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 Profile - Kathleen Noffsinger June 15 2016, 0 Comments

Kathleen Noffsinger will be teaching Painting the Summer Landscape - Shimmering Beach Scenes in Watercolor! Friday & Saturday, July 22 & 23, 10am - 3pm at the Bay School.  Join Kathleen as she shares her secrets to painting summery light and shimmering color.

Kathleen Noffsinger is an award-winning professional artist and educator from Hartfield, Virginia, who expresses her talent in colorful watercolors of wildlife and nature.  From the simple design of a wading egret to the tranquil beauty of her butterfly garden, Kathleen’s works are images of nature that elicit an appreciation for the simpler things in life.                     

Having spent many enjoyable hours on the Rappahannock and Piankatank Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay with her husband, Tom, Kathleen chooses the water and its many facets as one of her favorite subjects.  Preferring to work from her own reference material, she often takes photos of the wildlife she loves to paint, capturing “close ups” that force her to use her creativity.  She labels her style of painting impressionistic realism.

Drawing and painting since childhood, Kathleen holds a BS in education from the University of Maryland and has been teaching adult watercolor and drawing classes since 1998. Her students love her organized approach to teaching art as well as her hands-on demos and one-on-one individualized instruction.  As an award-winning artist she has been featured in national juried shows locally and throughout the South including Naples and Marco Island, Florida and the Florida Keys.  Since 2007 she has led Travel and Paint workshops in Bermuda and Florida. Her paintings have been featured in numerous publications, including Chesapeake Bay Magazine (February, 2002) and she has appeared in a segment on the Chesapeake Bay for PBS.  In 2010, her painting “Pastel Cottage, Bermuda” was accepted into the National Watercolor Society Juried All-Member Show in California.  In 2016 her painting “Mangrove Sanctuary”  won an Award of Excellence at the Annual Virginia Watercolor Society Exhibition in Gloucester, VA.

Noffsinger is a member of the National Watercolor Society (Associate), Virginia Watercolor Society (Signature Artist Member), Rappahannock Art League and the National League of American Pen Women.  She exhibits her work in galleries and juried shows throughout the East Coast.

To learn more about her paintings, show schedule and classes, Kathleen may be reached at her studio in Virginia.


A few questions to Kathleen


Kathleen's Process:

Kathleen begins her paintings with a compositional plan of lights and darks in a 2” x 3” sketch and proceeds to a full-size drawing on her watercolor paper.  Working in both her studio and on location "en plein air",  she then begins adding color using both large brushes as well as a “pouring” technique.  Vibrant colors are added in layers of transparent glazes which allow the white of the paper and previous layers of color to visually mix in the viewer's eye.   Working with “purist” watercolor techniques as well as combining pen and ink and mixed-media collage with watercolor, Kathleen’s goal is to capture on paper a memorable and creative visual impression for the viewer. 


What do you get out of teaching?


I was trained to be an elementary school teacher at the University of Maryland and love to teach!  My beginner adult watercolor students often say it's a good thing I know how to teach first graders.  It is a special joy to share what I have learned in watercolor and to see artists fall in love with mixing color right on the watercolor paper and then improve their skills until they are proudly framing their first paintings.  I now have many students who are winning top awards in juried art shows and I am the one who is proud of them.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

I think people might be surprised to find out that I consider myself an absolutely terrible public speaker ...except when I am teaching an art class.  Then the spirit of this creative gift that I have been given by God to share with others just gives me all the right words.


Teacher Profile - Virginia Coyle April 07 2016, 1 Comment

Virginia Coyle teaches many classes at the Bay School.  She teaches the Art Break series of classes that meets on the 3rd Wednesday of every month 10am - 12pm.  These classes are stress relief in the daytime!  You will create fun art & craft activities - you don't have to be a serious artist to be creative!


Virginia is a Bay School teacher and artist. She is a lifelong resident of Virginia and has been a resident of Mathews for over 20 years. Her paintings are inspired by her family, nature and experiences. She is self-taught in all her artistic mediums and other skills. Her favorite medium to work with is watercolor because it is so unpredictable. Virginia loves to paint mermaids, fabrics, children, folk art scenes and sometimes something just out of the ordinary. She also enjoys being creative by drawing, sewing, and participating in other forms of artistic projects and crafts. She currently has new works in progress and resides in Bavon with her husband and 2 grandchildren who continue to inspire her every day.

A few questions to Virginia


 What made you start teaching?

I started teaching because of Wendy Wells - Bay School founder.  She took me to the Laurel Shelter to help her with the outreach program that we offer there.  She asked me if I liked going and I said yes.  She said the job was mine!

What do you get out of teaching?

I like creating art with the children more than teaching.  I like for them to create what they like verses me telling them what to do.  I like letting them get messy and mixing stuff up!  I enjoy seeing kids having fun creating art and getting their hands in the paint - just being free to create.  It doesn't matter if they make a masterpiece or a mess as long as they can be creative.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you.

