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katie montgomery: a photographic journey with the bees

As an Early Childhood Teacher with the Woodland Garden Program, our featured artist is affectionately known as Ms. Katie in the Cedarwood Waldorf School Community. She has been an early childhood teacher for five years and a caretaker for children for over a decade. Her interest in photography was sparked in her early years of college when she often wandered through the local gardens and was enchanted by the flora and fauna. Born and raised just outside of Los Angeles, California, Katie has been a nature and bee appreciator since her youngest years.

Katie studied Conservation and Resources Studies at the University of California Berkeley with a specialization in School Garden Education. She was invited to work with a research team which focused on native bee diversity in urban areas. Katie initially contributed to this work with visits to schools where she taught children about the many gifts of pollinators and helped to demystify the fears surrounding bees. She soon joined her mentor in conservation research, traveling to gardens throughout California to monitor native bee species. During her time closely observing bees, Katie discovered her passion for macro photography.

Katie is completing her last year of Waldorf Teacher Training at the Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, where she has spent much time in between classes sitting in the Biodynamic gardens to quietly view the blooming flowers and their winged foragers.

A Photographic Journey with the Bees offers a uniquely intimate perspective on the honeybees and native bees of Portland. Katie’s work shows how, if one observes and listens closely, the bees of the world offer messages of wisdom and wonder. Katie is also currently writing a children’s book about native bees, and she dreams of one day creating a bee sanctuary in her community.

Please join us for Katie’s opening reception on Thursday, April 27, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., with an artist’s talk at 6:00. Her beautiful work will hang through Thursday, June 1.

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regional sketch group exhibition 2017: imagination and inspiration

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This unusual exhibit is the first of its kind for the Art Hall. Rather than displaying finished works our artists from the Regional Artists Sketch Group were asked to share their sketches, their research, allowing us a glimpse at their processes. (Frame a sketch you say? Why yes! We see many framed sketches of great artists’ work in museums!) The resulting show reveals varied qualities of the artists and their work: imagination, inspiration, courage, beauty, love, devotion, joy, perseverance, community, and even the alchemical merging of earthly and cosmic forces, to name just a few.

The works invite the viewer to participate in our artists’ processes as they investigated nature, working from Rudolf Steiner’s Nine Nature Sketches for Artists for guidance. While one can see some similarities in the various artists’ work, the differences are equally apparent and illuminating. Whether viewing a large single motif or a series of smaller sketches elaborating upon a theme, an abstract work or something more representational, one can experience the living quality of color in the range of possibilities.

Wade Cavin, High School Life Sciences and Mathematics teacher at Portland Waldorf School, enriched the understanding and appreciation of those fortunate to be present at the opening reception through his eloquent and clear presentation, briefly and impressionistically summarized below, including a description of each of the nine sketches which came out of Wade’s meditation on prints of Steiner’s work.

These first three express spiritual warmth and light, followed by the gradual emergence of earthly influences, death, and then a harmonic integration of all.

  • Sketch #1: the main thing: it is a warm color sketch
  • Sketch #2: the Sun; what was orange is now red, and some blue appears
  • Sketch #3: blue now surrounds the cosmic image…the Sun…the moon phase
  • Sketch #4: earthly; nothing cosmic; green and a mysterious yellow/orange (warmth again) streaming through, with some brown flat green.
  • Sketch #5: appearance of black (death), with yellow and greens in the trees; lifeless black below, warmth in the trees
  • Sketch #6: both earthly and heavenly qualities; enter a strange blue
  • Sketch #7: more earthly brown; the cosmic is now entering the earth; the alchemical merging of cosmos and earth has a circular aspect
  • Sketch #8: sunrise 2; a cosmic sun on the horizon like #7, with a triangle, often the symbol of light, while the circle is warmth
  • Sketch #9: we achieve harmonic composition

The original works of Steiner invite us to delve more deeply into our own capacity for imagination and inspiration. Color is not just physical; it also has a spiritual component, a subjective quality that comes through the spiritual world. How do we approach this and know what’s going on; how do we engage with our consciousness, other than simply feeling?

Steiner told us that in the future we will be able to see color not attached to an object. So, what’s out there in nature? For example, what is this black telling us? How can I work with the warmth quality, life quality (green), with lively blue all around them? How do we develop the new eye for these; how does warmth turn into light…and into death? How can we be inspired by color into this new sensing? What is inspiring us into color can really change our level of inspiration.”

The works will hang through February 23. We invite you to see this interesting and compelling exhibit, preferably by appointment, with Robin Lieberman (503-222-1192) or one of the artists. And if you are interested in purchasing a piece, please contact the same.

Portland Group

  • Wade Cavin
  • Carrie Gibbons
  • James Lee
  • Patricia Homan Lynch
  • Jannebeth Roell

Eugene Group

  • Barbora Bakalarova
  • Phyllis Helland
  • Kathy Reardon
  • Marcia Seymour

Corvallis/Eugene

  • Laurie McCloskey

And last, thank you to Patricia Homan Lynch, one of the artists, for taking up the work of matting and framing many of these works and, once again, for her keen eye in hanging the exhibit!

