Turtle Art Camp with Susan Shie
at Turtle Moon Studios 2612 Armstrong Drive, Wooster, Ohio, 44691-1806.
This is me, sitting in my studio, working on the "Women's March on Washington, Jan 21, 2017" drawing, adding watercolor to it, a few days after the march. I've switched the format of my Turtle Art Camps over to being an in-person version of my Lucky Drawing online classes, that I've been teaching for over two years now. That sewing machine in the background here is for me, doing my large art quilts, which are really sewn soft paintings. But I'm not teaching how to make art quilts anymore. I'm eaching my students to freehand draw, and to enjoy it!!! Read on!
Overview: Turtle Art Camp is a week-long fine arts drawing, writing, and painting workshop and retreat for adult students to study with me, artist and instructor Susan Shie, in a Biosphere-like living and working arrangement at my home, Turtle Moon Studios in Wooster, Ohio. This experience costs $1,000 per student, for up to 4 students per weeklong camp. It includes tuition, art supplies, private room, partial meals, and transportation to and from Cleveland Hopkins Airport.
These camps have been helping people find their instinctive and joyful aritist's voices since 1994. The week includes a travel-in day, five full days of classes and living with other artists, and a travel-out day.
I am switching over this year, to focusing the camp's creative work to freehand drawing, writng, and painting in large 11 x 14" hardbound sketchbooks, because I am convinced that drawing is the best art format to use, to help students learn to stop judging all their work, and allow them to open up to really enjoying making art, maybe for the first time in their lives, since they were about five years old. We all judge our own work mercilessly, and this is so stressful, that many people won't draw, or won't show their drawings to anyone. So I've redone this page, to include some of my recent sketchbook drawings, so you can see my style of working - which I have no intention of being YOUR style of working! After teaching sketchbook drawing online for 3 years, I know I LOVE teaching this way, and I'm so happy to be teaching this sketchbook format in person again, as I did many years ago. I'm so excited, to have shifted my Turtle Art Camps over, to make them the in-person version of my Lucky Drawing online classes!
Students with all levels of art skill, from NONE to very developed, will find this experience useful in improving their abilities and attitudes about art making. You will learn to feel more free and accepting of the creativity that's wanting so much to come flowing out of you!
All day we interact in a kind, relaxed, playful way, to help each other blossom more creatively, while working hard, making art. We start each day with a quiet time of drawing and writing in our sketchbooks, to get centered and inspired for the day's work. There's six hours of structured class format time each day, and after that, we each use the studio when we feel like it. My 2017 TAC schedule follows the next photo.
"Women's March on Washington, Jan 21, 2017" is a drawing I finished 1-26-17, after taking the bus with 54 other women from Wooster, Ohio, to march in DC, the day after the Inauguration. I had freehand painted 11 aprons, with the Statue of Liberty, with a different slogan on each one, because march guidelines forbade having protest signs on wooden sticks. So we wore the aprons as signs instead. Each apron is 30"h x 20"w. I added the Statue of Liberty in a PussyHat; the angel of Rachel Carson, also in a PussyHat (I had watched a documentary on her life the evening I was working on this drawing); and my mother and her friend McCoy, when they were nurses together at West View Manor, (because McCoy had just died and my mother, who died in 2001, really loved her.) I think Rachel Carson, and McCoy and my mother were there in spirit, supporting our protest for Women's Rights, Human Rights, and protecting the Earth. I drew this piece with ink, watercolor, and color pencils. The fortune says "You are a practical person with your feet on the ground."
Turtle Art Camp 2018 schedule:
The camp dates listed here show the days you travel in and out, and the days in between are the five full class days here.
This 2018 schedule is subject to changes, if needed. But once I have one student for a camp, that camp's dates are locked in. I'm offering 4 one-week art camps in 2017. All these camps have Wednesday travel-in days and Tuesday travel-out days. This makes for less expensive flight costs, than when the students flew on weekends. and it allows me to teach Turtle Art Camps in between my online Lucky Drawing classes. I don't have enough time or energy to teach at home and online at the same time!
