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July 15, 2014

Have a brush with color and carving at the historic village

By Terry Oparka
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Plein air artist Megan Swoyer-Garbinski Swoyer-Garbinski, center, teaches the Siekierski family, from left, Mya, 8; Evelyn, 10; Peter, 11; Lily, 7; and Margaret, 6, watercolor painting.

Want to try your hand at watercolor painting, carve wood, or swing an anvil in a blacksmith shop in a relaxed, natural setting?

The Troy Historic Village will offer classes for children and adults in the arts of watercolor, woodcarving and a sample of blacksmithing at the historic village in coming weeks.

“The Artisan Arts series at the Troy Historic Village is one that allows participants to use old-time trades and crafts to create unique works of art. We had a really good response when we started offering blacksmithing classes last year, so we wanted to expand the program to include other trades and crafts,” said Stephanie Suszek, adult programs and services director at the Troy Historic Village.

Metalsmith Rose Weiss leads the blacksmithing classes already underway for this summer at the forge at the village. The Blacksmithing Sampler will be offered from 1-2:30 p.m. Aug. 9 for those ages 8 and older; those younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $35 per student or $40 for a student younger than 12 with a participating parent.

Doug Evans, of the Michigan Metro Carvers, will hold the Woodcarving Workshop from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. July 26 for those 18 and older. Bring a sharp carving knife and safety glove or call (248) 524-3309 to purchase one from the instructor. Each student will carve a simple wooden caricature. The cost is $40.

Adults may brush watercolor on paper when plein air artist Pete Snodgrass will offer the adult Watercolor Workshop for those older than 18 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 8. No experience is necessary. The cost is $35 per student and does not include the supplies.

Snodgrass has been teaching painting for 10 years. He’s taught art classes in Shelby Township and the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center. He’s taken classes all over the country and with noted northern Michigan artist Anita Engle.

“She’s one of the best,” he said.

“I like to share what I do,” Snodgrass said. He noted that he’s taught some of the same people for seven years. “They could hardly do anything at first and now they’re entering art shows,” he said.

Snodgrass sold a number of his original watercolor paintings at the Arts & Crafts Boutique at the Troy Historic Village during Celebration Gardens, the Troy Garden Club’s 40th annual Garden Walk July 9.

“If you’re going to paint nature, you need to keep your eyes open and keep your camera with you,” he said. And to those who worry about their technique, he says not to worry about making perfectly straight lines.

“Nothing in nature is straight,” he said.

Plein air artist Megan Swoyer-Garbinski will hold the Youth Art Class Petals ‘n’ Paint from 10 a.m.-noon July 29. Those ages 8-18 will sketch their favorite flowers and then paint them in watercolor. They may also add other mediums, such as table salt and candle wax. The cost is $35 and includes the cost of supplies.

Swoyer-Garbinski has won awards for her paintings at the Birmingham Community House Our Town Art Show.

“I taught all my nieces and nephews to paint,” Swoyer-Garbinski said. “Kids are open to learning watercolor. Watercolor is about accidents on paper — things you can’t control. Children can embrace that concept.”

Call (248) 524-3570 to register in advance for the classes. The Troy Historic Village is located at 60 W. Wattles.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Terry Oparka at toparka@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1054.