What the…Herp?

In partnership with the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have been working with a brilliant student named Ashtin.  Our focus? The intersection of art and….Herpetology! In case you don’t know, Herpetology is the “branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians) and reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras)”.


Our first lesson was on North Carolina Herpetologist Ray Ashton.  We learned about his main focus and passion, the Gopher Tortoise! It is an incredible animal that is known as a “keystone” species- meaning it is a key in helping in between 350-400 other species survive! It does so by digging tunnels into the earth up to 40 feet long that creates habitats for all the other creatures as well.  After learning a little bit about Ray Ashton and his life, we created a multi-media art project highlighting the Gopher Tortoise and it’s role as a keystone species. And we even got to use spray paint:)




-Kristina Rose Baker, Community Artist in Residence

The Flower Carriers

This week the kids from The Gordon Center and Sonshine school learned about the prominent Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera.


Inspired by his painting “El Vendedor de Alcatraces” we created our own Calla Lily Vendors using colored construction paper and oil pastels.  They came out so beautifully!



-Kristina Rose Baker, Community Artist in Residence

Go Figure!

Here are a few shots from our “Go Figure” Resident artist class that concluded this past weekend!


You may be asking yourself: “Whoa! Where did all the funky colors come from?!” This painting class focused on abstracting the human figure.  We began the class by playing around with Color-aid cards (essentially paint color chips!) to create interesting color combinations.  Once a harmonious color combination was created, we practiced mixing oil and acrylic paint to match the paint chips.  When we had our palettes ready to go, our model  began posing as we created small thumbnail sketches exploring different compositions.  We then painted small studies to see what our paintings would look like with different color proportions.


I think color is the most direct and expressive way to begin delving into abstraction.  After we had our basic compositions and colors blocked in on our canvases, I showed a slideshow I had prepared about the abstracted human figure in art.  We looked at examples from Ancient Egypt, Judy Glantzman, Summer Wheat, Henri Matisse, Kiki Smith, Allison Schulnik, and many more!


Judy Glantzman


Allison Schulnik

summer wheat

Summer Wheat 


Henri Matisse

Egypt 2

Ancient Egypt (Unknown Artist)

After that things started really spicing up in the classroom! We integrated oil pastels into our paintings for some spontaneous color and mark-making.  And once everyone’s creative juices were flowing, there was no stopping them!

Thank you everyone for a successful workshop! It was certainly a lot of fun to teach!


-Kristina Rose Baker, Community Artist in Residence


The Bascom Celebrates Photography. Purchase your tickets today!

For the first time in Highlands, NC the community of photographers, educators, and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to come together in a remarkable showing of celebration for the photographic medium during two days of photography programming. Join us for gallery talks, tutorials, exhibits, food, spirits, and live music. All on the scenic Bascom Campus. Limited tickets are available, so make sure to purchase yours soon!  CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS! 

Here is the list of events and dates:


  • Guest Speakers, The Bunzl Gallery: 1-4pm
  • Panel Discussion, The Bunzl Gallery: 4-5pm
  • Opening Reception, The Bunzl Gallery: 5-7pm


  • Photo Tutorials, Education Studios: 10am – 4:30pm
  • Public Photo Activities, Campus: 10am-4pm
  • Closing Celebration on The Terrance: 6-9pm

By attending this event you will be exposed to some of North Carolina’s top contemporary photographers. Get up close and personal with the artists about their aesthetic, process, and themes behind their works. All while meeting and interacting with other regional photographers, watching tutorials, partaking in photographic activities, and enjoying great food and music. If you love photography, this event is for YOU! Here is the list of the Photography Guest Speakers for Friday:

Rob Amberg: An exhibiting photographer featured in the Bascom’s current exhibition, North Carolina, A Sense of Home: Selections from the Do Good Fund. “Born in Washington, DC, in 1947, Rob would later moved to Madison County, North Carolina, in 1973. He began what has become his lifetime project – writing and photographing about the evolving culture and environment of his adopted county.” More on Rob…Rob

Rachel Boillot: She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Tufts University, a B.F.A. in Photography from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and an M.F.A in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University. She has recently worked as a Photography Professor at Duke University, Assistant Producer at Sandrock Recordings, and a Multimedia Documentarian for the Friends of the Cumberland Trail. More on Rachel…Rachel Boillot

Brittany Little: Brittany Little is a fine art photographer working out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her BFA from the University of North Carolina Charlotte in 2015 and continues working in a wide range of subject matter. More on Brittany…Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 12.10.05 PM

Alan Rothschild: “Founder of the Do Good Fund, Alan began collecting photographs in 2013—though the seeds of inspiration were planted long ago during his childhood in Columbus, Georgia, which founded his lifelong interest in regional history. While he has been working full-time as a lawyer, his activities have evolved over the years to include widespread public programming and community dialogues centered on the photographs and their collectively told history.” More on The Do Good Fund….PhotoExhibit16-3

I personally consider this to be the biggest, most exciting photography event of the year in the Western North Carolina region. I can’t wait to see you!


Byron Tenesaca, Photo Resident

thebascom.com              Chulla-Vida.com

Digital Photography Workshop this Saturday! featuring Portraiture!

taylor2Come join us this Saturday from 1-4pm at The Bascom for one of a kind Portraiture Workshop. This hands-on workshop covers the skills that are needed to become a better digital photographer. In the workshop we will go over the function of those unfamiliar controls found on digital cameras, and how they can be used to get better results. In the first part of the workshop, the students will learn how to avoid exposure mistakes and how exposure controls can be used to create dramatic photographic effects.woman-of-the-andes10

In the second part, students will learn how to position lights, model and camera to take great digital photos through a mock photoshoot. This session will cover different types of still life and portraiture photography.

At the end of the workshop we will and focus on image editing through Lightroom. It demonstrates how to improve any image with a basic edit (brightness, contrast, color balance, retouching) by doing the right steps in the right order. LowQualityPortraits-2

Don’t miss it!

Byron Tenesaca, Photo Resident

thebascom.org                 chulla-vida.com 


Portrait Drawing with The Gordon Center

This past Monday, The Gordon Center kids learned all about portrait drawing as they practiced self-portraits.  They learned all about face proportions and shapes, and drawing specific facial features.  Hudson is five years old and drew this amazing portrait!IMG_3116

  1. And here’s a shot of the kids being goof-balls after class- Can you spot all three students?


-Kristina Rose Baker, Community Artist in Residence

Artist in Residence Figure Drawing Workshop

This past weekend concluded The Community Artist in Residence’s Figure Drawing workshop series! We had an intimate group for the two-weekend session which meant a lot of individual time for feedback and guidance.  The group learned a lot, and all are returning for the Figure Painting sessions beginning this Saturday!IMG_3110


-Kristina Rose Baker, Community Artist in Residence