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Watercolor artists share their works from class during First Friday Artwalk

Artist Chris McGrorty works on a painting with a group of watercolor painters that meet each week at the Depot Arts Center.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s a Wednesday morning at the Depot Art Center, and people start trickling in carrying their art supplies. The artists are as different as the conveyances they use to carry their brushes and paints. There’s fishing tackle boxes, reusable grocery bags, designer bags, but these artists have all one thing in common: the love of watercolor painting.

“It’s never too late to start,” said Nancy Perricone, a retired educator who picked up the brush at 59 years old. “I always wanted to learn to paint, and for years, I kept looking longingly in the morning paper at the listing for watercolor classes.”

Seven years later, Perricone is one of the watercolor artists featured in “Creative Inspirations,” this month’s Bliss Room exhibit at the Depot Art Center, which opens during First Friday Artwalk on Friday, March 6.

Mary Levingston is the long-time art teacher who helped influence Perricone and other students in their artistic endeavors. Her Wednesday class focuses on the painter who has gone beyond beginner status.

For Sandy Fisher, it’s changed her life.

“I may be an anomaly, but I really needed this class in my life,” said Fisher, who began painting at 67. “I needed the creative outlet; although, I got it through sewing for years. We come here, and we socialize, share what we do, critique each other and support each other.”

The camaraderie and banter among the artists is lighthearted, sprinkled with the latest political news, but their minds quickly focus on the warm-up exercise: sketching the day’s still life subject for 20 minutes. On Wednesday, March 4, it was an assortment of hats brought in by one of the students.

On that particular morning, Levingston walked among her students commenting and coaching them through their pieces. She holds 15-week classes for both beginners and more advanced painters. Her next classes start in late August.

If you go

What: “Creative Inspirations” exhibit opening
When: 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday Artwalk on March 6
Where: Depot Art Center, 1001 13th St.

“She’s fabulous,” said Leslie Lovejoy about Levingston. “She cultivates us — not just to paint but to be confident enough to bring us to the point where we can exhibit and market our stuff. Even teaching us how to frame and hang the artwork.”

Jeanne Schneider is another late bloomer who started art in her 50s.

“For me, this group of women and our one man are just so wonderful to be around and so supportive of everything we do. There’s always very healthy positive critiques, too,” Schneider said.

Sign up for classes

To register for classes, visit steamboatcreates.org or email Mary Levingston at blendingarts@yahoo.com.

“I had never painted before I started water coloring,” Schneider continued. “Anybody can learn some kind of art. We all have that creative ability within us, it’s just not been tapped.”

As part of putting on an art show at the Depot Art Center, parent organization Steamboat Creates requires the group give back to the public in some way. Several artists will be offering live demonstrations from 5 to 8 p,.m. Tables of paint and brushes will also be supplied for the public to try their hand at watercolors. And Livingston will hold a special watercolor class on watercolor techniques from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The class will cost $125 and all art materials will be provided.

A still life painting lays in the middle of a watercolor painters tools.
John F. Russell

In the meantime, you can see some of these artists’ work on greeting cards at shops around the area, including Lyons Corner Drug, Steamboat Art Museum’s store and the Clark Store.

The “Creative Inspirations” show will be on exhibit throughout the month of March.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.


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