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Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Abstract Art - Abstracting your Photos
with Polly Castor

In the morning of this one-day workshop we abstracted things, and in the afternoon we abstracted the landscape. This class included Powerpoint lectures, two chunks of painting time by participants, and an empowering critique and discussion of students' work. 

Polly Castor is a lifelong artist. Her passion is working within the full range of abstraction, from impressionism to non-objective art, with particular emphasis on abstract conceptualism, depicting specific Ideas, feelings, and actions. 

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Wednesday,March 6, 2024

Abstract Art - Expressionism & Conceptualism
with Polly Castor

Polly's class was a natural, sequential follow-up to her Intro to Abstract Art Class given last Spring, but was for anyone, regardless of whether you took that Part 1 class or not.

Polly Castor is a lifelong artist. Her passion is working within the full range of abstraction, from impressionism to non-objective art, with particular emphasis on abstract conceptualism, depicting specific Ideas, feelings, and actions. 

Emilie Beckwith shared about the workshop, "It was about expressing your feelings, and feelings about a word.  We were challenged, but had fun trying Polly's exercises."

Wednesday, , January 17, 2024

Acrylic Landscape Painting Workshop with Scott Rhoades

Scott Rhoades discussed and demonstrated the elements involved in a landscape painting with acrylics. Reference photos were provided or individuals brought a photo of a desired barn. Our paintings included a sky, mountains fields and trees, stone walls and close-up nature.


After completing a 35-year career as an art teacher in Coventry in 2010, Scott built an art studio in his backyard to focus on painting. His paintings have been sold throughout the United States and countries worldwide. He has won numerous art awards, and his paintings have appeared in national and international publications.

Images of artwork by Scott and workshop participants. Emilie Beckwith wrote, "Everyone had fun and learned something."

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023,

Watercolor Workshop with Joe Burger

Participants worked on a city street scene using various techniques. A full size sample photo and/or value sketch was provided as a guide. Our goal was to finish with correct shapes, a nice range of tones, and a realistic (but slightly impressionistic) style painting, with appropriate shadows and reflections.

After Joe retired from an engineering career in 2009, he began to study art. He learned through adult education classes and then through private lessons and workshops. He has won numerous awards in local exhibits and is an active member of several art organizations. He has conducted workshops on understanding perspective, reflections, shadows, and the like, to help other artists on the road to better paintings. 


October 19, 2023

Member meeting

Our guest artist, Joe Burger, showed us how to paint a beautiful winter scene. Here are the almost completed and finished paintings. Thank you Joe!

Sunday, October 8, 2023, 2 - 4 PM

Reception & Awards Ceremony

19th Annual Members' Art Exhibit 

South Windsor Public Library

1550 Sullivan Ave

The Exhibit was judged by Susan Bosworth, with ribbons awarded in each medium category.


Awards List


October 4, 2023

Workshop with Karen Israel

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This workshop was for all levels. Karen discussed the following topics as they related to the individual student's reference photo: proportion and perspective, color temperature and its value as it pertains to the quality of the light, and design and composition. 

Karen Israel’s pastel paintings are defined by their dynamic compositions and unique viewpoints. She has won numerous awards and honors. Karen conducts many teaching demonstrations and workshops throughout the United States and she has served as juror for many national competitions.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Member meeting

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Our first meeting of the year featured pastel artist and instructor Karen Israel. Karen demonstrated how to put figures in a landscape.

Here is the beautiful finished piece that Karen was so kind to send us!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 10 am - 3 pm

Inks Workshop with Sharon Quaglia


This class gave students the opportunity to explore, play and learn about the properties,
advantages and limitations of alcohol inks. Using a variety of mark-making tools, they practiced controlling the medium to create lovely backgrounds, landscape elements, and flowers using different techniques. Participants came away with finished paintings, works in progress, artist trading cards and a working knowledge of alcohol inks.

Saturday, April 22, 2023 

Impressions: Scholarship Art Sale

UUSE Meetinghouse, Manchester, CT

Glimpses of MAA’s Fundraiser Gala

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Color Theory Simplified

workshop with Sandra Wakeen

Sandra is a nationally and internationally renowned painter and teacher. Sandra focused on the fundamentals of color theory by exploring the different groups of color that make up the twelve segments of our basic color wheel. The goal was learning to use the color wheel simply and efficiently to control your painting.

The Poetry Project Reception

Friday, March 24, at 4:30 - 6 pm

Postcard Invitation

Manchester Town Hall Gallery

41 Center Street, Manchester, CT

It was a wonderful evening! Wit and Wisdom poets offered readings of original poems that MAA artists have interpreted in various mediums. Participating poets and artists brought finger foods for the reception table. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Intro to Abstract Art

Polly Castor

Polly Castor is a lifelong artist. This workshop was an intro to abstract art/one Day/any medium; The workshop answered the question: Do you want to understand the essential principles and components of strong meaningful abstract art? This class included PowerPoint lectures, several short exercises to be done by participants, and an empowering critique and discussion of student work.

