Recollectionsof Art Study in Saugatuck
Ox-Bow SummerSchool of Painting
LeRoy Neiman was aninstructor of figure drawing and fashion illustration at the School of the ArtInstitute of
My firstsummer spent at Saugatuck was also the first year of my marriage to Janet Byrnewho had also been a student of the Art Institute of
Another year Ibrought my friend Shel Silverstein, the cartoonistand country music writer with his guitar to the Ox-Bow Summer School.
It was atSaugatuck that I'd take a model into the woods and do nature studies of thenude outdoors. My first and only lithograph I did on the school'spress was a result of those sketches.
Then there wasBurr Tillstrom and his puppets and the camp's cook, alovable plump older lady who would "hit" students and faculty forpaintings because she collected and loved art so much. We later discovered shewas selling them.
Lots ofmemories -- good ones -- it's wonderful to know new generations areexperiencing Saugatuck as we did.
The recollectionsbelow are excerpts from a long video interview by John Lebenin December of 1995. Olendorf
Ox-Bow was avery influential part of my art life, my career. I had studied art in both highschool and in college, but never got totally into the art business as a way oflife, until somebody talked me into taking a week at Ox-Bow as a student on myvacation. It was such a completely different atmosphere from anything I had everexperienced in the art world. It was a completely remote area. Everyone who wasthere was there to enjoy themselves and study the world of art , I had paintedin Chicago at the Old Town Art Center and studied art there, taken a fewcourses at the Art Institute, not anything to be serious about; I wasn'tserious at Ox-Bow either, but I became so enveloped in the art world there. Ithought, "God what a marvelous place this is." My teachers there wereoutstanding, so laid back. They were genteel, really class people.
There was always a group of young kids, from the Art Institute who hadcome to Ox-Bow.
First of all,we concentrated on technique. They had excellent teachers showing you thecurrent techniques of painting. Secondly, they talked about concepts ofthinking out what you wanted to do. I can remember going out in classes andwatching 25 people stare at a little bush where a bunch of butterflies werelanding, catching the color with the sunshine beating down on the greens,browns and blacks, just color, and appreciating it... Painting is recording
I kept comingback year after year. Every year at the end of the season they had acelebration and as part of the pageant they would have the model of the year,usually a very attractive young Art Institute model, standing up in a rowboatcoming across the bay with one or two guys rowing her in. It was a beautifulsight seeing this naked young lady being rowed across the water.
One of my bestpals was one of the top photographers of Lifemagazine. He just went up there to spend time photographing wild animals,bugs, flies, everything you could imagine. He always had a camera out, and atthe end of the summer he had a collection of marvelous scenes that went into
LeRoy Neiman was ayoung man working at a
I was in oneor two Chicago Art Institute shows and the last one I went to
It was thebest of times, learning how to paint with the best of people with the mostattractive young models and the most interested art students that
In an oral interviewwith Patti Rickets in 1996 Marti Peterkin talkedbriefly about her study and friendship with Cora Bliss Taylor who ran an artschool in Saugatuck from 1931 to 1980.
I am awatercolorist and studied with Cora Bliss Taylor and we would come here [wherethe Harbors Health Care Facility was later built and paint and it wasbeautiful.
Cora BlissTaylor was written up in Who's Who, she was a very famous person. Genevieve
She alwayswore a hat, beautiful hats. She started the interurban and I was so proud ofher. She was a lot of fun. I enjoyed her.
My daughters, Angle and Jenny,took art lessons from Mrs. Taylor for a few summers. They have many happymemories of these special times.
Mrs. Taylor in her big, flower-trimmed hat, was alwayssmiling and encouraging the students in her art class. Patience was needed andshe had it in
abundance. She never seemed to lose her "cool." The class wasunstructured, the students working at their own level and pace.
Children metfor lessons on summer mornings in the backyard of the
Sometimes shewould take them on a walk around town to paint the sights of Saugatuck. Shealways had treats at the end of class and the children looked forward to that.
An artexhibition of work by the children was held at the end of summer. A clotheslineexhibit displayed the paintings and the children could invite their family andfriends. Mrs.
She seemed togenuinely enjoy the kids. She told them stories about places she had visitedand what life was life when she was young. She instilled in them an interestand desire to travel. They thought she was very "worldly." -- GingerCoffey
Albert H. Krehbiel was a slim and spry man.He had a sharp chin with a goatee and iron gray hair over which he usually worea hat.
There were three in my family who took lessons, me, my sister and mymother who was about 60 at the time. He would say, "Here
We would go down to his studio by the waterfront at 9 a.m. and usuallypaint indoors in the morning, when it was still cold or if it was raining. Wedid a lot of interiors at the fisherman's shack and the carpentry shop near thestudio.
Then we would go home for lunch and paint scenes around town in theafternoon. This was back when there weren't many cars and we had to walk andcarry all of our painting equipment up the hill to the Congregational Church,or anywhere else we had selected to paint. He was always impressed with howstraight my mother stood, even when she was loaded down with her paint boxes.
He would say,"There's no bend in her back at all," even though she was past 60.
She usually signed her paintings "E. Z. Miller" using herinitials, and he kidded her about that because mother was a tee-
He helped his students as they were painting and would occasionally usea brush on a student's painting to make a point, or sometimes draw a suggestionon the border. I didn't like him to touch my painting so I would say,"Just tell me, Albert."
Mr. Krehbiel always made a point of puttingwarm colors in the ground. He was great for color and the ground did usuallylook warm, especially against the green of the leaves and the trees.
The lessonswere held in a frame building, dark red in color, that was torn down to makeroom for the Ship 'n Shore motel-boatel. It had a dutchdoor, unusual for this area. You could talk through the upper half and leavethe bottom closed.
We didn'tpaint much as a class in the studio. We would have sketching sessions andfigure drawing, and talk about ideas and theories. In the afternoons we wouldgo out on location and do our own individual paintings.
He used totell us that an artist needed to look at what they wanted to paint and make areal plan in their head before beginning to paint. He said, "You shouldstudy what you want to do for an hour, then do it in10 minutes." Study it first, so that you really knew the scene and thenyou could paint the essence of it.
The time wasall work, not a tedious kind of work, but very intense and interesting as welearned to transfer what we could see to the canvas. It was a very stimulatingtime.