Quickly quality

Published 1:20 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Students in LBWCC’s spring term painting class said they felt like they were moving faster than ever Tuesday, when they completed an acrylic painting in a single class period.

The guest instructor was actually moving slowly.

Toby Hollinghead, the Opp artist who has gained notoriety for her memory paintings, took Misti Purvis’s students through the process of completing a painting, beginning by painting in the background, then adding lines and developing the elements.

“This is an old tin-top house,” she said, sketching an outline with her paintbrush. “It’s got sort of a rusty look to it.”

Coaching the students through getting paint on their own canvases, she encouraged as she painted.

“Step back and look … We’re building a house as a focal point and we don’t want it to look ‘off.’ … Your mind’s eye can pick up the lines faster than anything.”

And later, “There’s no right or wrong way to do what we’re doing.”

Hollinghead said she usually paints much faster.

“I love to work fast,” she said. “It’s sort of like a quick fix. I get something accomplished in a short amount of time and move on.”

Hollinghead, who is self-taught, said she enjoys sharing the gifts she has to help others paint.

“This was given to me as a gift, and it was a gift of joy,” she said. “I’m passing on my gift to others. There are so many people who are creative, but intimidation shies them away.”

Helping them overcome that intimidation and actually paint gives her great joy, she said.

She enjoys it so much that she takes walk-in students through classes similar to the one she taught this week at LBWCC on Saturday mornings in Opp in the Dean Building on Main Street. There is a $5 donation for the use of the building. Students can bring supplies or paint with what she has. The class lasts from 9:45 a.m. until noon, and students will complete a painting during that time.

It began as an informal, one-time thing, but people keep coming and painting, she said.

“I guess we’ll keep doing it until they get bored,” she said.

Meanwhile, Purvis felt her LBWCC students were anything but bored.

“Many of the students in this class have never painted before,” Purvis said. “They are usually frustrated with the effort.”

She said Hollinghead’s work with them puts them at ease.

“Most of the time they’re trying too hard,” she said.