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regional sketch group exhibition 2017: studies of nine training sketches of nature moods for painters by rudolf steiner

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In the summer of 2014 Laura Summer, founder of Free Columbia art school and a 2014 Art Hall artist, offered a workshop based on Rudolf Steiner’s Nine Training Sketches of Nature Moods for Painters, in Corvallis, Oregon. Artists from Portland, Eugene, Corvallis and elsewhere in the region were inspired to further pursue their investigations. We at The Art Hall are now pleased and privileged to offer an exhibition of ten participating artists’ interpretations of their artistic research.

Please join us to meet the artists at our opening reception on Friday, January 13th, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m., and take in a presentation by Wade Cavin, High School Life Sciences and Mathematics teacher at Portland Waldorf School, who will introduce these studies in his typically comprehensive and engaging style. To learn more about the week-long workshop which gave rise to the works please read fellow 2014 Art Hall artist Patricia Lynch’s personal reflections in the January 2017 newsletter of The Portland Branch of the Anthroposophical Society.

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valerie miles: working out of anthroposophy

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A loving crowd representing various periods in Valerie Miles’s career as teacher and artist here in Portland attended her opening reception for Playing with Color, Rhythm and Form: students, from high school seniors who were in her last 8th grade class at the Micha-el School to a fourth grader who had Valerie in her first year; parents of students; Waldorf teacher colleagues; artists; other professionals in our community; and her ever-present husband and partner in life, John—all eager to hear her eloquent presentation amidst her gorgeous and riveting works of art.

Valerie took to the podium with the familiarity, ease and confidence of a professional. She began her inspiring presentation declaring that her life’s work comes out of anthroposophy and how out of personal tragedy, losing someone very close, she came to work with color, learning from the well-known German painter, Karo Bergman. In this relationship (Karo spoke no English and Valerie spoke no German!) they communicated through the being and essence of color. After this time in Germany Valerie and her family returned to England, enrolled their children in a Waldorf School, and John and she began their training. She told us that Waldorf Education contains every aspect of anthroposophy and has the power to heal and change lives, most of that streaming through the Arts.

Valerie delighted us with a story of awareness, explaining how one of her teachers once said, “an artist should not be a teacher”. Her reflections:

That’s an interesting concept and I had never thought about it before. Now I can think about it…I like it! Why did she say that? I think as an artist now I can just start to feel the communication that I need to bring the forces, and what I see behind those forces, and bring them into the Arts. When you’re a teacher you’re always preparing, marking, giving out, going to meetings…You can’t hold that space, not if you’re a Waldorf teacher. I’m just about getting to that place. But what I found most of all, most satisfying, and this has always been so, ever since the work with Karo Bergman and later at Tobias School of Art, and (with) many other teachers: that power of color.

We’re forgetting what’s in our environment…what’s God-given, if you like, what sustains us. The power of color, all that rhythm that lives, how it changes…This is why I’ve always been so fascinated by the seasons and what’s happening.

Sharing her process Valerie said: I’m a very fair weather artist and I have to be in the mood. But I’m getting past that a bit…If I feel inspired I just take a color—any color—and put it on paper and then another color and another and I just play with them; I literally play with them and hope—there’s a lot of trust involved here— “is something going to turn out?” And fortunately, a lot of times it does work! It’s a trust process.

Most telling, a child in the captive audience asked a question at the end of Valerie’s presentation “What inspires you?” Valerie’s beautiful response was “children, like you, who are closest to the spiritual world.”

Thank you, Valerie, for your dedication to the Arts, anthroposophy, your impeccably executed work, and a most beautiful exhibit at the Art Hall! Many, many beings received the healing power of the color you shared. We hope you’ll come back!

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valerie miles: playing with color, rhythm, and form

valerie-miles-october-november-2016-8-5x11We at the Art Hall are delighted and honored to exhibit the gloriously colorful work of Valerie Miles, a pillar in Portland’s Waldorf and larger anthroposophic communities for years with her husband, John.

Valerie was born and raised in Nottingham in the English Midlands. She found satisfaction as a young child in drawing the nature that she saw around her. Valerie later studied at Nottingham College of Art and then at Hatfield University, gaining her first degree in Art and Literature.

Valerie raised her children in Germany. While there Karo Bergman, a well-known anthroposophic artist and professor at Dusseldorf University, invited Valerie to paint and draw with her on a regular basis, which they did for several years in Karo’s studio.

After the family returned to England, Valerie trained as a Waldorf Teacher and then first taught the History of Art in the High School. One of her first pupils, Gill David, is now the Director of Tobias School of Art and Art Therapy.

Soon afterwards Valerie became a Class Teacher, taking her first class through Grade 8. Partway through her third class the family moved to Canada and then at last here to Portland, Oregon. She again taught as a Class Teacher at the Portland Waldorf School.

Valerie then trained as an Art Therapist at Tobias and later, with her husband, John, founded and taught at the Micha-el School, which offers a full kindergarten through Grade 8 Waldorf education. She also has taught at the Micha-el Institute, especially at Summer Conferences, which among other things has provided teacher training and continuing education for many of Waldorf teachers in the Portland area and beyond.

Valerie has now retired and is developing her own work, “playing” with color, rhythm and form. Please join us for the Opening Reception Thursday, October 27, 5-7:30 and Valerie’s presentation at 6:00. Private viewing can easily be arranged by contacting Robin, at 503-222-1192 or robin@robinlieberman.net.

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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!