In September of last year the FCA held a week long workshop at The Haven on Gabriola Island. Four instructors, 80 students and several Senior Status FCA members (that's where I fit in) as invited guests who floated amidst it all and "shared the beach" as a perk for their contributions to the organization. I didn't go. Liz Wiltzen and Sarah Kidner did and they reported that it was an arena I would have revelled in; that I should have been there! The format was the same this year, I put my name in the hat and was drawn, but they were not. http://artists.ca/art_courses/gabriola_workshop_2010
When I told my long-time friend, Sharlene, that I was attending she signed herself up as a student. http://sitekreator.com/stushnov/main_page.html Sharlene lives in Victoria and we don't often have the opportunity to be together, so for the better part of a year we looked forward to our time on Gabriola.
With Sharlene, arriving at The Haven, September 13th, 2010
Our ground floor room in the back of the Haven Haus building
Rooms at The Haven seemed vastly varied and we shared a really cool one with another "SFCA Floater". I'd never met Marilyn Timms before and was delighted to find that we have a similar humour and energy around making art. http://www.timmsfineart.com/
The 80 students were divided into groups of 20. The groups followed a different instructor each day, and were exposed to four different plein air painting sites. In order to take it all in I followed Sharlene's group. Day one, September 14th, we went to Berry Point and spent it with Brent Heighton http://www.brentheighton.com/ The day started out foggy but it cleared off and became the most perfect day of all; hot and sunny.
Brent's instruction was well thought out and succinct. In his sketch book, he painted a black and white, acrylic value study of his subject before taking on the image, in acrylic, on his large canvas. After his demo, he spent the rest of the day circulating with and helping his students.
Students watching Brent paint
I chose to paint the lighthouse and buildings on the island with shoreline rocks and tidal pools in the foreground.
That evening I participated in a panel discussion with six other SFCAs including moderator and general organizer of the "camp" Janice Robertson. http://www.janicerobertoson.ca/ This was especially helpful for me in that it enabled me to get to know the other SFCA artists who, for the most part, live on the west coast. Through the questions and our answers, I felt that the students had some of the mysteries which surround signature members revealed.