On our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, we were able to take a one day workshop at Casa de los Artistas with Robert Masla and guest teacher Donna Esterbrooks. Robert's students come and spend one week with accommodation and instruction and even some cultural outings planned in, a very nice set up for the art student of many levels.
The morning workshop was lead by Robert Malsa and had us working with black and white conté and charcoals, making marks on paper and then passing them along to the next person to continue until our papers made it the whole way around the table. What a fun exercise and a great way for the students to meet each other as artists spending a week together. It was a good way to collaborate and to not “own” the piece, to let it go and grow in oftentimes very unexpected directions. Robert had not told us not to add colors so I reached for some of my own drawing sticks and added some areas of color. I also added folding to mine and others picked away in tears and bits from the soft sheets of off-white watercolor paper. The results were quite interesting and made an interesting whole composition when spread out on the floor at the end of the morning.
Lunch was prepared for us and served on the balcony below the studio deck overlooking the tiny well protected shallow bay filled with fishing boats or “pangas”. A short walk along the jungly trail lead into the tiny village with palapa restaurants serving grilled fish and yummy skewers of grilled prawns. Super! The bay was very protected so the beach is very safe for swimming, no big waves or undertow.
Donna Estabrook’s collage class was quite a departure for me and I was quite pleased with my resulting small pieces which I worked on as a pair. She had us build up layers and textures with tissue paper and collage materials before working on top with acrylic paints. We had all written down some “prompts” and then worked with that prompt to build up intuitively rather than in any pre-planned manner. Some of the prompts were add letters, draw with your left hand and other much more imaginative ones that brought spontaneity and surprise to the pieces. Donna was a good teacher and I’m glad I got an afternoon workshop in with her. The other students had a whole week, lucky ducks!
I was happy to have the 2 small workshops with the 2 teachers, a good boost to my year ahead on my artist journey.
Dennis enjoyed his day out so much he went back the following Sunday for an entire day of water-color with Robert Masla and came back with some lovely results in wash and tonal values.