Seriously where did a year go? I am embarrassed to see how much time has lapsed since my last blog post. It is not that I haven’t been busy. I have been busy, sometimes too busy for safety’s sake! There have been four workshops to organize and take, paintings to complete, exhibitions to organize as well as special events. And I cannot forget the family events like my daughter’s wedding last fall! The last of the four workshops I organized happens two weeks from now and then I will be done with workshops for the rest of this year. But oh, wait there is next year! Something to tackle another day.

While I still whittle away at the copious notes I took during this year’s Portrait Society of America Conference(soon to be published here) , I thought I would tell you about my trip of a lifetime this past week. I flew to NYC last Sunday and on Monday began a five day dream workshop with Burt Silverman.  This had been something on my bucket list for a long time. I could have pinched myself that morning sitting in his studio in the Upper West Side of NYC surrounded by his artwork on every wall as well as sketchbooks, racks of unframed work available for us to view. We were six of the luckiest people in the world this past week.

For four days we drew every morning for three hours and painted every afternoon for the same. It was hard work. And it was a struggle for all of us. Burt either worked along with us or came to make suggestions on what you could do to make the drawing or painting stronger. He will tell you like it is but is kind and patient in his manner. There were many ‘aside’ conversations along the way. Burt gave us insights into a different way of viewing art today.

My favorite Burt-isms, as I like to call them, were the following:

~ ‘ Two electrical wires together create a current. Slightly separated they create a spark. Go for the spark!’
~ ‘Value: find the form, the details will follow.’
~ ‘ Exercise your visual memory.’
There is so much more from this past week I still need to digest.

On the fifth and final day of the workshop, Burt arranged for us to view actual drawings by Ingres and Degas in the Print Room of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were privy to drawings from 1808 and later. It was absolutely amazing to see them up close and personal and to have Burt’s comments regarding the line and value. We were then treated to works in the Met through the eyes of Burt Silverman for much of the afternoon before we all bid adieu.

My art supplies are being shipped back from Burt’s studio tomorrow and I hope to have them by midweek. When the box arrives and I open my sketchbook it will be another fond memory of this past week. I will see the progression, however small, from my very first sketch of the model the morning of day one to the very last sketch I did on day four. I was making small jumps each day. I can’t wait!

This trip was out of my comfort zone for sure. I was traveling alone, walking into a class where I knew no one, and putting myself under the scrutiny of a living master. The end result is that I am the richer for it. I gained five new friends and had the privilege to listen and learn from this wonderful man.

Now tomorrow off to my studio to see what I can assimilate into my own work! It most definitely was the experience of a lifetime.