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

Teacher Profile - Nan Rothwell July 02 2017, 0 Comments

Nan Rothwell began teaching clay classes at the Bay School in 2015.  Her next class, Take Your Throwing To The Next Level, will be Saturday & Sunday, August 5 & 6 9:30am - 5pm.




Nan started making pots in England, where she studied in private studios and at the Harrow School of Art. Since 1973, she has been a studio potter in Virginia. She makes functional stoneware pottery that she sells in a variety of settings including juried exhibits, solo shows and galleries. She also teaches pottery at City Clay in Charlottesville and at multiple outside venues.  She and her son made two teaching DVD's that were published by Ceramic Arts Daily.  Last month, a new online teaching company called filmed Nan for a six-week throwing course that will be published soon. 

A few questions to Nan:


 What made you start teaching?

I had several generous, creative teachers when I first started potting, so I feel the need to pass the favor on.

What do you get out of teaching?

Two main things:   First, it's challenging and creative to help someone figure out how to take an idea and translate it into clay.  Second, since I am an introvert, teaching gets me out into the world and interacting with other people.  It's easy for me to just stay in the studio and work.  Teaching forces me to exercise my social side.



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

I fell in love with clay at 19, and except for a brief period when our children were young, I have been potting my entire adult life.  Recently, when we decided to sell our rural home and studio, I thought I would stop working in clay and try doing something else.  That idea lasted less than a month, and now I am in the process of setting up a smaller and more low-key pottery business in Charlottesville.  





Hard Work, Small Dreams: Bentwaters Farm June 16 2017, 2 Comments

 Off the beaten path and nestled on the shores of where Pepper Creek and the Mobjack meet, Larry and Rosalie Brown have built a flourishing farm out of hard work and dreams. Their white farmhouse rises from the marsh to greet you with all of the charm and humility only found in times gone by. The farmhouse was built around 1895 by one of the Armisteads, a group of brothers who built each other’s homes. It then changed hands to the parents of Paul Blanock, former Commonwealth Attorney, and in 1980 was purchased by the Browns.










A romance story of the truest kind, Larry was serving in the Air Force, stationed in England, when he met Rosalie, a children’s nanny. The two soon fell in love and he whisked her away to the United States, settling in Gloucester and later relocating to Mathews. Rosalie had always dreamed of living on a farm, “Growing up in England, I’d always wanted to be a children’s nanny or a farmer, and I was a children’s nanny for a number of years. When we came here, I just knew I was going to get sheep. My father and mother were alive at that time, dad went with me to get sheep and that just started it.” Having been exposed to the processes of spinning, knitting and weaving in her childhood, the progression to raising sheep for the production of wool was a natural one. For Larry, growing up in Hampton and a self-proclaimed “gear head”, the farm life offered a chance for him to return to his roots, as farming ran in both sides of his family lineage.



From a small dream, blossomed Bentwaters Farm and the promise of a simpler life. The Browns soon evolved from raising Dorset and Hampshire sheep, which are mainly used for meat, to raising sheep for the production of fine wool and wool products, which are handmade and dyed onsite. Over the years, their farm has expanded to include Dwarf Nigerian goats, English Angora rabbits, a bevy of chickens, Guinea hens, quail, a llama and bees.


Their love for their craft is evident, not only in the way they speak about what they do, but also in their passion to pass on their trade, both having taught in one capacity or another. Rosalie teaches a number of classes from dying to felting at The Bay School Community Arts Center, in Mathews and Rosalie and Larry have both done educational presentations at a number of historical sites in Williamsburg in addition to the programming conducted by Colonial Williamsburg.


The Browns have a deep and abiding love and respect for their animals that is apparent when wandering the property. When Rosalie walks among the goats and sheep, she calls each one by name and stops to visit with them for a while, often stopping to play with the young kids.


Bentwaters Farm is a member of the Middle Peninsula Artisan Trail and is open to visitors seeking to experience the hands on process of wool production. For more information or to visit Bentwaters Farm for yourself, visit their website: 

Teacher Profile - Doris Hackworth January 02 2017, 0 Comments

Doris Hackworth has been teaching pottery classes at the Bay School since 2014.  Her next class, Beginner Wheel Throwing, is on Saturday, Jan 28; Feb 4, 11, & 18 from 1pm - 4pm.  Register early to secure your spot!


Doris Hackworth discovered the joy of wheel thrown pottery in 1981 through community college ceramics classes in CA. Nearly 30 years later in 2009, she took to the wheel again and has been taking classes ever since at the Bay School, the Visual Arts Center in Richmond, Nan Rothwell Pottery in Charlottesville, The Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen, and the John C. Campbell Folk Art School in NC. Doris’ emphasis is on form and function. She loves making pots that have a job.

A few questions to Doris:

What made you start teaching?

I have always been a teacher in my heart.



 What do you get out of teaching?

I take huge satisfaction in promoting the joy of handmade pottery and being a part of adults finding a creative outlet they enjoy.

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

You might be surprised to know that I taught community college biology for a while and also worked for a language school teaching English to German speakers.


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 - Janet Griffin February 29 2016, 1 Comment

Janet Griffin will be teaching how to Construct a Felted Animal on Saturday, March 19 9am - 12:30pm.  In this class the students will manipulate wool yarn and silk fibers to build an animal of their choice.

Janet is a retired art specialist from Gloucester County Public Schools. She taught in Hampton City Schools before staying at Petsworth elementary School for the last 25 years. She continues to be a guest teacher at other Gloucester Elementary schools. She certainly enjoyed her teaching of art to young children and has always been amazed how children can teach her! Now she looks forward to learning from adults. She grew-up in a military family, so everything was organized! Janet graduated from Old Dominion University, Magna cum laude, (that means she worked very hard and had no social life). 

Janet's own artistic work is tapestry weaving, balanced between the 60” Macomber and 30” Leclerc looms. Her favorite weaving is Theo Moorman’s tapestry technique. Janet lives in Gloucester Courthouse with her husband Jim and two crazy cats.

A few questions to Janet

What made you start teaching?

I knew I wanted to teach from the time I was a little girl. I was one of the first children in the brand new kindergarten program in Germany way back in 1959. Perhaps some of that is from bossing my younger brother around. As a eight-year-old I can certainly remember playing school with my childhood friends.




What do you get out of teaching?

Yes it's Joy. Yes it's sharing of knowledge. Yes it's knowing that my students are learning a new thing. That would be the case in young or older students, as in adults.


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

I was the first person in my family ever to go to college and graduate. My dad did go and take college classes while he was in the military, however he never achieved a degree. So the surprising thing here might be that I have dyslexia. It's a mild form where I see a lot of things backwards, or even say a lot of things in reverse of what I am thinking.