"Old Masters New Visions" Art Seminar
Viechtach, Germany 2004

Cynthia Ré Robbins
To learn about "Old Masters New Visions" Art Seminars 2006, click here

Along with 12 other artists from all over the world, I attended the 2004 Old Masters New Visions Seminar in Viechtach, Germany in June, and want to share what an exceptional experience it was. It was taught by Prof. Philip Rubinov-Jacobson, whose instruction was superb. He gave clear explanations and demonstrations, followed by ample studio hours. He had a well organized plan allowing us to do several different paintings during the course of the 3 weeks. There was great individual attention. In fact, I think this is an aspect of Phil's abilities that is truly outstanding. He can zero in on one's strengths and weaknesses, and offer solid guidance in a gentle manner - and always with lots of humor.
Professor Phil in Bavaria

Phil gives Nad some pointers

As a group, we laughed often, we got along, we let each other paint, we made good friends. The group was really talented and productive, and it was so inspiring to watch the various paintings as they developed. Phil had several dynamic paintings in various stages of completion, that he worked on whenever he wasn't making the rounds by our easels. It was very helpful to watch his fearless approach and the way he handles a brush. His knowledge of color, history, techniques, and all matter of marvelous trivia is astounding. He generously let us use his paints when his unusual colors would help us with what we were creating.

Students are expected to help keep the studio clean, or will be publicly embarrassed!
Phil at work on a new painting
A local artist, Reinhard Schmid, was instrumental in organizing this event. He got the mayor of the town fully involved, which resulted in a special rate at the hotel, easels that were made just for us, printed color brochures, and press coverage of our exhibition. The mayor invited us all to an elegant dinner. We felt like royalty. Reinhard is a masterful artist, and he has a museum that houses the town's Egyptian art collection along with his own fine paintings. He invited us for a personal tour of the historic building. He explained the displays and replicas, and then his own room of glass paintings of the tarot deck.

Agayerischen Gewolbe
De Es Schwertberger
De Es Schwertberger arrived from Vienna, as a guest artist, and took part in the exhibition. He also gave us a Power Point presentation of his body of work, explaining the evolution of his paintings and philosophy. We were in awe of his prolific and enlightened genius.
Our Hotel Schmaus was right on the main square and very nice, with big rooms and friendly staff. Co-Owner Martina Schmaus was always around to answer questions and help us find what we needed. Her husband was the head chef, so this was a place run with a very personal touch.There was a heavenly pool and sauna, fine dining, great coffee. Our studio space was glorious, with high ceilings, a wall of windows about 15 feet high that opened for ventilation.

The studio was full of light and fresh air

The view from the studio in Hotel Schmaus
The view was expansive, a panorama of green Bavarian hills. The weather was divine, about 65 degrees most days with showers that passed quickly followed by sunshine. The people of the town were very friendly and happy to host this group of artists. We had an exhibition in the old town hall, a refurbished historic building that was equipped perfectly for an art exhibition. It had halogen lighting, white walls, big windows. There was a very elegant opening with press coverage, speeches, presentations, awards, very good food and drink.

Irene, Carl, Mike, and Cynthia at the exhibitions opening

Reinhard, Phil, De Es, Mayor Bruckner, and Rudolf at the opening. Jacobson's paintings are on the wall.
Every weekend was full of opportunities to experience the region if one wished to do so. We went to many different places and had a splendid adventurous time. Viechtach is on the Glass Road, an area of Bavaria known for its artistic glass blowers and painters. In Weinfurtner, we saw a glass blowing demonstration, and some of our artists tried their hand at it. The shops had extraordinary fine art pieces as well as reasonably priced commercial glass.  
We climbed to the top of Castle Weisenstein for a step back in time and marvelous scenery.
  We went to a very unique museum in a converted barn. The artist, Rudolf Schmid, created an attraction that draws tourists by the busload to see his artwork. There were several rooms with glass paintings 2 stories high, consisting of many panels. The images depict old folk tales from the region. We were very fortunate in that the artist himself showed us all the rooms and also explained the processes, and related the mythology! His son, Reinhard, created all of the glass art in one room, and there he told us the story it illustrated. The museum itself was a work of art, with hand hewn wooden beams and bannisters.

 We visited Munich's fine art museums, where Professor Phil gave us very informative explanations regarding the use of the Mische technique in some of the masterpieces. Another day we went to the ruins of a picturesque castle, saw the Glass Forest, hiked up a rocky mountain where we could see to the Czech Republic, then hiked down through the Bavarian Forest. One of the German artists invited us to her home, where we were completely enchanted by her creative world. She provided wine and fine food amidst a colorful fantasy of flowers and sculptures.

Professor Phil talks about Durer's self portrait
Rosie shared her home, garden and hospitality
with the whole class.

Maria loved the fresh foods available at the weekly farmer's market on the square.

Apologies to the artists who are not represented in these photos. We had such a fine group!
 The final day of the seminar was capped off by the town's festival celebrating its 900th anniversary. After watching a procession of oompah musicians and renaissance characters, we sat at long tables and ate grilled chickens. At one game booth, boys bowled using wooden balls and pins, much as it must have been done centuries ago. The dancers performed medieval steps on the stage while around the corner a German group played perfect country western music from the USA. There was even an Elvis impersonator in the wee hours! Hundreds of doves were released into the sky as we all cried out in delight, and nature provided us with a lovely rainbow over our hotel as a fitting farewell.
St. Stephen's Church in Viechtach
Cobblestone streets wind thru the hilly town, full of
colorful old buildings

There will be another seminar in Viechtach in 2006, followed by the seminar in Reichenau, Austria.

I am most pleased to have been asked by Phil to be the assistant in Austria 2006.
I hope to see you there!

To learn about "An Odyssey for the Creative Spirit"
Art Seminars 2006, click here

Phil's website:

Cynthia Ré Robbins and Phil Rubinov-Jacobson

My room at Hotel Schmaus was excellent
The indoor pool felt like a dream after a long day of painting