Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education


Recent Posts

2 min read

Feedback, Feedback, Feedback

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 11/30/2018

Critiques are an indispensable component of every artist's education, growth, and individual path. Unfortunately, far too many see it as a setting to be feared. Rather, look at it as a rest stop along your studio practice's ongoing journey; a place to stop, check your direction, clear the trash out of the car, and refresh yourself for the next leg. Filled with practical information from a variety of perspectives, critiques provide you with the means to reflect on the purpose and progress of your artistic journey.

Peninsula School of Art's Critique Group aims to do just that! Made up of artists of all backgrounds and each a rich source of information, monthly critiques will provide feedback and dialogue specific to your goals and needs. One participant may help you to solve a technical issue; another may provide references of other artists tackling similar topics in their practices; and another may almost seem psychic, sharing thoughts about your work that you immediately resonate with, but are not yet sure why. See? Indispensable!

If you're still not sure if this experience is right for you, here are answers to a few commonly asked questions that might just convince you.

  • How does PenArt's Critique Group work?
    Our first convening on Friday, December 7th will serve as an introduction to each other and our work. Each artist will bring one piece, in-progress or finished, to share with the group. One-by-one artists will give a brief overview of their practice and chosen piece - a few sentences - and feedback will be delivered in written form using a fan favorite critique method called The Triple Threat. Artists will take their individualized feedback home and review at their own pace.
    The following meetings will each focus on a select number of artists - approximately 4 - 6. Artists will reserve a 20-minute block to show and discuss their work with the group. The number of pieces and focus of the conversation are the artist's choice. Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education, will act as a moderator to keep the discussion on track and on time. 
  • When and where do we meet?
    Critique Group meets on the first Friday of every month from 3 to 5pm in the painting studio at Peninsula School of Art year-round.
  • Who can participate?
    Everyone! This program is designed as a safe space for artists to share their work and start a dialogue with peers. Everyone is welcome who is interested in participating in a constructive and creative community.
  • How do I reserve a spot to share my work?
    Email Elysia at workshop@PeninsulaSchoolofArt.org with your desired date. The only prerequisite for sharing your work is that you have attended once before. If you're visiting from out of town or have another reason you cannot attend a meeting before your critique, email Elysia.

We hope to see you and your work on Friday, December 7th! If you have any questions, call or email Elysia at 920.868.3455 or workshop@PeninsulaSchoolofArt.org.

 

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1 min read

The "Quiet" Season

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 11/09/2017

Fall is here and winter is coming. For many artists along the peninsula, it is the most prolific time of the year. The busy days of the tourist season are fewer and farther between, allowing time to hunker down in the studio to experiment, determine a new direction, and produce a body of work. For Peninsula School of Art, the quiet season brings community partners into our studios through outreach programming, as well as artists interested in pursuing longer-term and more self-defined projects; complementing our summer workshop offerings.

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2 min read

A Conversation with Painting Instructor Mark Daniel Nelson

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 09/21/2017

I read in a statement about your practice that you create work in pursuit of the "contemporary sublime". How would you define that?
It's kind of a yin-yang idea in relation to the nineteenth century idea of sublime. I feel there's always a strong urge to get kitschy when trying to do something that communicates awe and wonder, but there's a unique contemporary language we can maniuplate to that end.

Have you achieved it yet?

Occasionally, I think, yes. I have a series called Arcadia that sometimes gets close. It's a mash-up of minimalist abstraction and twentieth century regionalism or american realism. However others like them simply because they are paintings of houses, which I'm fine with too.

What are you working on in the studio?
I'm coming off of a massive, many months-long failed abstract project. I was inspired by some great shows last fall in Denver to work in a new mode. I gave it a try on a larger scale, and...catastrophe. I'm now getting sketches ready for my next round of work. It will likely be a more conservative body of work, so I can get back to my comfort zone for a few months.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
For me, they are one and the same. I teach a kind of detached-attention to making work, so as not to occupy the judgemental side of the experience too closely. Working on quick projects, multiple ideas, and looking at works by other artists is common to both my teaching and painting practice.
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
With every workshop I look forward to being around curious, intelligent people talking about interesting things and trying to solve the puzzle what makes good art.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
www.markdanielnelson.com, Pinterest, and Instagram @markdanielnelson.

Topics: Faculty Painting
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2 min read

A Conversation with Painting Instructor Susan Ploughe

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 08/24/2017

In your statement, you discuss avoiding formulaic approaches to making work. When working on a series of paintings that address a similar subject matter, how do you combat that?
There has to be something unique that is drawing me to paint the subject each and every time. If there isn't, I shouldn't be painting it; I think this is why commissioned work can be difficult. Similar subject matter doesn't mean similar intent or focus; I could paint the same scene fives times, but in one I am interested in the sky, in another the light on the buildings, in another the moody atmosphere. My intent drives my decisions - the size of the work, the composition, color choices, the quality of the brushwork - every choice is new every time! I love to learn and I also want to continually improve my work, and I can't do either of those things if I am mindlessly repeating myself.
 