TAC 2017 weeklong camps to study with me in Wooster, Ohio:
The dates listed are the Wednesday and Tuesday travel days, and the class is the 5 days in between them. This way, you have time to settle in and get rested before class starts, and to rest and pack up, before going back home. You will be here for 6 nights.
1. May 2 - 8
2. July 25 - 31
3. Sept 5 - 11
4. Oct 17 - 23
FEES: The weeklong Turtle Art Camp fee is $1,000, with an add-on service fee, if you use PayPal. The camp fee includes transportation from and back to the airport, art supplies for the class, room and partial meals, and tuition. When you send me a $500 deposit check, I'll put you on the class list. You'll pay me the rest when you're here in camp.
There's more detail about camp fees farther down this page.
Coordinating student flights: Jimmy brings the flying students from the airport and takes them back at the end of the week. So you'll need a flight that gets you into Cleveland Hopkins Airport by 5 pm on the first day of camp (Wednesday), and fly out any time after 12:00 noon on the last day (Tuesday). We'll coordinate one pick-up and one return airport trip per class week. Jimmy meets you at the baggage claim. Or drive yourself to camp and arrive at our house at 6:00 PM on the travel-in, first day of camp, and leave by 10 AM on the travel-out day.
Above: Our cats love having students here. Ome on the left and Otis are sister and brother. Otis and Ome say take your Benadryl, if you're allergic to cats. They hardly shed.
The house: We can have up to 4 students per camp. Students must be at least 18 years old to study here. Our home and studios are smoke-free. We have wifi and AC. We have a sweet dog (who doesn't shed) and two cats, but we keep the house and studios very clean. Students with pet allergies seem to function well, if they take their allergy medication. You must be able to go up and down stairs, because the studios are in the basement, while everything else is on the main floor, including the bathrooms.
We have four student bedrooms and one student bathroom which is shared by all students. (There are two other bathrooms that can be used when needed.) All bedrooms and bathrooms are on the main floor of the house. But the workshop studios are in the basement, so you must be able to go up and down stairs comfortably. The stairs are sturdy and have a solid handrail.
We have wifi for your internet use, so please bring your laptop, iPad, or other device, if you want to stay connectred. Remember to bring the chargers for your phone and other devices. We have umbrellas, bedding, towels, and a hair dryer in the student bathroom. Bring your own toiletries, please.
We run the air conditioner when everyone agrees that it's time, but we won't freeze you out. And this is definitely a smoke free place.
Above: If the weather's good, we have a picnic on our patio, sometime during your camp. If not, we try to make a big meal together inside one night instead. Judybeth Greene, Grace Tai, Deborah Rose-Milavec, and Jancy McClellan relax around the table here with Jimmy.
The basic class plan. Starting in 2017, my Turtle Art Camps have focused entirely on drawing and optional writing in large 11 x 14" hardbound sketchbooks, and no longer include working with fabric painting or quilting. I've been teaching my Lucky Drawing classes online since January, 2015, and am very pleased with the progress my students make in learning to respect their own drawing skills as they are, and in understanding that passion and commitment to drawing are what it takes to see improvement their drawing abilities. On this page, I am showing you photos of a few of my own drawings for the online classes, working with pens, markers, color pencils, colored inks, and watercolor. But please understand: I don't want or expect you to draw in my style. Your personal style comes out, when you draw what comes naturally to you!!!
Turtle Art Camp is now the in-person, live version of Lucky Drawing! :)
I'm very excited about teaching students that they can draw, and draw quite well, if they only can open up and let it out. That opening up is the hard part for most of us! Making drawings with simple art tools like pens and waterolors is the fastest way to bring about a new-found confidence in one's ability to draw.
My teaching style: As in my online classes, I will never, ever tell you how to draw. That is, I won't give you any step-by-step instructions, tell you how to draw, or correct your work. I am a dedicated believer in there being no art rules, except those about protecting our health and the environment against toxins in the art supplies. I only give positive feedback and expect that of all the members of the camp class, regarding anyone else's work. My classes are Montessori style, in that I try to inspire you through my own example of diving in and doing what comes naturally to me, in my art making. I will respect any style you choose to draw with, as long as it's freehand work. We're not doing digital art, collage, etc. Just freehand drawing and painting, and writing, if you like. I really don't want or need for you to draw like I do - do your own thing! What I'm after is to teach you to fiercely love your own, natural drawing and painting and writing, and believe in yourself. I want you to turn on the faucet of creativity and not get in its way with judgment! I want us all to learn to love making art, like we did, when we were little kids, before they told us about good art and bad art, right and wrong. The very best art is what naturally flows out of you, from your Soul.