My idea of fun is to stay home and spend time with my grandchildren.  I like to create my art and shop for art books and art supplies.





Teacher Profile - Adele Castillo February 01 2016, 0 Comments

Adele Castillo will be teaching Acrylics for Beginners on Friday, Feb. 12 10am - 4pm.  This one day workshop will include information about acrylics - what they are and how they behave.  This class is perfect for beginners and as a refresher class for those who've been away from painting for a while.



Adele Castillo is an artist who is well-known for her colorful renditions of animals. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Old Dominion University, Adele taught art in the Virginia Beach School System for 19 years. After leaving VBPS, Adele began teaching adult students in Norfolk before moving to the Richmond area in 2001. She has exhibited her work in various shows, including Stockley Gardens Art Festival, 43rd Street Arts Festival, Gosport Arts Festival, several solo and group exhibits and she has a few awards tucked in her home studio, the latest being from Art Speaks on the Bay exhibition in 2015. Adele currently maintains a studio and gallery wall in Crossroads Art Center, Richmond, VA. and in the last few years has been honored to jury and judge all-media shows in Richmond and the Ocean View Art Festival in Norfolk. Always experimenting, she has also been known to share her expertise via demonstrations, critiques and art talks for various art groups and communities.
Adele also teaches painting classes and workshops in her studio at Crossroads Art Center, at For Art’s Sake Gallery and other locations upon request.

A few questions to Adele:



What made you start teaching?

I began teaching elementary art right out of college. I did it because in 1980, the attitude was still very much “ what are you going to DO with that art degree?” I learned so much during my 20 years in public schools, but I was exhausted and not making my own art and I was burned out by the system - demands that had nothing to do with teaching art. I left, then began painting, exhibiting and teaching adults a year later. It was the best move I ever made.

What do you get out of teaching?

I love teaching! I learn from my students when they bring in ideas and thoughts about their art. Working with beginners is wonderful when the light bulb goes off and they have those aha! moments or they finish that first painting and sign it with pride. I feel like I’m right there with me for the journey. I often do a little happy dance in class when students finish a particularly difficult piece. Teaching challenges me to stay on top of my game as well. I have to know what’s new and exciting so I can pass it on in class.

Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you

I was a body builder in my late twenties. I began lifting weights for strength when living alone and fell in love with it. I was prepping for my first show when I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do. AND I was just plain hungry! It requires great discipline and dedication, both of which I had. But I no longer loved it, and I wanted to get back to simply working the weights for my health.




Outreach Programs - OpenArts After School November 12 2015, 0 Comments

The Bay School not only provides a place for art enthusiasts to learn new techniques, but it also goes out into the Mathews/Gloucester communities to teach art enrichment programs to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore the arts. The second week each month, we’ll give you a peek into the many educational programs that are powered by grants and other generous donors.     

Every Wednesday, from 3-5pm, the Bay School joins forces with the Mathews Family YMCA to teach the OpenArts After School Program. This special arts session introduces students to a different artist/technique each month and provides a much needed, “art break” for the students that attend. Led by Saraya Cheney, Bay School Outreach Coordinator, and Virginia Coyle, Bay School Teaching Artist, the students are welcome to explore, make messes and create something beautiful.  In past months, the student artists have explored the works of Vincent Van Gogh, George Rodrigue and most recently Roy Lichtenstein. This program has been generously funded by the Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, making it open, and free, to the general public.  Elementary, middle, and home school students here in Mathews are welcome to join the YMCA campers in this art adventure!



  For more information about this or any of our other outreach programs, please contact us directly via phone or email – 804-725-1278

Teacher Profile - Christopher Wynn November 02 2015, 0 Comments



 Christopher Wynn will be teaching “A Crash Course in Watercolor” at the Bay School on Thursday & Friday, Nov. 19 & 20.  Christopher majored in fine art at the University of Washington, Seattle, and the University of California Berkley, where he graduated with a B.S.  Further art studies include Otis Parsons Art Institute and Santa Monica JC, and Foothill JC in Los Altos, CA.

He worked for years as an Art Director and Creative Director for numerous corporations and advertising agencies on the West Coast.  In 1992 he began and produced artwork and campaigns for many of Silicon Valley’s largest and most successful companies.




 In 2005 and 2006, Christopher circumvented the globe solo for seven months to paint watercolors en plein aire in over 24 countries.   Currently, his watercolors are represented by a number of art galleries and art venues on the West and East Coast and many around Richmond, VA.   He generously donated one of his paintings to the Bay School Fine Arts Auction this year



Christopher paints contemporary realism with a loose style.  He typically “mixes and rolls” the paint directly on the paper to achieve soft, organic gradients of color, transitions virtually impossible in any other medium.  There is always an element of “hit and miss” with these techniques, which often bring surprising results.  Here are some pictures from his first class at the Bay School, in February, along with some of his own work.