Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Color and Space

We entered into oil painting and color perspective.  It was about becoming more sensitive. 

            We started by observing marionettes and models and rendering what we saw on paper.  To do this we first used charcoal, then various shades of watercolor paint.  We simplified the broad and differentiated field of vision into simple areas which we created with 3 shades of paint, say sepia or indigo, and then the white of our paper.  Then we looked at our flat paper and saw figures in space, we saw light and dark relationships which had come out of spatial observation.  This is something quite interesting, experiencing space on a two dimensional surface.  Then we took these sketches and transformed dark areas into depth by using colors which distance themselves from us.  We rendered the light areas with colors which approach us.  The three dimensional space which had been our point of departure disappeared.  In its wake a new space opened.  The figures came apart.  The more flat we painted the more this new space opened out and in.   Instead of a static and empty physical space, a color space appeared, a depth with an abundance of content, a space filled with life and moods.

             This was our goal, bringing to awareness the threshold between the realm of painting, the flat life of color and form, and sculptural experience.  Now we can ask with some seriousness if colors are two dimensional.  We have seen that they are, and the more flat are, the more they are not.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Columbia House

Now Free Columbia has a house! Each year we have tried to help our students find affordable housing but it has been challenging, so when a beautiful old victorian house came on the market in the nearby town of Philmont we decided to buy it and rent rooms to our students. Nathaniel and Andrea are also living here and managing the house. We are very happy to have a presence in Philmont and we look forward to Andrea's creation of gardens in the spring. Maybe someday we will be able to renovate the 2 barns for studio space but for now we can offer very pleasant and affordable housing to our students.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We are very happy to announce that Sarah Hearn has agreed to be the librarian for the Free Columbia Lending Library of Visual Art Work.

Our upcoming Library event is on Friday December 17 from 1 to 5 pm at the Banjo Mountain Cafe. Come join the library and go home with Art for the walls of your house. Consider a library membership as a holiday gift.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Color Course

In our first block we explored the movement of color. We created a color wheel based on the relationship of light to darkness in Goethe's color theory and then one based on Rudolf Steiner's understanding of the movement of color. We wrestled with questions such as: what color comes forward? what goes back? What is the mood of turquoise? orange? Is one color different from another? Where do we experience this difference?

Monday, October 18, 2010

images from the third week

who is that next to that painting?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


We are beginning the second year of Free Columbia! We have 4 fulltime students for the first block and 10 part time students. This year we will offer four weekday mornings of painting, Tuesday through Friday. On Tuesday afternoons we will form a troop of marionette players. During the fall and winter we will learn to play the marionettes and in the spring we will put on local performances. A class in light and dark drawing will be given on Wednesday afternoons followed by an open studio time. In the fall and winter on Tuesday evenings Nathaniel Williams will teach Philosophy of Aesthetics and in the spring Patrick Stolfo will teach Evolution of Consciousness through the History of Art. On Thursday evenings throughout the year we will have a study group on Theosophy. Five Saturday mornings throughout the year will be devoted to working artistically with seasonal themes.


            All courses are freely given and everyone who is interested in making a commitment to part or full time study is encouraged to apply. For more information you may visit our website at www.freecolumbia.org You may view last years experiences at http://freecolumbia.blogspot.com/ For registration and a detailed schedule you may contact us at freecolumbiaart@gmail.com or Laura Summer at 518-672-7302 and Nathaniel Williams at 518-672-4090


Friday, October 1, 2010

Nathaniel and Laura, along with other artists helped to create and hold a conferenece last August called: 

The Search for Humanity in Contemporary Art 

Exploring postmodernism from the perspective of spiritual science
through exhibits, performances, talks and discussions.
August 13  – August 15

A conference organized by the Visual Art Section of the School for Spiritual Science in North America 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

summer courses

Color Course July 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

End of the Year Exhibition

Our first year is over. It has been very successful. On May 26 we opened our end of the year exhibition at Raising Matter (www.raisingmatter.org) in Hudson NY. On May 28 we had our graduation celebration for our 3 full time students, Kristin Dalton, Laurel Iselin and Karin Heide Weinrich. When we closed the show on May 30 over 100 people had visited to see the work.
We are looking forward to our next year which will begin in September 2010. If you are interested in Free Columbia please contact us at freecolumbiaart@gmail.com




            Our normal experience of life is fragmentary, the world is broken into obscurity.  The immediate impressions I meet leave me thinking, making sense and speculating; they leave me unsatisfied.  The work of art is the mysterious corner of the world where the fragment has become a whole.  While I am in beauty I lack nothing, I desire nothing.  To take fragments from peripheral facets of a half visible whole and to lift them to beauty is the activity of Impressionism.  We pursued this work through pastel work and poetry in the landscape.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

image colors

image colors: green, white, black and peach blossom.
What mystery lies here?
We spent 4 weeks getting to know these colors, their moods, their inclinations, by painting them in many different ways. 
Here are our experiments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Book - 52 Weeks

52 Weeks - by Laura Summer
Drawing and Painting with the "Calendar of the Soul" by Rudolf Steiner
$35 plus $3.50 shipping
to order contact us at freecolumbiaart@gmail.com



This book is a workbook. It is designed not to be read but to be drawn and by being drawn, to provide an experience of the cycle of the year.


As modern people we live with very little relationship to the cycle of the year. Central heat and cooling, electric lights and modern transportation allow us to be fairly comfortable in any season and therefore unconscious of the great breathing cycle of the earth. The verses of Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul provide a meditative path for experiencing this cycle. The exercises in this book were developed in relation to these verses but this is not a book of illustrations. Rather by drawing or painting them, the artistic exercises are designed to provide the student with an experience of inner movement during the year; the breathing in of the earth in winter, the out breathing into summer and the subtle variations, spirals, reversals and lemniscates of the process.


When I first encountered Rudolf Steiner’s Calendar of the Soul, I tried to understand it as separate verses, one for each week. Looked at this way it was most often incomprehensible to me. Although occasionally the verse seemed to fit something, either in the seasonal situation around me or in my inner condition, as often as not the verse seemed arbitrary when looked at alone. Three years ago I started to try to penetrate the calendar as a continuous sequence. Each day I read the verse and then held it inwardly for a few moments. At the end of the week I took a pencil and drew a gesture to represent the movement that that verse holds. As the year progressed I noticed that the movement of one verse leads to the movement of the next and all together they form an intricate breathing and weaving. When my first year with the calendar came to a close I decided to continue working with it meditatively for another year to try to experience this breathing/weaving more clearly. At the end of that year I began to create a drawing or painting exercise for each verse. Each exercise is an attempt at giving the participant an inner artistic experience of that week’s perspective in the weaving of the whole. Each week’s exercise has both a relationship to the world outside and to one’s inner world. I hope that by following these exercises in relationship to the calendar verses the participant will gradually become aware of this overall weaving/ breathing and it’s relationship to the exercises. At that point the participant will be able to develop their own exercises, of which I am sure there are unlimited possibilities.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

winter into spring

On Saturdays in February and March we worked with the feeling of winter turning into spring. We explored going from light to dark, to too dark! And then finding the light again. We watched the colors on our paintings change as the colors outside changed around us.

Color Moods

For 3 weeks in March, Ella Manor Lapointe came to teach a block on color moods. We painted "wet on wet", mixing colors to see what mood they would produce. In the second week Ella brought a hat filled with little pieces of paper. On each was a word. We pulled out our "fortune" and tried to determine how to mix it's color mood. What colors make up bold? serene? angry? crisp? contemplative?
In the third week we worked our moods into a sense of place.