Bay School News

Teacher Update - Kathleen Noffsinger, Painter April 29 2020, 1 Comment

We asked our teachers what they have been doing during the quarantine

Just Another Ordinary Day:  Kathleen Noffsinger


As I try to inspire my creative self while self-isolating during Covid-19, I remind myself that I now have lots of time to paint!  So why is my time spent doing other things?  Well it’s because I cannot seem to actually open my palette.  Instead, I am “organizing” my studio, planting my garden with flowers to photograph and paint and forgiving myself when I do nothing at all.  I have read 4 novels and revisited all of my gardening books and favorite online gardening websites.  Thankfully, I can keep up with my weekly watercolor class through our new private Facebook page!  Yes, I give them lessons and homework and they call it Noffsinger University!  I look forward to actually seeing my students in person and teaching classes and workshops again … I miss my artist friends!


I am spending lovely afternoons on our dock with my husband, Tom, feeding our freshwater fish, our pair of Canada geese (Clyde and Penelope who are expecting their goslings to hatch any day) and enjoying the antics of our resident Great Blue Heron, whom we have just named Willie Nelson to make life in isolation more fun.  Willie enjoys the pleasures of fishing as much as Tom does!  With my camera in hand I photograph Willie as he gives me new compositional ideas for my Heron paintings! 


On my easel and my newest work-in-progress is “Just Another Ordinary Day”, 24” x 24”, Oil and Cold Wax Medium - A huge butterfly on an osprey nest!  I hope to finish it by the end of April.  And I am excited to share the news that my new oil painting “Flamingo Party” has been juried into the Art Speaks 2020 show coming soon to the Bay School gallery.   





I will be posting updates on classes, shows, new paintings and prints on my website at and I invite you to visit and leave a comment on the contact page.  If you are in the market for a new painting or commissioned artwork, I would be happy to talk with you about your ideas!  And no matter how you are spending your isolation, I hope you stay healthy and have as much fun as possible!  Here’s to a very happy and joyful Spring! 

Use this link to check out the great classes Kathleen will be offering at the Bay School.

 Use this link to see the artwork Kathleen has in our galery.

Teacher Update - Cynthia Quesenberry, Metal Clay Artist April 15 2020, 0 Comments

We asked our teachers what they have been doing during the quarantine 

Before the corona virus pandemic, I was working as a full-time Art Teacher for Suffolk Public Schools, and had several Silver and Copper classes on my calendar from March through December.  Now the Public Schools are closed, metal clay classes are cancelled through May (and probably will be for June too)…sigh.  I miss my elementary school students and the enjoyment of teaching metal clay classes.  I tearfully took all my bags of metal clay supplies, and several kilns to my backyard studio for storage.  Will just have to wait this out.  I will be so happy to return to the Bay School when this is all over.

What I am doing now:  I am still employed, and spend my days checking emails and answering questions that come up through the school system.  I have a Google Classroom for Art and I post lessons, You Tube videos and Kahoot activities to my students who have access to a computer.  I’m on my fourth week of this and it’s no fun.

What I am Working on Now:

In January of this year (pre-pandemic) I was fortunate to take a silver clay class with Master Artist Lora Hart.  That was a real treat.  The challenge was to construct a hollow form inspired by ancient amphorae.  Think of the shape of a Greek urn…only jewelry sized…

The technique was very challenging.  I built my form over a solid base, cut it off of the base in two pieces, and put it back together.  That alone was a true challenge.  Once I did all of that, I faced another challenge to design/ decorate it, build a lid, and design a way to make it wearable.  Not sure if this will be a wearable piece, or a fancy vessel…. It is not finished…Ideas?

Cindy is offering some great classes at the Bay School!  Use this link to see what she has on our calendar through the end of the year.

See some of Cindy's beautiful work in our gallery with this link

ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews January 17 2018, 0 Comments

Our first gallery exhibition of the year is a solo show featuring the sculptural work of Patrick Andrews. Patrick's sculptures consist of as many repurposed objects as possible and his award-winning metal work ranges from the whimsical to functional. He uses patinas and cut shapes to explore surface, scale and space in a way that alters his materials into works of poetic beauty. 

Gallery Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, had the opportunity to ask Patrick a few questions to gain a bit of insight into his creative inspirations and his origins as an artist:



SC - How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

PA - I use scrap metal, found objects and raw material to make sculptures, lamps, bells and functional art. By using reclaimed or re-purposed materials I can give these items a second chance at life and help to reduce the amount of material destined for landfills.

SC - Where do you say that you get your inspiration from? Does it come from one particular place or multiple places?

PA - I am frequently inspired by nature and other artists. In nature, the organisms or residents will frequently adapt to the environment in which they find themselves. This adaptability can result in entirely new species or behaviors. Some of the most vibrant colors and shapes I have seen have been in nature. Even after a natural disaster such as an earthquake or forest fire, nature is able to re-assert itself in newer and stronger ways. The skills and techniques of other artists have inspired me to look at what I make or do and realize I need to evolve as well. That is one reason I am frequently changing what I am making. In order to learn and grow.

SC - What or who do you think has been the biggest influence in your artistic career?

PA - While I visited the usual museums and an occasional gallery growing up, I think the Internet has become one of the biggest influences on my artistic endeavors. The Internet has allowed me to see art and artists from around the world. I have been able to see styles, colors, and techniques that I never knew existed. I have even used it to contact some artists for advice. The Internet has also allowed me to show my work to the world and I have been fortunate to find that others like what I make.



SC - What’s something you’ve struggled with creatively the most?