And that is the hardest thing to teach and to learn. I do it by example, and you will surely see me struggling with my own educated-thinking self, and telling it to go dry up, because I want to be free and innocent in my art expression. And I want that for you, as well!
"The Dalai Lama and Burt at 80." ©Susan Shie 2015. The Dalai Lama celebrated his 80th birthday on July 6, 2015, and Burt Shavitz of Burt's Bees passed away at 80, on July 5. I wanted to honor both of them, and felt that their being the same age, and them both being very groovy was reason enough to put them together in this drawing, which also includes the Sweet Peas my daughter Gretchen brought me from her garden in Lakewood, Ohio. I hope my drawing honors both men for their peacefilled lives, walking gently on the Earth.
The workday schedule at Turtle Art Camp is pretty simple: You get up and make your own breakfast when you feel like it and clean up after yourself. We start actual studio class at 9 AM. We break to make lunch together at noon, and we all clean up the kitchen, including taking turns hand washing the dishes. Then we get back to the studio again to work from 2 to 5 PM. That gives us six hours of real teacher-student studio time each day, and we might see a lot of each other in the studio in the evenings, but not as class instructional time.
"Riverwalk in San Antonio with Susie Monday, May 11, 2016" is a drawing I started on the airplane, coming home from teaching in San Antonio in May last year. Yes, I juggled my big hardbound sketchbook in my little airplane seat, not letting it disturb my seatmates! If you want to draw bad enough, you find a way! I drew this with my Rubadub black line marker, freehand, from memories of the magical experience of discovering the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio, the night before. I started to color it in the airport, waiting for my connecting plane back to Cleveland, and I finished coloring it, even adding more stuff to it, later. It's 14" x 22", ink, color pencil, gel pen, and a fortune selected at random, that says, "You have an unusual equipment for success. Be sure to use it properly." I always select the fortune at random, when the drawing is done, while I try to focus on the drawing, as I reach for the fortune in my bag of them.
Schedule in the Studio each day: 9 AM to 5 PM, with 2 hours out for lunch and breaks. (Time can be modified, by group vote.) Each day we'll invent a theme together for the finished drawing we'll each make that day. but everyone has the option to do work about a different subject from what the group cooks up. In my basic plan, we'll each work in our big 11 x 14" hardbound sketchbooks for both preparatory sketches and making the finished drawing for the day. You can start with research online, if you like, or just work from memory, or draw live. You'll have a big sketchbook that I'll give you at the start of the camp, so you'll have lots of pages for planning, as well as making each finished piece. Our finished pieces are double page spread drawings, so they are 14"h x 22"w, going across two pages in the book.
It's so very, very hard for adults to learn to love their own art making. That's what I want to teach you, and I want to teach it with freehand drawing on paper, please!
Come here to learn to open up to your very intuitive inner self, the self you were coonected to quite well, when you were a small child. Within a six-hours-per day, structured but flexible class schedule, you'll enjoy spontaneous drawing techniques for making intuitive diary work on paper, but these same ideas apply to any work you'll do on your own later, in any medium. You'll hopefully find that child's playful creative abandon again, and you'll be able to assimilate that into the path you were already on with your adult artmaking.
Coloring books are what wrecked our own confidence in drawing. Then the art rules in school polished most of us off. It's time to get back to that primal understanding we had, as little children, that making art comes to us naturally, without restrictions, and that it's not just fun to do, but is healing. We take steps of healing, when we are content!
