Art has been actively happening for twenty-six years in a small, private studio located in a quiet residential neighborhood intimately situated amongst trees and close neighbors. Cats abound amidst spring and summer herbs and vegetables, backyard structures to construct or dismantle and holes to dig or fill-in.
Although easily accessible along major marin county thoroughfares, the studio is not a store-front open to public walk-in traffic. It is available only by personal arrangement and by clear agreement with Judy as to the nature of commitment and the specific design and duration of the classes.
As example, mixed-media classes typically attract small groups of children; drawing and painting techniques interest groups of teenagers or adults. Private or semi-private classes in pottery or painting and drawing are independently scheduled, taking into account teenagers' complex homework and social lives and adults' more intense and less flexible family and work responsibilities.
Atypically, one-day or unusual one-time gatherings include birthday parties, school field trips, quality creative time for family or friends, and opportunities for communities to design and produce artwork destined as fundraisers, for example, as school auction items.
The studio atmosphere reflects the energy of the participants. Although usually congenial and relaxed, children often bring their bouncy enthusiasm. Extreme volume and turbulence may result in time-out-banishment to the 'construction zone' with a hand-full of nails … always accompanied with a great shout of 'hooray'.
The space itself is like a well-stocked, colorful kitchen. It is filled with all kinds of interesting art stuff to manipulate … or, spill or splatter as these things go … in tune as the spirit moves.
Artists three-and-a-half through ninety-three-and-a-half are welcome to make art happen.
Typically, classes and one-week workshops are comprised of elementary-aged children from a variety of southern marin county public, private and parochial schools as well as home school communities. On occasion, families from other the Bay Area counties will venture across a bridge.
Most often, the teenagers and adults with interest in a particular medium or technique are local residents. From time to time, an out of town artist or family will schedule an intensive creative vacation.
Children requiring particular developmental attention are often recommended by a family or occupational therapist or a concerned school counselor or classroom teacher. Judy's top priority is to apply her fine-tuned experience in harmony with families in the children's best interest.
Teenagers who have made art happen during their elementary years return to compile appropriate portfolios in support of applications for admission to independent secondary schools, art schools or colleges. Judy's personal recommendations often accompany the applications.
Multi-generational family groups find sublime time to share quiet, quality activity. A grandparent and a grandchild working together is priceless.
Basically, regardless of age and skill level, all artists who find this studio have in common the desire to make art happen.
With a particular strength in clay work, all media are fair game in the mixed-media children's classes. No medium other than clay repeats during the school year. Direction is given regarding the most effective way to handle different materials for example, how a brush is held and handled and not like a pen; how oil pastels smudge differently than do soft pastels; how India ink is not like commercial markers; or, which kind of papers prefer to be wet rather than dry.
In the same fashion, the concept underlying each session changes and is not repeated during a school year. Children who attend one six-week session emerge with a complete body of creative work in a variety of media. Those who attend during an entire school year tend to demonstrate a maturing facility in addition to their substantial body of work.
Although an idea or concept is pre-determined for each session (either by Judy or by the popular demand of returning artists), no attempt is made to augment or edit the resultant artwork to satisfy adult expectations. The children's work is the children's work, the imagery their imagery, their creative solutions their solutions.
In contrast, along with focus on concepts and techniques, the ABC's of visual art, formal information in two and three-dimensional design, is given to strengthen teenage and adult capacities. Within those parameters, the resultant artwork is strictly that of the artist. No attempt is made to replicate historically recognized artwork or to bow to the instructor's personal taste.