featured-aestheticsIssue 16

Inspiration from a Colorful Muse

 Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 2.36.09 PMBY ANNE MARIE BERGTHOLD

For many artists, a muse is an elusive thing. It’s that special someone or something that provides a spark of inspiration, turning a mundane painting into a work of art.

And for many local residents, that muse is, surprisingly, chartreuse.

The Chartreuse Muse Gallery and Art School has been a Modesto institution since 2002. It was founded as a space where artists would have room to work, to show their work, and to learn.

Since 2007, the gallery has occupied its current space at 918 10th St. Modesto. In the past eight-plus years, hundreds of students have walked through The Chartreuse Muse’s doors – and left inspired.

Today, co-owners Sandra Veneman and Ellen Roehne offer classes for children and adults in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting and ceramics. This multifaceted approach is ideal for those who have had limited exposure to the visual arts. The classes cater to all ages and skill levels, ranging from “Mommy and Me” sessions to adult figure drawing classes that feature an undraped model.

The classes focus on building up skills, while simultaneously introducing students to art theory and connecting techniques to art history.

One program, Mobile Muse, goes into public schools to teach art classes. The number of Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 2.28.19 PMMobile Muse classes has tripled in the last year.

The Chartreuse Muse gallery features a rotating array of fine art by local artists. This commitment to local artists gives the public the rare opportunity to see pieces by artists working in their community. According to Price the gallery is “open to anything,” displaying all forms of art, including painting, sculpture, photography, metalwork and ceramics.

The gallery seeks out local artists, taking into consideration the artist’s ethos or how their work would be a good fit with the theme of an upcoming show. Local artists are also welcome to submit a portfolio for review.

Price encourages those who don’t consider themselves to be artists, but who want to explore their artistic sides to “just start.” She says, “draw everyday, paint everyday.” Even if you don’t think you are very good, try to ignore the self- doubt and just enjoy the process.

Chartreuse Muse instructors tell their students that great artists became great through trial-and- error. What seems like a mistake can turn into something remarkable.


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