Students attending the Shortgrass Arts Institute’s colored pencil drawing class Tuesday night said the $30 they pay for the class represents the best bargain around.
“Most of us are repeat customers,” said Altus resident, Sharon Gardner, while replicating a peacock feather from a photo on an electronic tablet. She said she has taken pottery drawing, water color and oil painting classes through the institute.
Jan Rose of Blair, who was drawing a holiday wreath, agreed. “Once you come, you will come back.” The classes — which end today — are her fourth in the program.
They said the price of the classes, $30 for drawing classes and $45 for pottery classes, comes with materials needed for the class as well as professional instruction. Just buying the Prismcolor pencils would cost as much as $40, not to mention the drawing paper and instructor’s cost.
Lyn Taylor, a graduate of the Institute of Art of Colorado, teaches the colored pencil drawing class this week but also taught painting with watercolors in September.
Taylor said the classes provide an opportunity for people in the area to experiment and determine whether they have artistic talent. She mentioned one woman who attended the class Tuesday night on a lark.
“She’d never picked up a colored pencil before and by the end of the class she was drawing flowers and apples,” Taylor said. “Her drawings looked like she had been drawing her whole life. She really has talent and didn’t even know it.”
She said some find out they really don’t like it and don’t come back.
Taylor said any level of artist can take the classes but she starts with explaining the basics such as the difference in the quality of pencils and kinds of paper to draw on. She said in other classes she begins by telling people how to hold and use brushes and other utensils.
The Shortgrass Arts and Humanities Council sponsors the classes along with the Southern Prairie Library System and Western Oklahoma State College. The council receives grant money from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts to fund the classes.
Doug Dalton, who teaches art at WOSC, said if it wasn’t for a traveling art teacher who came by tiny Friendship High School when he was a student there, he never would have known he had artistic talent. He said he hopes that by having people experiment in the Shortgrass Art Institute classes that it will whet someone’s appetite to enroll in a structured art program at the college.