"View of Highland Park" by Miriam McClung, 1965. Watercolor on cloth. 37" x 42".
"View of Highland Park" by Miriam McClung, 1965. Watercolor on cloth. 37" x 42".

Reflections: Art Workshops

Workshops around the country significantly influenced my art along with museums. Workshops, if one stayed a week or two, were a holiday—a time to meet other artists and have a wonderful teaching experience. The best part of some of the workshops are the places you stay, and seeing another part of the country. I learn something either consciously or otherwise from all the teachers, and mainly from other students, who were far better than I was. The best teacher is still getting out there in nature or in front of a model learning how to see. Painting and art is an endless path.

Workshops in the Southeast

In addition to the Burnsville Painting Classes, I attended a workshop by Albert Handell who conducted a class in Atlanta, Georgia. His pastels are so beautiful, and to see him demonstrate one realized what a gift he had in color technique and love of the medium.

I also attended a workshop with a pastel artist in Cataloochee, North Carolina. The artist there had done many works in the area, and I learned a lot about technique from him. Some of my most favorite works are from there, and the crest of the mountain at the Swag Inn. Also I spent time at a friends house at High Hampton, North Carolina. In the early morning I went out by the pasture and did drawings of the horses etc. North Carolina is a superb place to go in the South for painting and drawing.

One year I attended a workshop by artist Eric Weingart in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I learned a lot about watercolor and technique, but mostly admired his color and the flowers he painted.

Workshops Across the United States

One of the most unusual workshops was in Maine. I saw the advertisement in an art magazine, and stayed in an inn in Tenants Harbor. I have never had such delicious meals. I painted water color there. I would be out doing a water color, and all of a sudden a mist would come in and just cover you and the work. I saw the house that Andrew Wyeth painted with the bucket and window at the top. Christina’s world no one will ever forget. Only did one thing I liked there, The Little Harbor, a small sketch now lost.

Another good workshop was in Pearl Buck’s Barn in up in Buck County, Pennsylvania. The countryside is so different and right out of the movies with the little towns. The workshop was conducted by Bob Rohm. He was a good teacher, very kind, and quite a good artist. I remember well his demonstration by the river.

Daniel Greene and Alan Flatman are both well known pastel artists whose workshops I attended and learned a lot watching them draw.

Birmingham, Alabama Art Workshops

So many Birmingham artists are gone now. Max Helman that had a class at Little House on Linden. Doye Fellows, Doris Kennedy, and Arthur Stewart too. Rolina Oblelby is probably the most popular pastel artist in Birmingham. She has been giving instruction for years. I enjoyed taking from her to do drawings in Aldridge Gardens in Hoover, Alabama, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and particularly at the Birmingham Museum of Art. It was a treat to stand in front of a Corot, a Sargent, and try to figure out how they did something even if not in the same medium.

Another fun class there was the one of sculpture. Having never done a head in clay was a new experience. Billy Wilson had a night class there of portrait and the figure. He was a bit of a genius in portrait painting and the most laid back artist and kind I have ever met.