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laura summer: blessings

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Well, we did it! We managed our Dispersal of Laura Summer’s vibrant paintings even though Laura couldn’t be present. Luckily, Laura sent a lovely YouTube video in which she spoke about Dispersal and the joy of painting for us.

An intimate group enjoyed the grand, evening opportunity to socialize surrounded by healing, colorful paintings. About half the 30 pieces were dispersed, so the opportunity to become a steward of an original Laura Summer artwork still awaits you!

Anytime you want to view the work during school hours just ring the bell at Cedarwood and someone will show you to The Art Hall. Otherwise, feel free to make an appointment with Robin, our director, and she will gladly work with you. Laura’s wish is for all the paintings to be dispersed so they can do their healing work in their new homes.

We also introduced Ryley Wheeler, Cedarwood student and Robin’s mentee for his 8th grade project, a significant part of which involves creating the fliers announcing the exhibits. Almost five years ago Ryley won the school-wide naming contest for our gallery, so he had an early hand helping The Art Hall come into being!

Two of our former gallery artists were instrumental in installing the exhibit: Jannebeth Röell and Patricia Lynch. Robin is indebted for their open willingness to help! (And this is really an exceptionally well displayed exhibit!) Also, a big thank you to regulars, Ruthi Klein and Judy Levin, for graciously tending to the Dispersal and Donation tables.

Please look for another update to follow, as the Gospel of St John two-day workshop was also a grand event! We will install work from ten of the participants soon in The Art Hall with another soft opening: an opportunity to consider becoming a steward of one or more of the remaining works—Dispersal Portland 2018 Two!



laura summer: art dispersal and two-day workshop

We at The Art Hall are delighted to announce the return of Laura Summer. Four years ago, when we first hosted Laura, 36 of her paintings were dispersed. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to feature 30 new stretched canvases specifically painted for Dispersal 2018!

Laura is working to create the conditions for artists to be able to work freely: patrons can become the steward of a painting but cannot buy or own it. But in donating, the patron could at least, for example, pay for the materials to make new work, thereby supporting the artist to keep creating.

Each painting in the exhibit/dispersal will have a tag indicating a range from zero up to what the piece might typically sell for. This way of communicating encourages both artist and patron to engage in a relationship with the art and with one another.

The reflective/contemplative patron may ask herself “what can I afford to pay for this painting that so touches my soul?”, or “when I first looked at it, what did I imagine the price would be?”, or even “what can I truly afford to spend to enrich my world?”

One may donate and not become a steward. Or one may donate, become a steward, and live with the painting. Later, perhaps one then feels moved to share it with someone else, letting the artist know where the painting now lives. Or, when the painting has met its need, the steward can simply send it back to the artist, renewing the process.

Laura has said, “each painting has its work to do in the world and I want them all to be dispersed.…Color is healing for the human soul.” You can read more about Art Dispersal on the Free Columbia website, the school Laura co-founded based on the same monetary principles. Her biography appears below the post.

Many of us in the Portland and Eugene areas have been looking forward to Laura’s visit since we began planning last May. Also on the west coast agenda is a two-day workshop titled The Gospel of St John, to occur the Saturday and Sunday following Friday night’s Dispersal, adjacent to The Art Hall in the South Performance Space at Cedarwood Waldorf School.

Unfortunately, due to challenging family circumstances, Laura needs to postpone her west coast teaching schedule. However, with her heart-felt blessing and loving guidance we will proceed with the Dispersal as scheduled on Friday, January 19, 2018, and with the two-day workshop to follow (see the accompanying flier below or click here for the same details). Please continue to sign up with Robin Lieberman (503-222-1192;, who will facilitate the workshop.

We will welcome Laura back to Portland in due time. For now, we send her our blessings and gratitude as we continue to learn and grow from her creativity and teachings that she so generously shares with the world. And we are sending love to her family.

Artist’s Biography. Laura Summer is co-founder with Nathaniel Williams of Free Columbia, an arts initiative that includes a full-time program based on the fundamentals of painting as they come to life through spiritual science. It is completely grass roots donation supported and has no set tuitions. Her approach to color is influenced by Beppe Assenza, Rudolf Steiner, and by Goethe’s color theory. She has been working with questions of color and contemporary art for 30 years. Her work, to be found in private collections in the US and Europe, has been exhibited at the National Museum of Catholic Art and History in New York City and at the Sekem Community in Egypt. She has published seven books, four with painting and drawing exercises and three with stories. She founded two temporary alternative exhibition spaces in Hudson NY, 345 Collaborative Gallery and Raising Matter—this is not a gallery and initiated ART DISPERSAL 2012-17, where over 450 pieces of art by professional artists have been dispersed to the public without set prices.


jennifer thomson: the art retreat

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Jennifer Thomson’s enriching five-day Art Retreat, which took place at the Sunlight Community Building in Portland’s west hills, was attended by an enthusiastic and eager group of ten painters—some of whom had never held a brush before! Jennifer taught with love and reverence for the color beings, polarities, and composition, through well-prepared demonstrations, a sense of play, and freedom that was accessible, challenging and richly rewarding.

