It was wonderful to visit Napa, CA in the riotous height of spring and particularly inspiring to work with a wildly talented, spirited, goofy, wonderful group of high school students. Gathered together from all across the country for this one semester art immersion and academic program, I hope they learned some things, but I know that I felt renewed and restored by their optimism and buoyant energy. Drawing, drawing, painting the myriad of wild flowers and garden flowers at hand, then collectively composing and collaging this collection of blossoms done by the entire group was an education for them and a thrill for me.
“This week, Robert Kushner has expanded Oxbow students’ knowledge on botanical art and art
itself during his ten day residency. Just finishing the two week research project, ProjectX,
students were introduced to Kushner by a couple of sticks, jars of ink and flowers. They learned
how to sharpen sticks into fountain pens in order to observationally paint flowers on thin
Japanese paper. Kushner draws a lot of his inspiration from traditional Japanese art and his
interest in the natural world. His work is nationally acclaimed as the catalyst for the Pattern and
Decoration movement where his natural elements are placed in abstract and geometric
atmospheres which ultimately contributes to both a decorative and modernist style. His visit
ended with a largescaled accumulation of the flowers on a big slab of wood to create the effect
of a dream garden. Preparing for Spring Break, Oxbow students are enjoying the sunny Napa
days and are finally finishing up big research papers and projects in their Humanities classes.
After Spring Break, the Oxbow School will readily enter its conquest into Final Projects!”
– Emily Y., student