Hollis Chatelain (link) is the fifth workshop teacher in my series of fabulous workshop teachers.
Hollis is a textile artist ("art quilter"). Why is she included in this series? As you will see as you read on, or look at her informative web site, Hollis is an amazing artist. Furthermore, she is a true colorist. Hollis's teaching introduced me to study, try to understand and use color theory in my painting.
1. What about Hollis Chatelain's textile paintings made me want to learn from her?
Here are some examples of some of my favorite of her finished pieces. I have to confess, limiting my choice was particularly difficult this week.
Starting with one of her monochromatic pieces. If you can click on this image of "Bluemen" and enlarge it, notice that all of the details are created in thread. The warm reds are the easiest stitches to see.
This monochromatic piece is called "Precious". First, notice the different "feeling" or "mood" that the choice of color causes. The "heat" of the parched areas (and not the refreshing coolness of the more expected choice of water (which is precious)) sends a very different message to the viewer.
Unfortunately, my editing skills don't allow you to see this entire orange piece called "Innocence". You can, however, get a sense of scale of this. To me, the orange color choice is disturbing and even distressingly bright (not my choice for "innocent"). You may not be able to see the unsettling images of children (some child soldiers, some exploited) quilted into the facial features of this large face. These images are not usually associated with our privileged western impressions of childhood. Perhaps this is the reason for the choice of the saturated orange of this work.
In contrast, "Compassion" is depicted in cooler colors. In addition to the images, the careful consideration of colors of this piece impart a sense of serenity and calmness.
These examples suggest to me that Hollis is a "Colorist".
On Hollis's web page, with these images in mind, you can explore what motivates her art.
2. What about Hollis's ability to teach? And perhaps, more importantly for this forum, how might a painter access and benefit from Hollis' s teaching?
Hollis teaches drawing both as a separate series and in the first year of her masters class (link). Hollis once remarked that "she could teach anyone to draw" using her method. She lectures about color and demonstrates how important color is in a workshop called "Quilt Line as the Third Element of Design". Her intense color theory training is year 3 (I think) of her masters class. If Hollis would agree, it certainly would be worth it to a painter's group to have Hollis teach her 5 day intense color theory workshop of her master's class to them.
Hollis is an incredibly well-organized teacher. She teaches by "student-discovery" (socratic method) and experimentation. This format can be challenging for adult learners who don't want to be "risk takers" and instead, want to "get it right". Hollis expects her students to work long hours in her master's class and because of this, you learn. She spends time with each student , usually challenging them to their maximum.
3. Evaluation After the Class
Although my sewing skills were not up to the year 9/10 master's class, Hollis was responsible for introducing me to color theory, design and critical evaluation of my work. Hollis's teaching would be valuable to any artist, regardless of medium. Hollis is definitely another top pick in my fabulous teacher series.
Mom, Wife, Former Pediatrician, One who LOVES color, creativity, paint, and lifelong learning.