We all worked very hard and enjoyed well-deserved, catered lunches together, took time to observe others’ work and learn from one another, and participated in break-out sessions to talk about the work and learn yet another sketching or painting exercise. We had one large veil painting we worked on all week as well as subsequent smaller paintings and charcoal sketches, all of which helped build a layered appreciation for our tools for painting and the language for talking about our process. Some participants left the Retreat with over fifteen pieces of art!

The following are just a few of Jennifer’s gems from the Retreat:

  • Being an artist means reaching for the spiritual, beyond what’s visible; play with what you find: light and darkness/periphery and point.
  • When you get to an edge it’s an opportunity to cross the threshold: something more beautiful is waiting. Focus on the heart sphere.
  • Try to enter the painting until it becomes part of you. Try to be brave; don’t worry about what it looks like; we can salvage anything. It’s your painting! Break the balance. You’re at the threshold.
  • When you’re not sure what to do it’s good to try different approaches. Look for each step to improve: an artist’s spiritual path.
  • Everyone must discover what’s built into us in terms of how we work (Jennifer works by communicating with the color, light and dark, finding balance). And when you work something out (“ugly work”) something moves in you.
  • Get it in your bones by nature observation; then you can paint in the studio.
  • Light and darkness practice helps compositional skills. If you have a question about it try it!
  • Making art is like meditating: ritual, practice, gets harder; make it conscious when you have blocks of non-working time.

We learned to create and paint with three different grays by mixing complementary colors to give a shadowy feeling: tree trunk and branches would be the first layer, upon which we would then paint the fullness of trees from our imaginations. We also learned that the artist is always trying to achieve balance between two major forces: blue coming in and yellow going out, to experience color as alive.

We were encouraged to stretch our imaginations and reach toward the cosmos and play; to move from the periphery to the inside, drawing with charcoal to make our lines alive…creating organic, alive space, play and dance. And that we did!


jennifer thomson: show and five-day retreat!

Art Hall Jennifer Thomson September-October 2016 [8.5x11]After years of loving invitations (“might you accompany your husband, Philip Incao, MD the next time he comes to Portland?”) the legendary Jennifer Thomson has agreed to lead off our 2016 – 2017 season at The Art Hall as our September artist! In addition, Jennifer is offering a five-day painting retreat, until now exclusively held at her marvelous studio in Crestone, Colorado. Excited? Indeed!

The following excerpt is from Jennifer’s website:

Roaming the rolling hills around her childhood home in Tennessee, Jennifer developed a spiritual connection to nature. In her art, she strives to use color to reflect the “aliveness” of the natural world, to express the interweaving of the living, musical elements of light, darkness and color. Jennifer is an established fine artist and art teacher. Her Studies included, Goethe’s color theory, Rudolf Steiner’s color indications and Spiritual Science at the Beppe Assenza School of Art in Dornach Switzerland. Jennifer’s paintings are created watercolor, gouache, acrylic, encaustic, plant colors with beeswax and mixed medium on different surfaces. Jennifer’s work with students is very individual; her goal is to help students find their own path and voice through the unfolding colors. For 11 years, she was director of the Internationally known Atelier House School of Painting in New York, while continuing to develop her own work. Her students came from North America, Europe and Asia. She taught art at State Institutions for handicapped children and adults, Triform Camphill, Senior Citizen’s retirement centers, in Michigan, New York, Switzerland and Colorado.  Presently Jennifer lives in Crestone, Colorado, teaching and developing her art.

The installation of Jennifer’s paintings, featuring new work and several works on loan from private collections, took place on Tuesday, August 16, 2016. To learn more, join us for the opening reception on Friday, September,16, 2016, including Jennifer’s presentation “A Path of an Artist.” If you are interested in Jennifer’s five-day art retreat, please contact Robin Lieberman at 503-222-1192 or


pamela whitman: opening and weekend workshop

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Pamela Whitman poured warmth and wisdom from her heart and soul at her opening on Friday evening, March 11th. Drawing on her years of continuous study, independent research, teaching students, and treating clients, Pam provided a clear and accessible explanation of how Light, Color, and Darkness manifests in the three-fold nature of the human being as described by Rudolf Steiner. Pam further explained how this concept of color resulting from the interaction between light and darkness has been researched and shared along the lineage uniting not just Goethe, Steiner, and Liane Collot d’Herbois, but going as far back as Aristotle and Plato.

