Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Back from ArtFest

I just got back from an amazing time teaching two all-day Drawing workshops at ArtFest in Port Townsend, Washington. My students were everything I hoped they would be: adventurous, good humored, and incredible company! They were sporting enough to wear the funny blindfolds I made for them while they drew without looking for the first ten minutes of class:

It was wonderfully surreal to have a room full of people wearing masks with giant unblinking eyes, all sitting in a room together. I couldn't help but want to snap a few pictures...
I told my students that they could all keep the masks if they promised to wear them in public within the next 10 days. I expect to be emailed photo documentation from each and every one of them any day now.
The last evening of ArtFest ends with a gallery show of all the work that was made by the 500 plus students over the long weekend. It's mind blowing! I tried to take pictures of all of the awesome work my students did, but the lighting didn't allow for the best pictures. The image above is by Jim Sorensen from my Saturday class. You can't really see the beautiful fine lines and textures he made from this photograph but you can get an idea.
These ones are by Josephine Chan from my Friday class. I wish you could see all the interwoven words and characters in this photo. She told me she didn't draw at all before this, but has now started to keep a sketch book! I hope I'll get to see more of her drawings sometime! She was an inspiring person to talk to.These pieces are by Karen Scudder, from my Saturday Class. I love those people and animal characters that emerged from the lines in that piece on the left. Very cool.
This one's by Peggy Duffner from my Friday class. It's beautiful! I wish I could show everything that my students did. They were unstoppable! ArtFest is one of the most amazing and inspiring events that I've very gotten to be a part of, and I feel pretty lucky that a goofball like me can end up in front of a classroom full of people willing to do silly things to explore their own minds.
Here's a photo of my good friend and fellow ArtFest teacher, Keith LoBue carrying a very strange painting. There's a story behind it: A few years ago, Keith and I, along with our other excellent friend, Tracy Moore, looked at this painting in an antique shop in Port Gamble, Washington. The painting is very haunting and creepy, yet strangely intriguing and funny. Definitely the work of some unknown outsider artist. The three of us rashly vowed that if the painting was still there the next time we were in that town, then we would each pay 1/3 of the price and co-own it together. I had thought that we were joking, but this year Keith called upon us to make good on our vows, and I now proudly own 1/3 of the painting. We've been taking pictures of the painting in various locations in order to document the adventures of these mutant children. Once every year the painting must change hands, and be hung somewhere in our house as part of our co-owner's duty. Keith gets it first. He lives in Australia, so I'm safe for a little while. Before I had to catch my train home to Portland, I got to spend half a day with a group of Tracy's excellent friends who were visiting from New York and California to help at ArtFest. We went wandering around at Gassworks Park in Seattle, which is filled with the most amazing antique machinery. This place gets me thinking about all kinds of ideas.
I'm probably going to have to draw a 3-eyed character with a gaping mouth, based off of the above piece of machinery.
Well, time to unpack my bags and get back to work on my other projects now!


  1. OH, I've been waitng and longing to see some documentation from artfest here I sit in Norway- so far, far away.. Enjoyed the ones you posted here. The painting you are the co- owner of, reminded me a little of this artist/illustrator in norway.. Here is the link:

  2. Being from Seattle, I'm not sure if I can top a comment all the way from Norway (isn't the internet great?), but I have to confess: while I love Capacity and all your other work, having seen the way you ran the class and what your students produced, it's obvious you'd be an excellent art teacher. It's inspiring to see how enthusiastic the students made you too. I was unable to attend Art Fest, but I'm sure they would be flattered to see that you featured their work on your blog.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is keep up the teaching- looks like you're great at it! (Signed: a shameless librarian student in Seattle)

  3. WOW!! Looks like you had great classes. The students always make the classes great. I want to take one your classes sooooo bad!! Congrats on your ownership of that painting. Looks totally cool. Thanx for the trip to Artfest. Sharon

  4. Had to comment after seeing Pam Garrison's post about this class. Just another reason I have GOT TO GET TO ARTFEST one of these years (maybe JOURNALFEST this year?) I want to take THIS CLASS! And I want to see that creepy painting in person! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Theo!

    I tried to send you something but your mailbox said it was full-so I put it here for you to see:

    Thanks for sharing your amazing worlds with us! Love your new book!
    Have a great day!

  6. Those eye masks are ahhh wild! lol. very cool.

  7. Theo, I was supposed to be undercover in that picture - obviously some ne'er-do-well with a long telephoto lens has exposed our art heist. Clear your email box so you can see the retouching job I've done, putting you and I into that painting. Yikes.

  8. i have to say, your class is the first one i've seen that has excited me since i dropped out. i'm so jealous of your students, i would absolutely wear that mask all over the place!
    you're amazing!