Attend a Workshop, Part 4

The following  article is part of a series I’ve written for the Art Association Napa Valley

2016 New Years Resolution
Attend a Workshop!
Part 4 – Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) Field Institute


The Inverness Boat- My artwork with Birgit O’Connor’s help

Point Reyes National Seashore is less than 50 miles from Napa, but the beauty and seclusion there makes civilization melt away.  Part of our National Park Service, this natural sanctuary offers a wide range of activities, habitats and historical sites.

The Point Reyes National Seashore Association (PRNSA) is the park’s primary nonprofit partner formed to raise funds to help maintain the park and offer educational programs.   Last May, I attended a workshop offered by the Field Institute program.

I chose Boats on the Water taught by Birgit O’Connor because I’ve been spending a lot of time sailing recently, and also because several friends had raved about Birgit’s classes.  This particular subject matter was also unusual for Birgit O’Connor who specializes in dramatic flowers.

The course itself was unusual because we were allowed to stay 2 nights at our painting location, the Historic Lifeboat Station.  I had no idea what I was getting into, but there are very few places to stay within the park, and it was appealing not to have to drive back and forth.  We also had the option to arrive the evening before the 2 day class.

I opted to arrive the morning of the first day of class and almost didn’t make it on time.  It turned out the Lifeboat Station is on the very tip of Point Reyes, a good 17 miles beyond the Bear Valley Visitors center.  I thought I would never get there on the narrowing road in heavy fog.  I was happy to see the sturdy Lifeboat Station finally come into view.  It is no longer operating, and the bunks covert nicely into an artist’s camp.  We had a kitchen to prepare meals downstairs and a workshop area upstairs.  An added bonus was the groans and grunts from elephant seals who were beached just below our windows.

During the workshop Birgit did a great job of demonstrating and helping us create landscapes and marine scenes in a beautiful easy (for her!) style.  We did several related studies before creating a large painting of the famous Inverness Boat. I think all the campers went away happy.

In retrospect, I think I might prefer to stay in one of the more comfortable B&B’s in Inverness if I return.  The previous occupants of the Lifeboat Station must have been shorter  because I didn’t quite fit into the bunk and didn’t sleep well.  It was also a lot of work to haul in all of our bedding and food in addition to our art supplies.

PRNSA offers a whole host of courses in the arts, photography and nature studies.  You can navigate to the Field Institute from the main PRNSA website.

Or access the PRNSA Field Institute directly.

Next installment- Workshops, part 5:  Liz Haywood-Sullivan


Our group in the Lifeboat station classroom (that’s me in front)

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