Redstone Art Center offers summer classes |

Redstone Art Center offers summer classes

The Redstone Art Foundation begins its summer workshop series with two oil painting workshops led by Liz Todd. “Still Life in Oils” is June 16-18 and “Portraits in Oil” runs June 19-20.

Raised on Colorado’s picturesque Western Slope, Todd was enchanted early in life by the subtle and majestic beauty of the land surrounding her, as well as those people who work it. Awed by this beauty, she dreamt of being an artist. The quiet call of nature’s beauty and her attraction to the soulful elegance emanating from people never left her.

“As my 30th birthday approached, I felt I couldn’t allow this time to slip by, never having the chance to see what I could become,” she said.

It was at that time that Todd rediscovered her childhood dream.

“It hadn’t occurred to me that living the life of an artist could be a viable career path, yet that call, that pull, would not leave me alone, but once I decided to make the leap, the path seemed to lay itself out in front of me,” she said.

She found the Denver Art Students League, where her considerable talent caught the attention of the renowned Quang Ho. He asked her to be his teaching assistant, and under his influence, her individual style emerged.

“Some artists become known as one-genre painters. I want to paint everything. People fascinate me, but there are many aspects of nature and the surrounding world that sing to me as well. I am a very spiritual person and I am told my work reflects that.”

Liz believes that painting from life, `plein air,’ is the best way to capture the truth of her subjects.

“At times, the paint seems to speak through me, almost as if I’m not there. When I’m in that `art zone’, it’s as if I’m painting with the angels.”

Richard Schmid, considered by many to be the greatest living American artist, saw the more impressionistic nuances of her work and invited her to join the painting group he was starting in Loveland.

“I drove over 150 miles every week just to study with him. I’d wanted to return to Fort Collins, and eventually found a way to move back. I painted with Richard for eight years. He was my mentor. I now teach adults and also volunteer with `at risk’ kids to give back some of what Richard gave to me.”

Although there are subtle similarities in their styles, Todd’s work has a certain soft, delicate warmth that draws the viewer into her canvases, embracing them with her scenes. Her love of people and her ability to bathe her subjects in an intimate dance of light and color allow her to capture their complex emotions with sensitivity and strength.

She has won numerous local and national awards. Her paintings can be found in collections in Europe, Canada, Mexico and throughout the United States.

“Is it treading on sacred ground to believe that what flows through my heart, my eyes, and my hand can touch another’s soul? It would be such a gift to encourage people to look deeper and see the beauty both in and around them. I want to touch a person’s heart with my painting,” Todd said.

The workshop hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the workshop will be held in the community room of the Redstone Fire Station. The fee for “Still Life in Oils” is $165 and the fee for “Portraits in Oil” is $110. Call Marion Lyons at 963-4622 or Betty Bradley at 704-9963 to enroll or for more information.

Defiance Community Players presents “A Defiant Affair,” an evening of one-act plays with hors d’oeuvres and drinks, 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31, at the Blue Acacia Playhouse in the Masonic Temple at 9th and Colorado. Tickets are $10 at the door.

The plays include “Bill’s Diner,” written and directed by China Kwan; “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” by Steve Martin; and “The Chairs,” by Eugene Ionesco and directed by Eileen Chidsey.

“Bill’s Diner” is an original piece based on real people and real events. It is a poignant psychological drama cast with local favorites Lynette Kidd, Debbie Matthes, Bonnie Kawaguchi, Peter Martin, Annie Stensland and Michael Higgins.

“Picasso at the Lapin Agile” is a witty and funny story of famous people from the past at a bar in France with actors Bob Willey, Ryan Fleming, Peter Martin, Annie Stensland, Andrea Cousineau, Drew Evans, Michael Higgins, Mica Ball and Brent Wenner.

“The Chairs” is a story of two old people who want to deliver their final message. The show is cast with actor and “Voice of Your Choice” Cynthia Cyr and Ted Parker.

Director China Kwan is an alumnus of the California Institute of the Arts School of Theater. She was recently seen in “Godspell.”

Director Eileen Chidsey, a longtime local, has been seen on stage in various productions of “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Godspell,” and recently directed “Meet Me In St. Louis.”

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