Last week I had the privilege of taking a Mixed Media art class through the Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council in Altus. Our instructor was Lyn Johnson and there were about twelve students in our class.
For years I have painted with oil, acrylics and watercolor but never have I participated in mixed-media. Sure, I had seen all of the intricate art on Pinterest and I knew what mixed-media was, but it always seemed a little intimidating to me. That's why I chose to take this class.
On the first night of class, Lyn encouraged us to try everything – and she did mean EVERYTHING. Paint and modge-podge I was familiar with, but Lyn's excitement led me to try airbrushing, hot glue as a means of texture, caulking and even gesso. By the second and third nights I had created a monster complete with buttons, silk flowers, newspaper clippings -- and I don't even know what else!
I created three finished pieces during the class, one of which was extremely experimental and thus not quite visual appealing. But visual appeal was not the goal of this course, at least not for me. My goal was to get outside of my comfort zone and try as many new things as possible, and that I did.
I really liked that everyone in the class had freedom to pursue their own goals. Some women wanted to create replicas of their favorite image on Pinterest while others simply wanted to expand their paintings to another level. One woman in particular painted a beautiful chicken, cut it out and pasted it onto canvas, and then glued chicken wire in the corner! Such creativity was inspiring not only to me but to the entire class.
Another thing I liked about the class was our instructor. Of all the art classes I've taken around the world, Lyn was one of the best I've had. She was encouraging and knowledgable without being pushy or controlling, as art teachers often are. She simply lent us supplies and encouraged our creativity. As someone who's been trained by the arts institute, I think Altus is pretty darn lucky to have such a talented art-brain on hand!
The Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council will have art classes throughout the fall. Typically, classes are $30 and include supplies. Most are three nights a week, one week at a time. The scheduling is feasible and the price is definitely right. With talented instructors like Lyn Johnson, Bobby Avila and Sue Messerly, I think it's a no-brainer for those interested in increasing their art skills.
Upcoming classes include watercolor, acrylics, pottery and oil painting. For more information on art classes in Altus, be sure and follow the Southern Prairie Library System on Facebook or “like” Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council. You can also call the council at (580) 477-1616.