Daddy's Christmas Angel

Sunday, June 19, 2016

There's Something About Being with "Creatives"

Mary Ann Beckwith talks about art ©Mary Montague Sikes
I just returned from a week-long visit to Boone NC where I spent five days with nine other "creatives" in Mary Ann Beckwith's experimental painting class. Since I first met Mary Ann in 2005, I have loved her. The atmosphere around her overflows with excitement and positive energy. I listened to her and watched her painting demos, and I just wanted to paint, paint, paint. Sadly, Beckwith plans to retire from teaching workshops and concentrate on her own work. This was her next to last workshop. The last one will be in October 2017 in Austin TX.

Being with other "creatives" in this class was special. I didn't feel the jealousy or competition that sometimes develops in art workshop classes. Instead, there was high energy focus that led me to new ideas and thoughts about making and finishing art. Much of Mary Ann's direction is toward developing design in paintings.

I remembered my early painting classes with Thomas Thorne at the College of William and Mary. He talked about design in artwork then, but it didn't make the impression on me that it should have. I was too enthralled by the intense color of my newly-discovered tubes of acrylic paint to care about anything else. I wanted to be a colorist. I had started out with oil paints that dulled with my overuse of turpentine. I didn't like the smell or the slow drying of the oil materials. Acrylics cleaned with soap and water. I loved them.

Now Mary Ann has taught me to like watercolor paints, especially those manufactured by Robert Doak in his studio in Brooklyn NY. I first painted with those intense watercolors 11 years ago and have been excited by them every since. Because both watercolors and acrylics are water media, I can mix them.

I hated to come home and leave the wonderful intense atmosphere of Mary Ann's workshop at Cheap Joe's in Boone. But I am inspired and thankful for the opportunity to have been with other "creatives". There is just something about them...
Workshop Class at Cheap Joe's ©Mary Montague Sikes


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti - sounds like you've found your niche for developing those design aspects ... lovely to read about the Doak water colours ... and to know you've found inspiration via Mary Ann and her class - enjoy practising .. cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you had an opportunity to catch one of her last classes. Now, go paint something amazing!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

When the teacher is passionate, it makes all the difference, and I'm sure you'll miss her classes when she retires from them.

I bet it was beautiful in Boone.

Birgit said...

I am envious and happy that you have had the chance to be part of this painting experience. It sounds like not only a great painting experience from someone who knows her stuff but a great time with fellow artists. How great!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Hilary. I do so love to paint in an experimental way. If I start with a design in mind, that's a huge help.

Alex, I hope!!!

Diane, she is so very special. I don't know what it was like in Boone. I was focused on art all day until almost 6 p.m., Monday - Friday. We had dinner, and I collapsed. Never went anywhere in Boone.

Birgit, it was. I thought of you while there because Mary Ann is living 6 months a year in Canada now!