Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2016
“I have a nice box of artist chalks, but the box says pastels, what do I do with them?” I asked resident sculptor, photographer, artist Neil.
“Oh, they’re chalks, but are called pastels,” he explained. “Come to the Panorama art studio on Wednesday mornings. Anyone can come, not for a class, but to do their own work. I’ll be there. We’ll help you get started.”
My eyes bulged. “Whoa! Nice! What do I bring? What kind of paper, and…”
Neil interrupted, “Just bring your pastels for the first time. Everything else is in the studio…paper, brushes, acrylics, reference photos, several OTTlites. Even a new overhead projector and light boxes.”
Wednesday came; so did I! I tiptoed into the room, not wanting to distract others. Four accomplished artists looked up and burst out, “Mary Jo, we’re so glad you came. Welcome!”
I stood admiring the result of a completely gutted out room, now with state-of-the-art equipment and lights for more natural lighting.
My eye caught Sigree’s and Candy’s works. “The skin tones appear more rich and tan than the photo. You are way past good,” I affirmed.
I worked a while with my pastels on black and on white with Neil’s generous help and suggestions. I realized my cup of tea did not fill with chalks.
“How ‘bout watching a 10-minute DVD on dimension?” someone suggested. Neil got it running on the new large flat screen and tilted it toward our area. Even the seasoned artists picked up new angle ideas. April Works (treasurer of the arts studio) sat down and drew a wooden shed, practicing the tutorial, and amazed us with her shadings and dimensions.
For my visit the next Wednesday, I walked over with two trays of watercolor paints I bought for 50 cents each from Panorama’s Annual Patio sale and a box of 12 watercolor pencils. April popped in a 10-minute basic watercolor techniques DVD. We all learned how to shave the colored pencil with a finger nail file over the watered paper to get a tiny splattered effect.
The large box of watercolor pencils and the smaller brush I borrowed from the art room offered a better selection. I experimented and colored one of my own eight 4”x5”coloring cards from one of the sets I drew to sell in our Gift Shop. I was proud of and comfortable with my work.
Florence looked up from her flawless sketching and reminded me, “Mary Jo, we are allowed check out DVDs from the large selection of tutorials.
April opened new cabinets to introduce me to items available including props such as styrofoam balls, cones, and cubes. In addition, art books, matte cutter, batts and roving, needle felting cabinets donned neat labels.
I was curious, “Why do you come over here on Wednesdays? Is anyone in charge of all of this organization?”
I jerked when in unison they raised their pencils and spoke at one time.
“Interruptions at home and setting up to work on projects take time.”
“Joyce Jaime is chair of the 2D Arts Studio and teaches many of the classes. Besides resident instructors, we have off campus teachers for other classes.”
“Here, we visit, get more art done, share ideas, clean up quicker, and return home with enthusiasm.”
I experienced my question, “Why do you come?” Carrying enthusiasm of friends and ideas in my art bag, I bounced on my feet as I smiled from ear to ear, walking back home–with my pencils and paints.
I had a story to share about one of the updated, specially equipped studios at Panorama: 2D art, ceramics, lapidary, metal work, weaving, and woodworking. We also have many formal and informal groups who gather in rooms to pursue basket-weaving, embroidery, fibers arts, fly-tying, knitting, Kumihimo braiding, and quilt-making. How blessed we are.