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Why I Have Brought Back the Classes

Some of you who are new around here, may only know me for my large scale floral oil paintings. These are my passion, after all. But a littler known part of my art world, of which I am also passionate about, is teaching.

What seems like eons ago, I got the itch to teach acrylic painting, in simple, one session classes. I wasn't even sure how to go about it. So, invited in my teen daughter and a few of her friends, to be my guinea pigs. We spent an evening learning to paint a fun panting, drinking coffee, and hearing way more about what was going on in our town's local high school than I had expected to learn. And so began a year of monthly classes, that I loved, with these teens. And then eventually, I opened up classes for adults and children.

Here are some things I loved about teaching, especially adults:

One- I watched, mostly women, walk into my studio feeling overworked and stressed out. They had hurried to feed the family before they left, to fold that last load of laundry, to hand off the baby to dad, for three hours of swishing paint across a canvas, creating something they can be proud to say they made, all while gathering with old friends and making new ones.

I purposely set up the studio to be a peaceful refuge: soft music playing, steaming cups of coffee in pretty mugs, the sound of a bubbling mini waterfall, and beautiful, lush colors of paint. Why? Because, the world is too busy, and my gosh, we need to pause and take a breath.

Two: The sounds of chatter and laughter and, on many occasions, someone unabashedly singing along to my "Paint Class" playlist, right there in the middle of a class. Because learning together, creating together, causes our guard to come down.

Three: Seeing the spark of creativity ignite in so many of my guests. I loved to hear someone say, " I really don't have any talent'" I took it as a challenge! My goal became showing them, that we really are all made to create in some way. And so often, those same people, after a few classes, realized they really could paint! I cant tell you how much joy it brings me to see people go home, buy their own paints and take off on their own artistic journey after spending time in my classes. It has been amazing to see the growth in skills, in so many!

But of course, along came 2020. Like so many small businesses, my little classes were really effected by Covid. If I'm honest, it sucked the joy out of it. Teaching in a mask, no longer feeling able to offer the kindness of a cup of coffee in an actual mug. And social distancing itself, stole the feeling of camaraderie, stifled the laughter and the making of new friends. And ultimately, as people stayed home more and more, it became hard to fill my classes. It was all very sad.

Fast forward to the present. I have had a lot of requests to begin classes again. I have mulled it over and in doing so, have realized I so missed having people in the studio! I missed the laughter and creativity, and, my goodness, I missed seeing shoulders relax and deep breaths breathed out as everyone took some time to step away for the busyness of life to pause, refresh and to create.

So this year, I honed in on planning out a variety of classes for adults. I have something for all levels. Yes, the one session acrylic painting - along with oil painting and watercolor workshops, six week long -painting class series, and some unusual creative classes on things like learning to do modern hand lettering, or making a pressed flower paper lantern. I'm so excited to share them with you all!

If you are in the Cedar Rapids area, please check out the available classes ( sign up is open on all classes for 2024) and see if there isn't something that might ignite your creativity. I look forward to having you into the studio - I'll have the paint ready, the music playing and the coffee hot.

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