A local art teacher has decided to help residents fill their time with free Facebook Live art classes for people of all ages.
Shawnee Hoffman, owner of Artsy Fartsy Studio, has been teaching art in person since 2017 and she said although many people are initially intimidated by the thought of taking up art as a hobby, they often find that it comes fairly naturally once they take the first step and give it a try.
“Never be afraid to try something new or worry about how it will turn out,” said the self-taught artist.
“It is all taught step-by-step. I hear it all that time that the painting looks hard and that the person is scared they won’t be able to do it. We all develop our own style. Just have fun with it.”
Hoffman decided to start the online acrylics classes, which range from beginner to advanced, in mid-March right after school was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said she was at home painting with her kids when she realized that many more people would be looking for things to do while stuck at home.
“I get anywhere from 50 to 150 viewers,” said Hoffman of the Facebook Live classes.
“Less people tune in live now due to going back to work but they will watch when they have free time. Viewers have been from all over Canada and I’ve seen people tune in from the US and even the Dominican Republic.”
She added that she hopes her online classes are helping people to find a new way to relax in these stressful times.
“I hope people are learning new techniques from the classes but most of all how to relax and not stress about the painting,” she said.
“I do get told from people that they have found a new way to relax or release some tension. Some have found a hidden talent they never knew they had. Others tell me it was another great way to bond with the family.”
The Facebook Live art classes take place every Tuesday at 1 pm and are scheduled until mid-June when Hoffman says she expects more people will be spending more time outside and/or getting back to work.
“The best is part isn’t just that I can stay connected to people, it’s that I can put a little colour into people lives and a smile on their face. That makes my heart feel full,” said Hoffman.
“I would like everyone to know that I am very grateful for all the support people have shown me. I truly cannot thank everyone enough.”
She added that her favourite part of the experience so far has been seeing the students’ masterpieces posted to her Facebook page after each class.
“It gives me chance to see what they have done since I cannot see them but the can see me,” she said.
“The messages, comments and even phone calls keep pouring in and I reply to them all because I want to show them some love back.”
For more information, visit the Artsy Fartsy Facebook page.