Zoe Cohen instructs students on the complexities of color and composition in this week’s second edition of Exploring Abstraction!

On the coast of Oregon, there is a very special art center that sits at the confluence of the Pacific ocean, the Salmon river estuary, the coastal Sitka spruce forest, and Cascade head. This art center is called the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, @sitkacenter and I always feel like a salmon swimming home when I return. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sitka shaped me in so many ways. In 2007, I spent the Summer living at Sitka and helped with over 100 art & ecology workshops. I later returned as an interim program manager in 2008. It was an education in Pacific Northwest artists that still shapes my understanding of the community today. I met so many of the greats - the working artists of the Pacific Northwest. Seeing how Bill Park @williamparkart painted, and Larry Thomas drew, and Pat Wheeler invested so much of her soul into her work, changed the way I worked, forever. Andie Thrams took people hiking into the forest to paint and bind elaborate books. And not only art, they taught me - little things, too. Andie always brought extra supplies, and invited me to paint with her, and that small kindness made such an impact on me. Ever since then, when I teach, I always bring a few extra supplies in case the staff or the intern wants to join in.
At Sitka, I also got a real look at how tough it can be to make a career as a working artist. I met hundreds of artists and many were quite frank with me. It was at Sitka, when sculptor MJ Anderson asked me about my BFA thesis work, and I responded with too much humility & hesitation. She said to me:
"No one is going to give a damn about your work unless you do." Oh, was she right, and I have never forgotten her words!
Tell me what your special "returning home" place is!
Pictured is a large scale reproduction (gallery-wrapped canvas) of my painting “Weave Me into the Sea”. For sale in my art shop, check it out!!

Portland area artists, are you looking to improve your social media skills? Here’s a great opportunity to learn from an expert @jesscolumbo - Fri, Nov 2 in Portland during Sitka’s Art Invitational week. Only $45 for a 90-minute workshop, learn more via the link in bio. #sitkaartinvitational #sitkacenter #socialskills #artistsoninstagram #artbiz

In Kelp: Cut, Curl and Coil @heatherjfortner and workshop participants give new life to dried kelp through their whimsical creations!

SARA SWINK’S ceramic sculpture workshop starts today at SITKA. ROWBOAT has a great selection of her recent work. Just up the road in Pacific City.

Curious what it’s like to be a resident at Sitka’s Grass Mountain property? Follow #hibikikamalagrassmountainresidency and you can go along for the ride with Hibiki and Kamala, our Art Invitational resident artists now exploring this remarkable coastal meadow-and-forest landscape. Then join us for the open house on Saturday Aug. 4, details at link in bio! #sitkacenter #grassmountain #ecology #oregoncoast #artresidency #sitkaartinvitational2018

Does characterization in fiction and nonfiction writing interest you? A quote from Francis Bacon illustrates the bold characterization and detail of experience @thebraverypen will help you develop in The World is Your Character workshop. Aug 18-19. Follow the link in the description to register!

Stepped into the abstract for afew days...out of my comfort zone, was a mental experience, lots of fun accented with moments of doubt and concentration! Thank you Ruri @ruriclaywork and @whereis_shaz for joining me! #sitkacenter

New abstract direction happening at Abstracted Nature ceramic workshop @sitkacenter with instructor @ruriclaywork. Thank you for a wonderful workshop!
#optimismandco #learning #freshwork #abstraction #ceramics #sitkacenter #mountain #twisted #prayerrock #oregoncoast #cave #crevice

What a beautiful evening! Thank you to our guest speaker, artist @muralsbyhector Hector Hernandez, who shared with us his journey through mural painting, celebrating communities and their relationship to nature. Thanks also to the many wonderful people who attended last night. Mark your calendars for next month’s Mingle and Muse featuring artist Maya Vivas on Monday, August 20.
#sitkacenter #oregoncoast #muralartist #publicart

Many hands playing in clay! This week @ruriclaywork Ruri is guiding this group to create abstract sculptural pieces in Smith studio... #handsonlearning #artworkshops #playinclay #clayworkshop #natureinspired #oregoncoast #oregon #sitkacenter

@ravenpress_art ‘s workshop students reflect the natural world, including the majestic Sitka spruce, through woodcut relief printing.

I have an AMAZING group of students this week! Just lookie at what they’ve created! (And most of them have never ventured into printmaking before this!) I’m SO excited for them and inspired by them 💜! @sitkacenter .
#luckyteacher #worldofwoodcuts #printmaking #justcarve #sitkacenter #reliefprint #oregon #livefullymakeart #getinky #amazing #oregonarts

I learned a lot of new techniques at the Colors of the West watercolor workshop this weekend with Molly Hashimoto. It's really inspiring to be in that kind of positive learning space. I was so frustrated with the top Crater Lake picture I started over, but Molly and another student encouraged me to go back to it after a break, and then it came together better, though I still an not finished with the mountains and trees. The other students' pieces are also in the pics if you scroll. 2/2 classes I signed up for this summer after wanting to go to the Sitka Center for like 5 years. Sometimes you have to make priorities and then just make it happen! #sitkacenter #sitkacenterforartandecology

It’s a bright, sunny day at Sitka! Have you stopped by to say “hi” yet? There’s still spots available in workshops this summer! Click the link in our bio to sign up.

As I sat reading a book on the beach in Pacific City, I looked up, suddenly, as a whale spouted out in the sea. I cannot explain why I was called to look up at that moment, while I was immersed deeply in the story of the book. It simply called my attention at the precise moment that the gray whale spouted. I felt guided to see it. Guided - now, is that just my meaning-making mind, inventing a story? Was I guided? The scientist in me shouts “peripheral vision!” and the artist in me shouts “trust the mystery!” .
Whenever I am painting, I feel the same. What is it that guides me to make the next mark, and then the next? Whatever it is that guides my eyes, my hands, and helps me to paint paintings and sight whales, I am so grateful for that sixth sense that is attuned to beauty and wonder, and the chance that it gave me to sight a creature so grand. .
This is a new painting, that I made as a demonstration during my time teaching at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast. I’m exploring new horizons, literally, while incorporating landscapes into the patterned foliage that we know and love. I’m so excited about all the paintings that the workshop participants made, too and how i changed up the format of my workshop. I will share more in the coming days...

@annamieka_ ‘s students outside Boyden Studio, reflecting on what they discovered through their mixed media paintings.

Photos from the Art of Seaweed workshop at Sitka Center, taught by Jill Powers of Boulder Colorado. The weaving uses the midrib of the winged kelp as the warp and weave. #seaweedart. #sitkacenter #seaweeds #seafernstudio

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