Monsoon Papers: Learning from Class

I’ve taught in a lot of places, and I’ve had a lot of experiences. Right up there at the top of my “Wow!” list is the class I just taught at Valley Ridge in Muscoda, Wisconsin. Katherine Engen, the owner-artist of Valley Ridge has the genius gift of treating both participants and instructors as very special people. She values creativity, and she honors it. Instructors are treasured and class participants are honored for their enthusiasm, skill and adventurous spirit.

I taught a class this weekend that included Monsoon Papers. On Saturday night, Katherine invited us all into her house for dinner. We cooked together–always a wonderful experience, but the conversation that flowed through the meal was as nurturing as anything we ate. When you teach a class and you learn as much as you teach, it’s a privilege.

Some photos:

Monsoon papers and ink-as-color postcard.

No one in this class was afraid of color!

It was wonderful to see people make different papers with completely different color ways.

Shy people can turn bold with gold!

Maroon asparagus reflected in the granite kitchen counter. Looks like they are in a stream. Katherine tried this technique and I was happy to learn from her.

One of four amazing chandeliers in the great room. Even the lighting is art at Valley Ridge.

Monsoon Papers work best when the creator doesn’t try to control the result.

Monet-like colors started as an experiment and worked beautifully.

These aren’t the only photos, just ones I could put up quickly.

I don’t work on art when I teach, because then I stop being available for questions and discoveries. When I’m very fortunate, participants become explorers of their own creativity and take me on an incredible journey with them–over the landscape of their creative process. That’s what made this weekend so special.

-Quinn McDonald teaches art and writing classes and loves it best when they come together.