Art isn’t just for children or aspiring Monet types. Colville resident Willow Rosales shares her skills as print maker and mixed media talent in non-credit classes at Spokane Community College’s Colville Center. A 2005 graduate of Fairhaven College in Bellingham, Rosales taught printmaking workshops at the college until 2010. She came back to Stevens County a couple of years ago with her husband and fellow artist, Chris, to be closer to family (her parents own Quillisascut Farms in Rice).
Tell us about the non-credit classes you will be teaching.
I plan on teaching two different classes. One is a mixed media class where we will explore a variety of art mediums, such as watercolor, crayon pastel, block print, collage, and pencil drawing. The second class will focus primarily on linoleum block printing. We will learn about the basic skills of how to create an image to carve into linoleum, and hand press our images. Linoleum carving is basically like creating your own stamp, inking the block, and making replicas of the same image. I have never taught classes at this community college (Colville).
Have you ever taught art classes before?
My teaching experience initially began after I graduated from Fairhaven. That same year I was invited by Fairhaven’s art in¬structor to teach some printmaking workshops for a quarter. This was a major success for me, and the students, so I con¬tinued to lead printmaking workshops at the college until 2010.
I moved back to Stevens County, where I grew up, in 2010, and was a guest art instructor at Kettle Falls and Colville Panorama Alternative High Schools. There, I led printmaking workshops in the linoleum process.
What kind of experience do you bring when teaching a class?
From 2011-2012 I was an art teacher for Colville’s Columbia Virtual Academy. During that time, I led a beginning drawing class, introduction to block printmaking, mixed media, and comic book class. In 2012 I was also an art coach for the Colville School District. I taught a mixed media art class after school for Hofstetter Elementary, and Fort Colville Middle School students.
Also, in May of that same year, I was a guest artist instructor at Evergreen School in Gifford where I led a 90-minute mixed media art workshop. In July 2012 I created my own art work¬shops where I taught a two-day block printmaking class, and two separate mixed media classes located at the November Coalition building in Colville. Again in October, at the same lo¬cation, I taught my own month-long art workshops to elemen¬tary and middle school students.
Please describe the type of art you do and the creative process that goes into it.
I like to explore and experiment with a variety of mediums of art, like watercolors, pastels, charcoal, and pen and ink. However, my work as an individual artist is printmaking, which is an umbrella term for carving an image onto a surface, rolling ink across that surface, and creating replicas of that image by utilizing a printing press. I discovered my passion for printmaking at Western Washington University my sophomore year in college. During an initial Introduction to Printmaking, I experimented with a variety of printmaking processes like carving into zinc, linoleum, and wood. I learned that I am drawn to the technical skills that are pertinent to becoming an established printmaker.
Currently, not having a printing press has given me the opportunity to focus, explore and develop techniques within relief printmaking, as well as carving into linoleum, and hand-pressing my images. I am currently most drawn to this technique.
However, there really is not one part of printmaking that is more stimulating than the other. The entire development from designing the image, placing it on the surface, to carving, and inking is what triggers my creativity.
My inspiration also derives from my connection to the dry and rugged landscape of the Inland Northwest, as well as the beautiful and chaotic world around me.
Do you think artists are born or made?
Yes, artists are born; there are artistic geniuses just like there are mathematical geniuses. However, I believe respected artists dedicate their talent toward the well being of their community and society.
What has teaching children made you learn about yourself as an instructor, and what is the difference between the way kids see art and adults see it?
When I teach art to school kids, I have to remember to separate my artistic mode to my more authoritative mode. It really takes a lot of energy to keep a group of 20 K-3rd grade students captivated! Teaching young children has taught me to keep my approach light-hearted, fun, and educational, all at the same time! I really try to put myself in the students’ perspective at all times so I can help and guide them. Children are completely alive within this very moment, so whatever they’re feeling is reflected upon their art project. This is an ex¬tremely useful tool to apply to a class of adult art students who are constantly seeking perfection and constructed criticism. A child just wants to be told that their art is wonderful, and this can be difficult when you want to see them improve on particular technical skills. This is probably the most challenging task when teaching children… pushing them to think outside of the box to create something outstanding. That moment when a child observes their artwork subjectively, and when they truly desire to spend an extra minute to improve their work, is the moment when you have witnessed the beginning stages of an artist.
To see more of Rosales’ work, or to contact her about a class, go to www.willowbrookeart.com  or email firstname.lastname@example.org .