PA - Color choices, combinations, or finish is frequently a challenge for me. I have found that while I can see in my mind the idea of what I want to make, the color or finish can have a dramatic impact on the final product. There are some pieces I have made where, as soon as I was finished, I knew it was a success and other times when I look at something and realize it just doesn’t work. Sometimes it is that the paint did not adhere correctly or had drips or runs, or other times that the color selection was just plain wrong. I had one bell that I ended up having to repaint four times before I was happy with it.



SC - Have you always been making work from salvaged items or is this something that is relatively new? What does it mean to you to be able to take something, alter it and create something entirely new?

PA - I remember being in grade school or middle school and walking along railroad tracks, out in the woods, or on the beach. I would come across pieces of metal, interesting looking rocks, sticks or seashells and drag them home. In my mind they always became something else. As an adult I have been able to purchase tools and equipment to bring those ideas to life. I also tried to instill that idea in my children. I still have containers of Popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, crayons, and colored pencils my children used in school and have been known to raid those boxes for current projects.

SC - What prompted your work to head in that direction?

PA - One of the most important things I learned is to not look at an item as what it is, but what it can become. I apply that same philosophy to people and try to look for the hidden potential of what they can become. While I think I have been somewhat artistic my whole life, I have found that I now have the time and means to bring that to life.

SC - What is your favorite piece that you have created?

PA - It would be a dogwood branch sculpture I made for my house. I was on a portion of Virginia Beach one fall day about eight years ago and I found a large pile of metal rebar. The waves had twisted the pieces together like a plate of spaghetti. In addition, the salt water and sand had eroded portions of the metal so that instead of its usual look, it now looked very textured and organic. I had no idea what I was going to make with this, but I knew I had to have it. That rebar sat in my back yard until the following spring when the dogwood trees started to bloom. I now knew what the rebar was to become.

SC - Do you ever get blocked creatively? How do you work through it if you do?

PA - To borrow a quote from William Faulkner – “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.”

While I have had times when I question what I am doing and if it is worth it, I consider myself lucky in many respects. I have stacks of paper with sketches or ideas for various projects. When I find that I am tired of a particular style or item, I will frequently change the type of material I am using or the style of work I am attempting. This allows me time to take a break and regroup. I have also found that if I need inspiration, I can also just start cleaning up my pile of scrap metal. Moving those pieces of metal around is akin to re-arranging the letters in your rack in the game of Scrabble, in that, sometimes a piece just jumps right out at you.

I also recently read an article where another artist offered advice along these lines. “Make what you need to make in order to pay the bills. Occasionally, make what you want to make and that is fun for you. Soon you find that this last group of items is what pays the bills.” I interpreted that as meaning that the audience can see when an artist is making something from the heart.


Patrick's solo show ALTERED: Exploring the Artwork of Patrick Andrews opens on Friday, January 26th with a reception from 5-7pm. Refreshments and drinks will be served. 


Shop Local Featuring Dale Peterson August 14 2016, 0 Comments

Shop Local is a monthly event held at The Bay School every third Thursday of the month. This month, we're proud to be featuring the 3-D Pen work of Dale Peterson.

At the crossroads of art and technology, you’ll find Dale  Peterson.  Dale’s 3-D work has been featured in the Art Speaks Gallery and also won an award at this year’s Art Speaks on the Bay juried show. He has a background in pottery and loves to dabble in a variety of media. Most recently, Dale has been sharing his talents as a teacher at the Christchurch School in Christchurch, Va.

If you missed Dale Peterson’s demonstration this past Saturday, we’d like to welcome you to stop in on Shop Local Day, this Thursday, August 18th from 10-4pm. Dale will be in the Art Speaks Gallery to continue his work with his 3-D pen and to speak to visitors about his process.

Shop Local With Rebecca Grow July 17 2016, 0 Comments

Shop Local is a monthly event held at The Bay School every third Thursday of the month. This month, we're proud to be featuring Mathews' very own, Rebecca Grow and her beautiful, functional 3D watercolors. 


Rebecca first discovered her love of watercolors two years ago in a class taught by Kathleen Noffsinger, right here at The Bay School. Since then, she's developed a unique way of displaying her watercolors in a 3D format. Come stop by The Bay School this Thursday, July 21st, to get to know Rebecca and experience her process first hand. Rebecca has also graciously offered a 10% discount on all of her work on that day only. What a wonderful opportunity to encourage and support our local artists!

For more information on Rebecca, you can visit her website: and be sure to keep an eye out for an article featuring Rebecca in the August edition of Chesapeake Style Magazine.

Empty Bowls! November 25 2014, 0 Comments

The Bay School Community Arts Center is excited to host the Middle Peninsula’s first Empty Bowls Fundraising Event to benefit Hands across Mathews. Local artists have been busy making hand-crafted pottery bowls for several months in preparation for the event. Each ticketed guest will receive one of these unique bowls and a serving of soup, bread, and water, as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort to fight hunger and was created by The Imagine Render Group. Events vary greatly in size and character – some are extravagant soirees while others are relaxed lunch-time gatherings. This event, on Sunday, December 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm., will be informal and reflect Mathews’ small town community. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the Bay School in advance or at the door. Ticket sales will be limited to the number of bowls available, and other artwork and pottery will be offered for special sale as well. All proceeds go directly to Hands Across Mathews, so please bring cash or check.

Thank you for your support! September 19 2014, 0 Comments

A very huge THANK YOU from all of us at the Bay School to all of you who supported us and donated during The Amazing Raise! We were blessed with 122 donors from 13 states, D.C., and even London, U.K., for a total of $5680. Overall The Amazing Raise raised $1,741,376.92 from 20,421 donors for greater Richmond area non-profits. We were part of something huge! Thank you, community!

These generous donations will help us be able to continue our mission to bring art to the greater Mathews community through our gallery, specialized art classes for children and adults, our new teen open studio program, outreach programs to other community service areas, and our annual free week of art for children.