First, there is the connection of light with our thinking and nerve-sense system, the upper pole. Expressions such as “I see”, “a bright idea”, and “it dawned on me” all show our common experience of light as a spiritually creative principle.

The connection of darkness with our willing and metabolic/limb system, the lower pole, involves those functions usually outside of our conscious awareness or control, such as digestion, the precise details involved in how we move our limbs (e.g., lengthening this muscle while contracting that one). In this realm, whenever our awareness is heightened something is usually wrong and pain can result. Yet the darkness is also a spiritually creative impulse, as warmth, as love, as the darkness of the earth nurturing a seed until it germinates and grows toward the light, as the darkness of the womb carrying and nurturing the fetus, and even as the warmth of our bed as we sleep at night to refresh for the day to come.

Color is the meeting of the two in the middle realm, the rhythmic system of breathing and circulation. We often associate color with our sensations and emotions, e.g., feeling blue, in the pink, seeing red, etc.

As Pam further explained, she has been drawn all her life to the meeting place of science, art and spirit. She came to veil painting through Waldorf education, first taking a course with Ted Mahle. Afterwards she viewed some veil paintings in a gallery in Tahoe City, recognizing that that was the kind of veil painting she wanted to do. These paintings had been created by a student of Leszek Forczek, who had studied with Collot d’Herbois. Years later, he became her painting teacher. It was slow going at first, one workshop a year with Lois Schroff, then going to the Emerald Foundation to study the therapeutic principles behind the work, where she continues to study today. Pam seeks to learn from all the available teachers of Light, Color, and Darkness and to share this meaningful work with others.

Pam studied with Liane Collot d’Herbois during the last five years of Liane’s life and learned that doctors had sought out Liane’s impressions of their pediatric patients which followed from insights she gleaned from their paintings in the home where she worked. Liane also collaborated with Dr. Ita Wegman, who further developed and explained the connection between Light, Color, and Darkness within the human being, sharing her gift of wisdom so that others could learn it too.

Pam then described the process of veil painting, furthering our appreciation of her exhibit and the laws of color it reveals: building up layers of transparent watercolor, allowing them to dry before adding another layer, creating unique color nuances in the process; first creating a color atmosphere, then color weaving, and only later form. Creating a space in this manner for color on paper creates a space in the soul for spirit. When veil painting is created while following the laws of Light, Color, and Darkness, something in us resonates with it, recognizes it. That’s what attracts us to veil painting. Often we expect to get something from a painting, but these paintings can instead evoke something already within us and thereby help us be filled from the inside.

Pam expressed her appreciation for The Art Hall, as it is providing a space for work like this which might not be seen in regular galleries. This exhibit has been an opportunity to share her striving, her process in Light, Color, and Darkness.

Nine participants also had the benefit of immersing themselves in an intensive, two-day veil painting workshop with Pam the weekend following the opening of her exhibit at The Art Hall. In a beautiful, forested setting with floor to ceiling windows—and a pot of soup on the stove—Pam guided us further into this world of color with her finely-tuned experiments, illustrating color behind and in front of the light, and walking everyone through her “color tunnel” after reading Liane Collot-d’Herbois’ description of the movement of colors.

With this teaching, participants were then better equipped to press on with their own work with a richer understanding of how color veils were forming out of light and darkness. Pam’s clarity and compassion provided excellent support for everyone to develop improving capacity to follow the laws of color and to allow form to emerge, developing subtly at first and then more robustly over time. While our group was quite eclectic, Pam graciously met the needs of each painter. Her breadth and depth of knowledge, experience and sharing was so generous and thoughtful!

Pam’s stellar exhibit will remain hanging through April. We recommend spending some time with this work, for the healing potential is clearly felt, and encourage scheduling an appointment. Even if one was not at her presentation, Pam’s evocative veil paintings and pastels speak volumes to the human heart and soul.

Many of the works are available for purchase. Fine giclée prints and art cards are also available or can be ordered through Robin at 503-222-1192 or As has been the case for other visiting artists, Pam will be donating 50% of all sales to The Art Hall (a kind of pay-it-forward gesture!) in support of the Hall’s ongoing growth. Current proceeds are intended to help us procure gallery-quality lighting.

Thank you, Pamela Whitman. You have graced us all with your beautiful spirit and art. We look forward to your return!