited about the focus of each workshop, but also the complementary philosophy of each workshop’s instructor. He describes Levy as a teacher “with great feeling,” who is well grounded in the essentials of art, but also places a strong focus on guiding students from the beginning to find their own emotional voice.

A New York Studio School faculty member, Levy will instruct his Telluride students as to how to become visually conscious as they explore alternative ways of drawing the figure to create significant and meaningful images.

Sacred Profane

Sacred Profane

“When you are working from a figure you are interpreting what you are seeing,” Weatherford said. “It’s a whole semester on abstraction. We’re inviting people to loosen up and refresh themselves. It’s a way to shake up their way of working.”

Herbert’s class will explore the idea that every painting is a self portrait. Taking inspiration from the landscape, students will be encouraged to make personal connections to their surroundings while using an improvisational approach to their art making and developing an abstract visual language. Although this is not a plein air class, students will have vast sources of inspiration as they observe Telluride’s dramatic scenery in its most dramatic season.

“We’re using the term landscapes loosely,” Weatherford said. “Herbert is an abstract painter himself and does six- to seven-foot paintings. We want artists to source the natural world, then make it their own.”

With studios in New York and Memphis and an extensive teaching background, Weatherford describes Herbert as a “great communicator who can take people to a new place. So much of instructing people is getting them to feel safe and trust what is happening so they can go in a new direction and grow.” 

Pinkney, self portrait

Pinkney, self portrait

The Telluride Painting School’s final two-week intensive, Finding Your Voice Through Abstraction, will be taught by Weatherford, who will further guide students toward connecting with their emotions, or “roots,” which ultimately defines how they interpret the world and, thus, influences what fills their blank canvases.

According to Ah Haa School Curriculum Director Jessica Newens, Weatherford is a master at helping his students connect with their own creative process and they adore him for that

“He doesn’t teach technique,” Newens explains. “He teaches students how to paint from their emotions – to convey something on the paper that is deeply meaningful. People just love his classes; they get a lot out of them. He has a large following.”

Although Telluride Painting School classes are open to beginning-level artists, they offer an elevated level of rigor, so some previous drawing and painting experience is recommended.

Queen to Queen

Queen to Queen

More information, lodging packages, and registration is available online or call 728-3886.

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