Friday, August 24, 2012

Revealing the Enchantment

Sunset at Forest Retreat
Recently, my friend Meg has been waxing enthusiastic about a substantial volume, A History of American Tonalism: 1880 - 1920 by David A Cleveland. So enlivened was she by the book that she brought it to the One Day Wonder Workshop where we turned page after page, each with wondrous images.  It made me think; what is it about tonalist paintings that grabs me so? The answer I always come back to is that the tonalist painters recognized the essential truth that our everyday world is enchanted.  You don't have to be in the middle of a magical forest to experience this. You can be drawing a curtain at dusk and notice the dogwood blazing bronzy-gold against cool evening shadows. Enchantment is there everyday for all of us. Perhaps the tonalists focus on the most fleeting times of day, especially dusk and the most fleeting season, Autumn, but these charmed sights exist for all but the most imprisoned to enjoy.

       Lately, I have also been musing over why I am so taken with teaching. My classes and workshops are organized around using watercolor and pastel to make paintings.  It is rewarding to witness people, who are often dismissive of their abilities, create something which expresses their own keen sense of beauty.  Their own particular gifts shine: deft drafting, dynamic design, luminous color or rich texture. Much of the time, it is something indescribable. Without exception, there has been some aspect of each participant's work that touched me. Everyone's vision is different, and there it is on display in their paintings. I love helping people reveal their enchanting vision of our world!

A History of American Tonalism: 1880 - 1920, David A. Cleveland, Hudson Hills Press, 2010

I am teaching classes at the M S Rezny Studio/Gallery, 903 Manchester Street, Distillery District, Lexington, KY:

One Day Wonder Workshop, Saturday, September 15, 2012, 10:30 am - :300 pm. $75

Experimenting with Watercolor & Pastel, Thursdays, September 27 through October 18, 2012, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, $145 for 4 sessions.

All art materials are supplied and included in the class fee.  Just come with an open mind and some photos to work from. Limited to 10 people.  A check reserves your spot.  For more information and registration: or, or e-mail:

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