A Conversation With Stefan Baumann, Nationally Renowned (But Local) PBS Artist

I recently spoke with Stefan Baumann, nationally known for the national PBS program, “The Grand View”,  but he’s also locally renowned as a lifelong artist who teaches oil painting. He lives in Mt. Shasta, but travels throughout the north state to teach exclusive classes to those whose experience ranges from complete newbies (like yours truly) to full-time professional artists.

Q: Hi, Stefan. It’s good to talk with you today and catch up a bit. Although I’ve taken a hiatus from your oil painting classes to work on some projects, I sure miss seeing you and the other students. Sigh – I would guess that one oil painting does not an artist make.

 

Doni's first - and thus far, only - oil painting, done entirely in Stefan Baumann's Redding art class.

 

With that in mind, my goal is to return to the courses eventually and try my brushes on a second painting. Next time, perhaps I could paint something in the pear family, to add to my pear painting collection.

Gosh, listen to me go on about me. Stefan, I mainly wanted to assure you that I hadn’t given up on future art sessions, and I really  look forward to when work lets up enough so I can reclaim my spot in the Redding classes.

I understand that anewscafe.com is growing rapidly, and the time you dedicate to keeping your readers up to date on northern California news must take every spare moment.

And also understand that your art will be the first thing that you will get back to when you have some free time. Which reminds me, thank you for including my contributions in the Artist’s Corner.

Q: Shucks. Thanks for understanding. And you are most welcome for the Artist’s Corner. It’s our pleasure to run it. I like your short pieces of artistic perspective. It’s like one of those minute meditations, just short and insightful and thought-provoking. Please, do keep them coming. I love them.

Clearly, it looks like we have a mutual admiration thing going on, which is nice for us, but we don’t want to bore everyone else with our little lovefest.

Moving right along, let’s get to the the subject at hand, and your announcement. Just for some background, you are a renowned artist, especially known for your PBS series, “The Grand View” –  a national PBS program, but it’s not aired here before. Consequently, even though you live in the north state, the majority of us haven’t been able to see “The Grand View”, unless via DVD episodes.

Here, why don’t I let you describe your PBS affiliation prior to coming to Redding.

Our program on PBS was the first of its kind. I created a show that combined travel in and painting of our national parks. It was not only the first true outdoor painting show on TV, but it also was the first series about our national parks produced for television.

America’s crown jewels are our national parks, and it is hard to imagine America without an image of Yellowstone Park, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon coming to mind. Painting is my passion and I have been painting outdoors for more than 30 years, and through the PBS series, I am proud to say that I have touched, moved and inspired millions of people nation-wide with art and the beauty of America.

Q: That’s a pretty lofty claim to fame. You must feel pretty proud, and rightfully so. Actually, that leads to what I wanted to talk about with you. You have a special announcement about local broadcasting that relates to “The Grand View” – right?

Right. I am excited to tell you that KIXE in Redding has announced that starting Saturday June 2, 2012, my PBS series, “The Grand View, America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist” began airing each Saturday at 1:30 p.m. So, set your DVR to KIXE Channel 9, and get out your travel maps and your paints so that you can paint along, if you feel inspired to try it.

Q: So we can either tune in and watch you, or record the programs – and either way, we can actually paint along with you, if we want. How will this new series differ from the previous broadcasts?

Previously in northern California, you could watch us only on KIXE’s “Create” network.

Create TV is a part of the national PBS programming, but only some viewers had access to the station. Because KIXE is the main PBS channel in northern California, more viewers will be able to watch the series.

Q: I’m looking forward to watching your programs, but that’s just one part of what you do. You still teach painting classes, too. Which reminds me, how did you come to teach in the north state in the first place?

I relocated to northern California from San Francisco five years ago. It’s my hope to inspire a new group of artists who live in the Redding and Mt. Shasta area, just as I was privileged to teach in the Bay Area over the past 30 years. Presently I teach oil painting in Redding and in Mt Shasta. I offer classes on Wednesdays in Redding at Fator’s Frame Shop from 9 a.m. to noon. If people want more information, just call me at 800-511-1337.

