Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Women explore creativity at Women’s Day of Art workshop at River Campus

Monday, May 2, 2022
Ms. Lolita Hayes shows her not quite finished oil painting. Hayes was one of the attendees at the Women's Day of Art workshop at Crisp museum.
Photo by Kate Haussman

Crisp Museum curator of education Ellen Flentge taught women of all ages how to use simple hands-on techniques to create small artworks at the Crisp Museum for the Women’s Day of Art workshop April 30.

Flentge said the workshop helped the participating women find creativity by adding different kinds of art into their arsenal.

“Women’s Day of Art is a program that is a sampling of different types of art that brings out your creativity,” Flentge said. “So today, we worked with watercolor, papermaking, printmaking and oil painting.”

Watercolor paints were used to create simple, vibrant paintings of flowers and leaves during the workshop, while oil paints were used for a detailed, muted painting of a still life.

The attendees did printmaking by sculpting a design on a matrix, which is a block used to print the same design over and over. Attendees then rolled the paint onto the matrix and stamped it on paper.

This program started in 2007 when Flentge was given the space to hold her classes, but this particular workshop was started in March of 2022 for International Women’s Month. The event was pushed back due to the weather. Flentge said she puts on a new class every week for people interested in art.

Some of the women at the event worked with forms of art they had never participated in before. Retired elementary school teacher Kathy Stearley said she had never tried papermaking before.

“I learned a lot of techniques for papermaking,” Stearley said. “It’s different and fun using the machines.”

Papermaking is done when an artist grinds up used paper scraps to make new sheets of paper. The scraps are blended with water to make a thick, malleable texture, then spread evenly over a strainer to remove excess water. Lastly, the newly-formed paper is set on fabric to dry out.

Cape Girardeau resident Katie Britt said she learned a lot about mixing oil paints to get the right shade of color, and she plans to bring her new techniques home to her daughter who is “very interested in art.”

“Mixing the colors took a lot of patience, but was fun,” Britt said. “You cannot use white, [but] only the two [primary] colors to make it the tone you need.”

Flentge had the attendees mix up multiple paint colors to follow her detailed steps in recreating a still life image of fruit. The attendees worked on this artwork through the end of the class.

After the class, the women were able to take home their artworks to keep and continue to work on.

For more information on upcoming events, visit the Crisp Museum website.