Meet these dedicated students who have been taking weekly art classes for over one year. Their variety of styles and unique personalities create a perfect environement for exploration and self growth.

Meet Katie...

Chinatown abstract

Mount Rushmore
This is a dark field monotype, one of the first Katie attempted and made purely with random marks into black ink. It shows a big reason why she loves this medium – it’s often surprising. She immediately saw profiles hewn out of rock.

Still Life Summer

The main still life currently sitting on her counter and what she sees every day is this assortment of virus-fighting stuff. It’s not beautiful stuff, but it’s of this moment. Paul Cezanne and one of his fruit bowl paintings inspired her to paint this pastel.

Meet Katie… the experimenter

Katie has  always been interested in people who express themselves through art – writing, performing, singing. She loves books and read a lot as a kid and eventually majored in English because she loved to read, talk and write about books. Katie also grew up taking dance classes – ballet, etc.  She majored in dance in college because she loved expression through movement and dancing with others.

Katie continues to  read and take dance classes (flamenco and tap at the moment), but has also become interested in painting. Her mom has always painted as long as she can remember, and she has definitely passed on her love of it to her.  “Dabbling” is the perfect word (which she says with pride) to describe her painting relationship throughout her life.  So the last few years Katie has been  enjoying learning new painting skills – from watercolor to pastel painting to monotype printing.

Katie loves  the process of learning new technical skills and also about the materials and tools of a medium. “Patricia has been an affirming and smart critic of my explorations, even as I mess around a lot, work on incorporating new ideas and practicing skills she is teaching me. I will continue to dabble and play and practice at being an artist. I think Patricia may agree that this makes us artists.”



Clarkie has been immersing herself in art all her life.

Early on she was fascinated with coloring books and then moved on to sewing and quilting where she received formal training.  You can see the influence of pattern making and color blocking in her work today.

 Clarkie also became interested in carving and painting gourds. This tactile medium gave her a new outlet for the exquisite detail she loves to include in her work.

Clarkie had a brief exposure to watercolor but selected to pursue acrylic painting in our class. She has progressed a lot in the two years we have been working together and was recently persuaded to upgrade her paints to a higher grade.

She will tell you she has no favorite artist but I will mention she has a way of including a little surprise in most of her work (usually an unexpected critter peeking out from somewhere.)

 Clarkie makes each assignment her own with her personal view. If she doesn’t like the assignment she makes up her own. I enjoy this “rogue” behavior as it illustrates that she is becoming self confident in her work and is not afraid to experiment on her own.

 When asked why do you paint? She answered “for the Challenge of it, creating something beautiful, making something I enjoy.”



This exercise was to create a "mood" with a limited color palette. Clarkie has created an interesting perspective with the viewer looking down on the cold sea from the rocks above.

Clarkie created this colorful twist on a water lily pond. The colorful juxtaposition of shapes draws you in closer to look for the details. The feeling is quite fanciful!

Meet Martha!

Martha has always felt the creative urge. She was inspired at an early age by her family and teachers.

One of her earliest memories is that of her father teaching how to color by peeling the paper off her crayons and using them on their side to make soft muted shades. She remembers being four years old at that time. She kept that coloring book for over thirty years.

When she was in the fourth grade her teacher Miss Driver taught the class how to paint a desert scene with chalk. Her little framed picture proudly hung in her familys’ home for many years.

Martha’s forty four year career as a teacher and school administrator left her little time for a full time pursuit of art. However she was able to squeeze in a oil painting class in the early 70’s and a class on Tole painting in the 80’s.

During her many years in the classroom she always found time to include art in her lessons. She remembers telling her students to “try your best, not to copy and be proud of your art.” Don’t we all wish we had encouraging teachers like that in our early days?

When Martha retired in 2007 she finally had time to pursue her art in a more focused way. She had a strong interest in watercolors so she enrolled in a class at a Senior Community Center in San Jose California. Her first project was a “Still Life with Lemons” but circumstances didn’t allow her to finish that first painting for several years until she moved into her present community.

Martha has been in our class for two years and her technique is improving with each lesson. She is motivated to learn and is fearless with our assignments. Her skills are improving and now she is at the stage where she is searching to develop her own personal style…and style she has!


Martha did a wonderful job on her perspective and blending in this watercolor. I can feel myself walking towards the mountain in Zion National Park.

Beautiful patterns of the boats.

Meet  Debby…

Debby grew up in Los Angeles and loved art from an early age.  

When Debby was four years old she was gently guided away from the use of coloring books because she was told  “they don’t allow you to draw or use your imagination.” At that point she was given plain paper to draw on instead. She never owned a coloring book but that didn’t stop her and she continued to draw and paint through out her childhood. This was during the depression so maybe there was little money for extras like coloring books? 

 When she was ten years old her mother allowed her to paint an oil painting, her one and only one until she became an adult. Whatever the reasons Debby developed a keen sense of drawing from an early age!

In high school Debbie was awarded a scholarship to a summer class at the L.A. Art Institute but never majored in art in college, even though she took many classes. After that she seldom painted except for brief breaks from work and raising children.

Upon her retirement she took some classes in Riverside and has now been taking my weekly class at Westmont Village and still hears a voice telling her to use her “imagination more and don’t paint every detail she sees.”  This time it is my voice!

Debbie has a great sense of color balance and excellent drawing skills. She will keep working at a painting until she gets it right. Her work carries some of the look and feel of the old masters, especially in her still lifes. 


It's hard to see where the water level is... great reflection!

Sweet cherub resting...

This night fire scene captures the intensity of the moment

Meet Aileen!

 Aileen paints for the creative outlet it offers her.

She got the art “bug” in the eighth grade when she won 1st prize in the Community Fair. She still has those paintings as a reminder of her early talent.

Aileen has been painting for twenty four years beginning with watercolors and eventually moving on to acrylics which is her “current favorite medium.”

Aileen is inspired by  the work of Renoir and the Impressionists and would like to paint more in that style. She often includes flowers in her painting whether they be in vases, popping out of bushes or outdoor pots, or climbing up in colorful array on the side of a building.

Aileen is exceptional in her perspective and use of strong lines. She is also able to create a balance of light and shadow in her work along with a strong color palette. Sometimes she adds some surprise texture into her work by adhering, fabric, paper towels and even packaging materials. Her work is very polished and draws the viewer into the image she has created. You always feel like you are taking a trip when you view one of her works.



The beautiful lines of this cafe scene make you want to take a stroll down the path...but not until you have rested in one of those inviting red chairs!

Take a walk down this pathway....