Q: Fair enough. You know, I took your oil painting classes long enough to actually create my first painting (see above). I’d never picked up a paint brush before, and I must say, I was surprised that, with your guidance, I was eventually  able to actually produce a piece of art. Seriously, do you think that anyone can learn to paint?

Yes, anyone can learn to paint! All it takes is desire. I invite anyone to come in and try it. They will love it. I created “The Grand View” series to inspire artists and dreamers to experience the grand vistas and beautiful landscapes in America, and possibly enhance their lives by painting outdoors.

I understand that most people who watch the show are not artists, but … they want to be.

So many people who watch the series faithfully will say, “Art is something that someone else does, but I don’t have talent and I couldn’t possibly do it.”

When I am able to inspire and change a person’s idea that they can be creative and enjoy painting as much as I do, I feel very lucky be living my life as a professional teaching artist.

Q: It’s obvious you really enjoy teaching your students.

As an aside, I’m honored that you are such a loyal friend of anewscafe.com, too. In fact, you have generously donated one month’s free art classes to anyone who’s contributed $50 or more to anewscafe.com. That’s a $125 value, and we are so grateful. Thank you!

It is my pleasure, and you and your readers can also receive a free “Grand View Painting” DVD by stopping by on my class on Wednesday. Just ask for me and mention that you are an anewscafe.com reader and that you want a free DVD. This offer is only for anewscafe.com readers.

Q; Gosh, thank you, Stefan. Very generous.

Anything else we should know?

Sure. I will also be happy to talk to anyone who comes in about our free introductory class session for those who want to find out what painting is all about by having their own hands-on experience. It’s great fun, we laugh a lot, and the practice of painting keeps our brains young and agile. I invite all readers of anewscafe.com to come by and check it out.

Thanks, Stefan, for sharing. Most of all, congratulations on the success of  “The Grand View” being available for us to see on KIXE.

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain 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.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is 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, California.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

7 Responses

  1. Avatar Eleanor says:

    Wow, Doni – I LOVE your painting (and those shown of Stefan's too, of course.) There is something in yours that really went straight to my heart, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could try that, which I never thought before. Maybe. You do so many things so well! Gotta say that 'something in the pear family' stopped me in my tracks for a minute, but again, "Wow" to you!

    I really love that painting of yours! Wondering how long it took to create?

    • Eleanor, seriously, if Stefan could coach me through the process to create an oil painting, I truly think he could teach anyone. I'd never taken an art class, so this was an absolute first. (It took me four weeks to finish my painting, all done during class time.)

  2. Avatar AJ says:

    There is something about artistic endeavors that manages to bare a part of one's self that one has managed to keep hidden or at least mask up until that endeavor is undertaken. To put it bluntly, IT'S SCARY!! It's so much safer to claim, "Oh, I'm not talented in that area." But maybe, just maybe dipping into a new pool of creative self will expose a rich vein of creative ore. I think I remember feeling like that about creative writing . . . say, where does one go to buy paints . . . ???

    • Avatar Canda says:

      Beautifully said, AJ. That fear of not doing something well enough often keeps us from trying. Maybe I'll go sit down at that piano I've been avoiding. Walking past it every day sure isn't going to help my playing, is it? By the way, I'm certainly glad you took that step into the pool of creating writing. I love your column, and look forward to the next "Just Sayin".

    • So true, AJ.

      (I got my paints at Michael's, and used those weekly coupons. But Stefan actually teaches how to mix paints to create colors. I swear it spent most of the start of each class just mixing paint to make a little pile of black.

      So in his class, you start with just a few primary paints to make all the other colors. I think that was one of the biggest shocks for me … that, and the fact that snow and clouds and ocean waves aren't all white. He taught me to train my brain to really SEE color.

  3. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Love your painting, Doni. I think you do have talent there (along with your writing). Stefan is a fine artist. I used to paint, but, somehow, my ambition went away. I like acrlylics better, however.

  4. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Great article Doni. Stephan's students keep coming back because he's knowledgeable and patient. An artist friend of mine who has been painting for years has learned so much from him about color and proportion.