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Saturday, March 18, 2023

A Different Approach to Landscape

Watercolor workshop with Carolyn Emerson

A member of MAA for more than a decade, Carolyn is familiar to local watercolorists. Beautiful landscapes are the quintessential goal of watercolorists. They may also be the greatest challenge. Too often our efforts become overworked, the detail too distracting, the cohesiveness lost. A wet paper approach can remedy many of these problems and lead to far lovelier paintings. 

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

Member meeting: Lyn Asselta, pastels, via Zoom

Lyn kindly shared images of her demo painting. The first image is where we left it in the demo. The second image is the finished piece.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

At our Holiday Party in December, attendees generously donated food for Manchester's food pantry. Thank you Normand Charlette, for organizing this and delivering the food!

Normand wrote, "Not an ideal day for delivering the MAA food pantry donations to MACC but Chance was glad to assist. Kudos to the MAA membership for helping make the holidays more enjoyable for those less fortunate."


Watercolor Workshop with Bivenne Staiger

Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 10 am - 4 pm

Carolyn Emerson wrote: "Bivenne Staiger’s November workshop was a stellar success for all 18 of us. Bivenne seemed as pleased with her students as we were with her instruction. Each of us painted an owl at night, an excellent lesson in painting low light effects,  applying intense background paint in an efficient manner, and the miracle of pulling a moon out of a very dark surface - watercolor magic all the way."

Photos, courtesy of Ronnie Klukas and Sue Masse.

Member meeting October 20, 2022

Artist Bivenne Staiger demonstrated how to paint a chickadee in watercolor. 

To see a slide show of images from the demo, move your cursor to the top right corner of image. A black play button will appear. Click on it.


18th Annual Members' Exhibit

Reception and Award Ceremony

South Windsor Public Library

1550 Sullivan Ave

October 9, 2022.

See the exhibit in the Friends Room at the Library. 

The exhibit is from October 1 - October 31, 2022.

Awards list

Pastel Workshop with Laura Kinlock
Saturday, September 17 & Saturday, September 24, 2022, 9 AM - 4 PM

Participants were nudged in their color and value choices. They learned to play adn let go a little and see what happened. The class was geared to intermediate students who had had some prior experience with pastels. Beginners were welcome also, with the understanding that they would not put unnecessary pressure upon themselves.


MAA booth at Art in the Park 
Sunday, June 5, 10 – 4
Center Memorial Park

586 Main St., Manchester

Image: Austin's remarkable giant sketch of the hill at Center Memorial Park, which people of all ages stopped by to help fill in, adding their own touches as Austin, Mary, and Judy cheered them on. We are hoping to prevail upon Austin to repeat the interactive part our booth in the future with another scene from Manchester. It was a very popular draw.


Watercolor Workshop with Carolyn Emerson:

Simplify! Let the water do the work!

Friday - Saturday, February 18 - 19, 2022

Participants used the medium in two different ways, both resulting in beautiful effects. Carolyn Emerson has taught many watercolor workshops over the years, passing on different techniques. 

Sue Masse said, "What a great workshop!  We had a wonderful time and learned great "wet on wet" techniques.  There were 17 students who left with a better understanding of the WATER in watercolor!!"


17th Annual Members' Art Exhibit 

South Windsor Public Library

1550 Sullivan Ave

September 30 - October 29

This was MAA's annual juried show covering all mediums.


Reception: Sunday, October 17.

Artists' information sheet.

Desmond's Pond, watercolor by Janet Heller

17th Annual Members' Exhibit

Reception and Award Ceremony

South Windsor Public Library

October 17, 2021.

See the exhibit at the Library, or virtually.

Awards list.

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Here are the demo pieces that Yuemei Zhang worked on during her ink and color brush art demonstration at our October meeting. Thank you for sharing these Yuemei!

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Manchester Town Hall Gallery -- Etc. Exhibit
41 Center Street, Manchester, CT

July 8, 2021 through October 14, 2021

The gallery on the first floor of Manchester Town Hall is an ongoing exhibit that gets changed every three months. 
The Etc. Exhibit included works in glass, colored pencil, graphite, ink (and other drawing materials), cut paper, collage, fabric, jewelry, wood, sculpture, clay, etc.! The exhibit was viewable during regular business hours, or in our virtual gallery. 


Artists' information sheet.

Cloud’s Illusions, alcohol ink by Sharon Quaglia


Dynamic Pastels Workshop with Janet Schwartz

September 24, 25, 2021


One obstacle that many of us experience when
starting a new work is getting caught up in the
details of our compositions. This two-day workshop was designed with a unique approach that encourages aspiring and experienced artists to simplify in those early stages. Focusing on value and composition, it was a fun and easy way to step into painting for the first time or refine your painting methods.

Plein Air Painting at the Woodbridge Farmstead

Sunday, September 12, noon to 2 pm


Plein air artists Chris Larson and Oren Paulin spent a beautiful summer afternoon painting at the open house for the Woodbridge Farmstead. The event was sponsored by the Manchester Historical Society. The Woodbridge Farmstead is a historic house at 495 Middle Turnpike East, near its intersection with Woodbridge Street. Built about 1835, it's a well-preserved example of a Greek Revival farmhouse, with a history of ownership by a single family extending over more than 150 years. 


Here is the wonderful finished pastel that Janet Schwartz began during her demonstration at our September meeting. Thank you for sharing this Janet!

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