"Oasis Girls Enjoy Quiche at Mady's Cabin at Miller Lakes." ©Susan Shie 2015. I started this drawing right after getting home from a gathering at the Cabin, with only one Oasis girl (Susan McM) missing, since there are only seven of us actively coming to our gatherings anymore. Midge brought her dog Chloe though. We were celebrating Margi and my mutual birthday, September 28th. This is 14 x 22", a double page spread in my big hardbound sketchbook, finished 10-26-15. Rub-a-Dub marker, watercolor, and gel pen. The paper fortune says "Prsoperity and love are in reach." I always choose the fortune from a pile of them, at random, so it must be true!
We began teaching here in this format of having live-in students in 1994, and although in the beginning Jimmy taught with me, I've now taught by myself for many years. If you want to know more about us and our home, browse through my pretty defunct blog and my older online Turtle Trax Diary, which I began in 1997, and for which all pages are still here on the site, with lots of pix and stories, some from Turtle Art Camps. They just have small images, because the Diary was back when we all had dialup modems.
"Kissing Chain for the UK." This was my drawing about a kissing chain held in Europe on June 19, 2016, to show support for the UK, because of the violent murder of the UK MP Jo Cox, because the killer disagreed with her empassioned support for Syrian refugees in the UK, and because the kissing chain participants wanted to send the UK love, to get them to vote to stay with the EU, when they would have their referendum vote on June 23. The kiss went down a long line, first in Rome, then was passed by iPad to Berlin, then on to Paris, and finally ended with a long line in London. It was all well documented, so I spent a lot of time studying photos and videos, before I make my drawing. I started it by freehand drawing the white guy kissing the black girl, and then added more sketches of more of the kisses, from other photos. I drew them all with a blue bic pen, and later added watercolor, colored pencil, and black gel pen to this 14 x 22" drawing in my large sketchbook. The paper fortune I selected at random at the end and glued on, says "Your love of gardening will take on new meaning in your life."
Costs of Turtle Art Camp:
The camp fee is $1,000. per person for a weeklong camp, which is five days of class, between the two listed travel days.
This camp fee includes: tuition; private room; food for breakfasts and lunches; art supplies for the basic projects; and rides from and to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Students’ personal expenses, beyond the fee, are: flights or driving expenses, personal incidentals, personal snacks and special beverages, and five evening dinners eaten out together at restaurants. (We will make one dinner here at our home, as there are six evenings here, during our camp week.)
You pay for your own evening meals, when we eat suppers out together, like a big family. We'll eat breakfast and lunches here, with you making your own breakfast, when you're ready, and us making lunch together. Students help with kitchen cleanup, and everyone helps washing dishes. Thanks in advance!!!! Breakfast and lunch are included in your fee, along with your lodging and basic art supplies.
Before you sign up, be sure you read all the camp information here, please. Then call or text (330-317-2167), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), to register for your camp. After talking with me, please send your half deposit of $500 for your camp. Please make all checks payable to Susan Shie, and send to Susan Shie, 2612 Armstrong Drive, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Be sure to write Armstrong DRIVE, because there's also an Armstrong Road, So the post office needs clarity.
PayPal: Students in other countries can pay me through PayPal, sending me $1,070 paid in US dollars, due to PP's 7% add-on fee. If those in the US want to use PayPal, the cost of your camp is $1,030, due to PP's 3% add-on fee. Use my email, email@example.com, when you pay me through PayPal. But I really prefer checks, since there's no rush, as you are signing up well ahead of your camp.
In cases of emergency, I can refund your deposit or reschedule you to another camp.
Pay me the last $500 of your $1,000 camp fee, when you're here at Camp.
I began drawing "5 AM Drawing with Juno," aka "The Two Tailed Dog," on 10-3-16, because one of my Lucky Drawing students, Juno, had mentioned that she was going to get up at 5, to draw before she went to work. I said I'd do the same, so she'd have company. We texted each other, to feel like we were really sitting together in the kitchen, drawing together. I decided to begin my drawing as a Library Time drawing - an exercise I'd invented: 10 minutes in which you draw whatever comes into your head, without talking to anyone. I got images of giving our dog Libby her Dog Wash bath the day before, the cats wanting to be fed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her memoir, and walking Libby with my friend Pat. I gave LIbby two tails here, but then couldn't remember what the reference was, that I heard on the radio, while I was drawing. The Two Tailed Dog Party is in Hungary, and it parodies the political elite, and is mostly street art and grafitti. I really like that, and it should be the title of this drawing!!!! I worked to finish this drawing off and on, for a few more days, because I really liked it. It's 14"h x 22"w, in my large hardbound sketchbook, which is the format of our class drawing asssignments. I used ink, watercolor, and color pencils. Oh, and the first thing I drew was Juno and me sitting across the table from each other (in my imagination) and drawing together.
