I hope you saw your invitation on anewscafe.com about Tuesday evening’s art reception and demonstration by Stefan Baumann, renowned oil painter and PBS artist. Perhaps you watched his PBS series, “The Grand View: America’s National Parks Through the Eyes of an Artist.”
Perhaps you also recall that Stefan Baumann happens to be my art teacher.
My art teacher. Those are three words I never thought I’d write, mainly because this is my first art class. Oh, I should clarify. When I say he’s my teacher, I don’t mean that in a possessive form. Actually, he has many students; in Mt. Shasta, Saratoga, Medford, and for the last few months, Redding.
Of course, I attend the Redding class. It’s held Fridays from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Fator’s Custom Framing and Gallery on Bechelli Lane in Redding, which is where Tuesday’s reception will be, too.
I can admit it now. Taking this art class was waaay out of my comfort zone. I knew nothing about anything, except that I wanted to learn to paint.
At my first class, Stefan told me that he’d teach me to see everything, especially color and light, in a new way. At the time, I thought thAT was a pretty bold statement, because being the visual gal I am, I always thought I’d nailed that observation thing. Apparently not.
In Stefan’s classes I’ve learned, for example, that snow is not white. No, it’s not … not if you want to capture it with oil paints. I learned to create almost every color I could want with just three colors (red, yellow and blue) – and white.
I knew that I’d been Stefanized when a clock recently fell off a wall at home above a shelf of wine and champagne glasses. About a dozen glasses shattered on the wood floor, and while I swept up the glass, I stopped in my tracks, stunned at what I saw: That pile of clear, broken glass was loaded with color: purples and whites and blacks and grays. Stefan was right. He had changed the way I saw things.
The classes work best with lots of students, because Stefan goes around the room, and periodically stops behind one of us and casually says, “May I sit down?” which is another way of saying, “You need a little help … here, let me.” His timing is always perfect. And whenever he sits before our paintings, in just a few brush strokes he manages to fix whatever it was we’d struggled with for the last hour. Meanwhile, the rest of the class continues to paint, but all ears are perked to hear Stefan’s wisdom.
Tuesday, Stefan will give a talk about not just oil painting, but about being creative, and while he talks, he’ll paint, which is worth the price of admission. Oh, wait, there is no admission. The evening is free. I’ll be there, and other Stefan fans and students, and there will be food, of course (how could I host something and not bring food?).
Oh, then, at the end of the evening, some lucky person will win the painting. (I’m not sure about how that part will work, but I’m sure Stefan has it figured out.)
I am not fishing for compliments when I say that I am the low student on the art class totem pole. I am the one who’s covered in paint, who’s got a pile of paint-colored paper towels nearby, who spends an hour just mixing black, and who took four weeks to finish a painting, while some other students where churning through a painting a week. But I don’t care. I’m really not comparing myself (the above stuff is just observation). I’m telling you that despite my getting such a late start at this art thing, I’m having the time of my life.
That’s my painting, above. It’s true. I did that. Stefan agreed to let me bring it to the reception Tuesday. I wanted to literally illustrate how, if Stefan could teach Doni Chamberlain to paint, he could teach anyone to paint.
You can see it in person Tuesday night at the 7 – 9 p.m. reception at Fator’s Custom Framing. And you can meet Stefan, too. Any enjoy some refreshments, and maybe even leave that night with a signed, Stefan Baumann original. And if you leave that night seeing everything differently, you’ll know you’ve been Stefanized, too. Trust me, you’ll like it.
Oh, if you do think you’ll want to attend Tuesday’s reception and painting demonstration, there is a limited amount of space at Fator’s Custom Framing, so please call Stefan’s number asap and leave a message with your name, and how many in your party, so we can reserve a space for you. His number is 800-511-1337.
Must go now. I need to start baking for the reception. Plus, I need to come up an idea for my next painting before Friday’s class. Anything but snow or broken glass, that’s for sure.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.