Painting and Collage - Rancho La Puerta
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Painting and Collage

Week of August 17, 2019

Painting and Collage – Bringing out the artist in everyone
Don’t bring any preconceptions about drawing or painting.  This is a class of experimentation, fun and a variety of materials.  We paint, splatter, use marbles and salt.  When we are happy with our paintings and they are dry, we cut them apart and create collages much like making a patchwork quilt or working with mosaic tiles. Wear clothing that welcomes a few paint splashes.

Experienced artists and beginners are welcome.


From Attic Storage to Museum Exhibitions
Telling the story of my fabulous aunt Vera, who lived “underground” in Berlin throughout the war and started her own business when she came to America.  This is not a “victim” story but one of bravery, perseverance, and good luck.

My aunt Vera survived the Holocaust with false identification papers from 1938-1945.  Vera not only survived; she never lost her fun-loving personality; and reconnected with her family to start a successful hand-made glove business in Chicago and Carmel.

Vera shared much of her life story with me and when Vera died in 1986, I thought that was pretty much the end of the story.  But in 2014, 28 years later, I visited the Jewish Museum in Berlin and was inspired to tell my aunt’s story.  I found an eager audience: museums of history and institutions of fashion.  Meeting the curators and providing them with materials that I had packed away—has been rewarding and so much fun.

I will bring a power point presentation and some of Vera’s fabulous handmade gloves for guests to see firsthand.

I hope that hearing my story may motivate Ranch guests to research their own family histories and create their own museum donations.


Susan Stevens spent her career as a publicist, press secretary, and communications professional.  Originally from Chicago, she now splits her time between Philadelphia and a summer house in Michigan. She is best known at the Ranch as a painting and collage instructor. She says that she specializes in working with people who were told they have no talent when they were children…but she welcomes accomplished artists as well.  Susan is also the niece of a fascinating woman who immigrated to the United States in 1946 having survived the entire holocaust with an assumed identity in Berlin. That story and the artifacts from the years in Germany continue to be donated to museums and have become Susan’s second career.