Other Canp Activities: Some people want to work in the studio around the clock, while others like to just work during class hours. And there's every attitude in between. Possible evening activities here include: local shopping, such as going to Pat Catan's for art supplies you may "need," walking in the neighborhood, and of course, working in the studio, as late as you want. We might even pick a movie to watch together over a couple of evenings. And since we'll be drawing, you can work anywhere you like, not just in the studio. We can draw outside, too!
We take one morning to go downtown and have breakfast there, before touring some special stores that only Wooster has to offer! (That evening we cook together and eat supper here and work on art in the evening, with me teaching, so we can make up the studio time we lost in the morning in town.) I really love our downtown, with its food co-op, cool privately owned bookstores, and antique shops. Also I'll do an astrology lecture after class hours, if you like, and can set up students' birth charts, if you send ahead your birth date, exact birth time, and location. I'm not as good with Tarot cards, but we can still play with my own deck, the Kitchen Tarot.
Above, here's me working on my own private work, using techniques on cloth, which I no longer teach. I'm getting ready to use a paint marker on this painting, but usually I use an airbrush for big letters and an airpen for my smaller writing. The lines and words you see here were done with airbrush, as were the colors. I found over the years, that teaching these processes got in the way of helping my students find their freedom to express themselves in drawing, which is so hard to gain the confidence to do. I now only teach drawing on paper, because that is the simplest process to use, in helping artists learn to not judge their own artmaking, and to just let their creativity flow out. I don't want to teach complex processes anymore. I want to teach really open self expression - how to translate your unique thoughts and ideas into visual art, without rules making you feel limited.
My bio: I've been making art in many media all my life, but mostly drawing, painting, and writing, since early childhood. All I ever really planned to be was an artist, since art was what I was totally passionate about. Jimmy and I met in 1976, and I used to help him in his leather shop, besides making my paintings. I made my first art quilt in 1981, as part of my senior I.S. (Independent Study) project at The College of Wooster, And by 1989, Jimmy started helping me in making what I called Outsider Art Quilts. He stopped adding his leather objects to my work aroune 2003, when I was again working more flat, less 3-D on my quilted paintings. We've received two NEA Individual Artist Grants as well as many Ohio Arts Council grants.
I have an MFA from Kent State University School of Art, a BA from The College of Wooster, and received the Quilt National "Best of Show" award in 1987. We've taught at many national schools and workshops, including Q/SDS, Haystack, Arrowmont, Worcester, Penland, CraftSummer, Peters Valley, in China and Ireland, as well as doing residencies in museums and universities around the US. We've also taught a lot with school children. Since 2003 or so, Jimmy hasn't been teaching with me at all, but I teach many workshops "out," as well as my Turtle Art Camps here at home. In 2008 I received the "Teacher of the Year" award from Professional Quilter Magazine. In January, 2015, I began teaching my Lucky Drawing classes online, and that has been my biggest teaching focus, ever since. I teach roughly 9 4-week class sessions per year online, along with my Turtle Art Camps and traveling, in-person classes, which I teach during the 2-week breaks between my online class sessions.
Our kids: our daughter Gretchen, her husband Michael, and our granddaughter Eva live in Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland, an hour north of us. I took care of Eva when she was a baby, til she was one and a half, and during that time, from late 2004 and into 2006, I didn't teach anywhere, since I lived in Lakewood most of each week. But I kept my artmaking going at night and continued to show my work throughout my nanny time. The time constraints of that period, along with acquiring numbness in my fingertips, helped push me toward emphasizing my painting and writing again and moving from hand sewing to machine work for my quilting. GEM is the acronym I use to reference my kids' names, and they continue to show up in my art, with Eva being almost 13 years old now and in seventh grade! It's a very exciting time to be grandparents!