What are you working on in the studio?
As usual, a variety of things: landscapes, figurative pieces, portrait and animal commissions, florals, Chinese subjects - whatever strikes my fancy. Some are quick, alla prima works and others are large, carefully planned compositions. I have some works-in-progress in one corner of my studio and they reveal that I am in a blue - but happy - period!
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
I like to balance the theoretical and the practical. While I love learning principles of design, color, light, atmosphere, brushwork, and so on, I have found that they are best understood with paintbrush in hand! I almost always have teaching in the back of my mind when I am painting. As a result, I take a lot of in-progress photos that I can share with my students, and as I discover techniques or principles, I am generally thinking about how I can best communicate them to others. And because I paint a variety of subjects, I am able to bring practical experience to whatever my students are working on.

On the flip side, teaching has made me a better painter. During class, I have to be able to quickly come up with suggestions for each student's painting dilemmas. No time for dithering, just decide and do! This has made me more decisive in my own work.
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
Do I have to pick one thing? The students, staff, facilities, and location all add up to a wonderful time! What I always look forward to in my workshops are the "aha" moments, when students experience growth and gain more confidence in their abilities.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
Visit my website www.SusanPloughe.com. You can sign up for my newsletter there. Or, send me a friend request on Facebook.

Topics: Faculty Painting
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2 min read

A Conversation with Mixed Media Instructor Sarah Rehmer

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 08/10/2017

How does the medium of encaustic contribute to your work, technically and conceptually, in ways that other paint media does not?
Encaustic is an incredibly versatile medium that I can use for anything from painting applications to adhering collage to  casting three-dimensional elements for the surfaces of my wall-based work. When I graduated from college, I was making mixed media works with acrylic mediums. Shortly after, I discovered encaustic. The transformative power the material has on paper, which acrylic doesn't, has allowed me to push my work in new directions over the years. The biggest leap being when I began using it as a stiffner for paper-based sculptural elements, without the need for armatures.

From a conceptual standpoint, my work has always tied into the theme of memory in various ways. The antique books I work with have had these lives prior to ever entering my studio. Dipping the paper in encaustic medium makes it take on almost a skin-like quality, with all the marks of time and age. There is a preservative quality, yet it retains its lightness and vulnerability.
 
What are you working on in the studio?
I've been working more and more with mixing photography and encaustic. I have spent a number of work days in the darkroom at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan learning to make cyanotypes from scratch to incorporate into my works.

I also have been experimenting with other materials to bring into my practice, such as encaustic on clay, and even learning how to use a laser cutter.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
I always come home from a workshop having learned a new technical aspect of working in encaustic. There tends to be a cross-section of students from varying disciplines in the class, and sometimes questions come up for things I have never tried before. So I usually say, "I'm not sure how this will work, but let's think through it and try it out so we can see what the outcome is." My goal for a workshop is to have the students leave with a working knowledge of the materials. So when they are working in their home studio, they can apply that same thought process and be confident that they are working in a both a safe and archival way. But, still feel free to experiment!
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
I think this is my fifth year teaching at PenArt, and it is always such a pleasure to head up to Door County. I always look forward to meeting new students - and seeing returning ones - because everyone brings their unique voice and studio experience to the workshop. It makes for a great collaborative environment of information sharing.
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
My work can be seen on my website at http://rehmer-studio.com/

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2 min read

A Conversation with Metals Instructor Julie Sanford

By Elysia Michaelsen, Director of Education on 07/13/2017

When did you begin working in metals? How did you find this path?
I began working in metals in high school, but my interest in making jewelry came from my dad. He was a lapidary and silversmith hobbyist. He passed away when I was sixteen. While I didn't have a chance to learn from him, I was fortunate to receive his rock collection and tools. My high school art teacher helped to identify my potential and taught me the basics of fabrication and casting. At that time, I knew I wanted to work with stone and metal. After a few years, and several classes at a local art center, I started my own business. 
 
What are you currently working on in the studio?
I just finished restyling some family jewelry for a local client. Together we designed a ring that incorporated several pieces of diamond and gold jewelry. It was inspired by a ring I had in the gallery and was a fun project.

It's also art show season and I am working on fresh new collections for show inventory. I purchased some great material in Tucson this year that I am working through this summer.
 
How does your practice impact your teaching philosophy? And vice versa?
My teaching perspective follows my professional background in the jewelry industry; both as a fine jewelry maker and retailer. I think having that history adds value to the student who wishes to make an income as a jewelry artist. I not only teach how, but also why, and from a few different points of view. Being an instructor also challenges me as a maker. Students look at my work more critically and use my work as an example of standard. I take that very seriously and, as such, am personally challenged to push creative and technical boundaries.
 
What are you most looking forward to during your time teaching at PenArt?
I am looking forward to meeting new metals students and helping them on their creative journey. The amazing environment of PenArt is certainly a huge draw as well. I'm really excited for my first visit!
 
How can we find you and your work on social media and the web?
My website is JulieSanfordDesigns.com I am also on Facebook at Julie Sanford Designs, Twitter @JulieSanford, and Instagram @Julie_Sanford

Topics: Faculty Metals
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