Wednesday, January 9, 2013

report 2009/10

Free Columbia Report 2009-10 The date was September 14th, 2009. Thirty-five people sat in a circle in Bright Wing Studio in Hillsdale New York. Names traveled around the circle, the history of painting in that studio was described, memories and hopes for the future were voiced, the feeling of “dropping in” from a nine-foot skateboard ramp was mentioned. And the Free Columbia Art Course began. The Free Columbia Art Course is a full time, nine month long course based on the fundamentals of the art of painting as they appear and come to life through anthroposophy. This article is an update on how we are doing. From September to November we explored color, its moods, its laws, its relationships and our relationship to it. We created two color wheels and began an introduction to the colors of the sketches that Rudolf Steiner gave as a training path for painters. In October Henrike Holdrege of the Nature Institute led us in four Saturday sessions of experiments from Goethe’s color theory. We observed after images, atmospheric colors, and most amazing of all, colored shadows. In December we entered into oil painting and color perspective. After reviewing how space has been worked with in painting in the past we created sketches of figures from observation using various shading techniques. We moved from a sketch and spatial experience based on line and dark light relationships to creating a painting in which the spatial qualities inherent in color become central. In February, using poems and stories, we explored the imagination. First in watercolor and egg tempera and then in drawing, lions, kings, dragons and witches leapt over our papers. On Saturdays we explored the moods of the seasons. We also have a rich life of study. We are working through the book Theosophy as well as various lectures by Rudolf Steiner on art. Once a month a lively and varied group of people gather in a study called “Art. What?” We have worked with conversations of Joseph Beuys and in March will tackle improvisational music. In October we began The Study of Art and the Evolution of Human Consciousness with Patrick Stolfo. We began by modeling a small human figure with our eyes closed and progressed through observations of cave paintings and the art of ancient Egypt and Greece, then through the renaissance to end our nine sessions in the early twentieth century. In February and March we spent three sessions discussing Social Threefolding and the relationship of culture and economics. Last year we established a lending library of visual artwork. The participant makes a donation, (suggested $100/1 year membership), to Free Columbia and chooses up to 3 pieces of art to take home for up to one year. At intervals we will have Library Events where artwork is both returned and checked out by other borrowers. Currently we have three full time students and twenty part time students. Out of a commitment to Social Threefolding and in an effort to experience a new way of working with money, Free Columbia works on the following economic model: Part time students pay a flat monthly rate of $80 which covers all classes and materials. Full time students do not pay tuition or material costs. In this way they are freed to devote themselves for the year to working in the free spiritual realm. Next year we are committed to eliminating set fees for all students and supporting Free Columbia with gift money. Free Columbia is devoted to the development of creativity as a deed for the world. It is our hope that if what we are doing is valuable we will attract support from the business realm as well as from individuals. All donations are tax deductible and very greatly appreciated. “The atmosphere here is one of free thinking and free learning that I have never really experienced before. It is a mood of inquisitive exploration and observation. To nurture each others beings and to bring something good into the world pervades life together in the studio.” Laurel Iselin, Full Time Student “I feel that no matter what I choose to do next, this year of painting will be valuable to me. I’m grateful to be painting and to be working within a community of artists that are taking the time to learn, trust, and experience paint and color together.” Karin Heide Weinrich, Full Time Student

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