Above: Here's our doodle dog, Libby Spooler, wishing she could go roaming around in that garden!
In my life, my work has evolved from big paintings on canvas, to me working alone with mixed media painted quilts, to adding Jimmy as a collaborator and co-teacher, to going back to me making art by myself and teaching solo. And with the addition of airpen to my processes in 2003 (along with the time and hand issues I mentioned above), I've shifted my work style to much more written-on, unembellished, painted and machine sewn diary quilts, which I think of as quilted paintings, or soft paintings, the term I invented for my senior I.S. at the College of Wooster in 1981. I expect this current format to be my focus for many years to come, but you never know ... ! My work now feels likeTime Capsules to me, because each one has journal musings and current events writing on it from a very specific time period. Therefore, I define each work with its starting and finishing dates.
My husband Jimmy Acord is very involved in his leather fly fishing case making. There is no one in the whole world doing what Jimmy does with leather. His cases are made from scratch, with him doing every step of their making (though I still help him a little on painting and making up drawings and lettering.) He's known as the world's foremost maker of fine heirloom, collectible fly fishing cases that are each unique, custom ordered by devotees of fine workmanship. Each case is signed, numbered, and dated, and there is a long waiting list for getting one of Jimmy's collectible rod cases, flasks, fly cases, reel cases, or other custom work.
Above: Our home and studios at Turtle Moon, in the soft morning light of Springtime, when the dogwood trees and the forget-me-nots are in bloom. I had planted lavender petunias in the pots on either side of the front door, so this was after Mother's Day.
Location: We're located in Wooster, Ohio, one hour south of Cleveland, in a quiet, wooded part of the suburban north end of Wooster, a pretty special little town of 30,000 or so. We have about an acre of our own land, with lots of flowerbeds, a garden, and wooded ravines. The neighborhood has lots of wildlife, like woodpeckers, bunnies, raccoons, and squirrels, and some nice friendly neighbors, too.
Our town has The College of Wooster and a branch of Ohio State University, The Agricultural Technical Institute. There's a lot of rolling farmland and a really good Art Center here. Our Wayne County and below us, Holmes County, include the largest Amish settlement in the world, so the scenery and cultural mix are fascinating! Wooster has a beautiful downtown with a very active restaurant and shopping scene of its very own. We have plenty of places to eat at, that are not chains, all within short drives. And we'll pick a different one of them to have dinner at each night during a Turtle Art Camp!
Above: "Learn Chinese," a large painting made by Elke and her friend Flox Den Hartog Jager-Malten, and me, using airbrush and airpen, during the August, 2012 Turtle Art Camp.
SO WHEN CAN YOU COME??
After reading the information above, call, text (330-317-2167), or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up your camp experience. After talking with me, please send your half deposit of $500. Please make all checks payable to Susan Shie, and send to Susan Shie, 2612 Armstrong Drive, Wooster, Ohio 44691. Be sure to write Armstrong DRIVE, because there's also an Armstrong Road, So the post office needs clarity. I will let you know, when I get your class deopsit. Rescheduling or refund of deposit will be made in cases of emergency. Pay me the last $500 of your total $1,000 camp fee, when you're here at Camp.
Students in other countries can pay me through PayPal, sending me $1,070 paid in US dollars, due to PP's 7% add-on fee. If those in the US want to use PayPal, the cost of your camp is $1,030, due to PP's 3% add-on fee. Use my email, email@example.com, when you pay me through PayPal. But I really prefer checks, since there's no rush, as you are signing up well ahead of your camp.
Please sign up soon, by contacting me! I hope you can come! I will have my 2018 Turtle Art Camp schedule up by sometime in December, 2017.
Above: Japanese Irises bloom in our backyard at Turtle Moon. That clothesline comes in really handy, if you get your painting too dark or murky and want to wash it out fast! :)
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Web site created by Susan Shie and Jan Cabral ©1997. All subsequent website work done by Susan Shie ©1997 - 2018.
This page updated by Susan Shie, January 15, 2018.
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