From left, Jyl Barefield, Anita Caldwell and her granddaughter, Lauren, and Rebecca Bouse pose with their paintings at Dee Art Place in Columbus. Photo by: Dee Casterline/Courtedy Photo
November 12, 2009 10:25:00 AM
One of my favorite teachers was Fran Land. She shared her love of art with me and all the kids at Caldwell Junior High way back in the late 1960s.
Fran Land did all sorts of amazing things with us. She sent our artwork to various galleries in the Southeast and encouraged us to experiment with various media. I liked oil painting the best.
One day I asked her, "Do you like being an adult more than you liked being a kid?" It was just a question, not anything heavy or philosophical. Her answer stuck in my brain and made me feel good about getting older.
She replied, "Oh, hands down! I love being an adult. It''s so much better to be able to make your own decisions."
One of the paintings that I started in her class hangs in my living room. I played the Admiral Halsey song from the Beatles'' "Yellow Submarine" over and over and over, painting a nautical scene, featuring angry waves, three types of clouds and a distant lighthouse. When I look at it, I think of Fran Land and her love of art.
Unfortunately, when I entered college, my painting time disappeared. I bought a Pentax MV-1 camera and started dabbling with instant art in the form of photography. Now I make homemade note cards and I am always looking for subjects to shoot.
Local artists invite us in
In 2001 Dee Casterline, a former Aberdeen resident, stopped her 30-year stint working with computers, and began taking art lessons with Andrea Hopper. She eventually opened an art shop, stayed there for a short time, and then moved a year ago into her present location in the shopping center across the street from the bowling lanes on South McCrary Road in East Columbus.
"I teach stained glass and fused art," she said.
Almost everyone is familiar with stained glass, which is found in people''s front doors, church windows and hanging as parts of wind chimes on porches. Fused glass, on the other hand, is two or more different pieces/types of glass which are melted or "fused," as the name implies.
"Fused glass starts as single pieces of glass that are placed over a mold," said Casterline. "The temperature has to reach about 1300 degrees for ''slumping'' to occur. The actual fusing has to have a temperature of 1450 degrees. The whole process takes 24 hours."
Casterline also teaches mosaics and glass-etching, which involves sandblasting.
"I also invite local artists, such as Sharon Foster, to come in and teach here in the shop," said Casterline.
When I visited Dee Art Place Monday morning, Foster was preparing to teaching a class in one of the back rooms. They invited me to take part in painting an inset of a Van Gogh flowerscape (Is that a word?), and even though I was tempted, I had a do-list a half-mile long.
"This class is a quickie lesson in which the students will have instant gratification," said Foster.
"They can experiment with the palette knives and different strokes. We will all start with a brown circle and then go from there," she said, showing me a possible end-product.
"So often people tell me that they can''t draw a straight line and that they can''t stay inside the drawing to be painted. Well, this lesson is for them. They can get excited about having a finished painting before they leave here, and they can buy supplies before they leave from Dee."
Foster sells her cards around town at places such as the Table of Plenty as well as online at sharonfosterart.etsy.com.
"This Web site is very much like a shopping mall, or marketplace. I have a store at the mall," she said.
"I used to have several online stores but this one is the main one."
Foster explained that she had asked Casterline if she might be able to sell some of her cards at Dee Art Place and one thing led to another.
"Dee invited me to give lessons in the back of her shop," she said. "It works well for both of us."
Dee Art Place is located at 132 S. McCrary Road. The hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Check out the Web site at www.deeartplace.com, or call them at 662-244-8400.
Sharon Foster also teaches classes for Mississippi University for Women through Continuing Education at Cromwell Communication Center on campus. For more information call 662-329-7137.
John Dorroh is a semi-retired high school science teacher, who writes a business column for The Dispatch.
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