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Roaming Portland artist to give lessons on drawing, painting in Great Falls

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A peripatetic painter from Portland will provide people of all proficiency levels the opportunity to try something new or help hone their artistic skills in new ways this weekend.

Leah Kohlenberg paints a picture recently in her Roaming Studio in Portland.
Leah Kohlenberg paints a picture recently in her Roaming Studio in Portland.

Leah Kohlenberg, owner of The Roaming Studio,  comes to the Electric City on Friday and Saturday to teach two courses.

Her class on drawing self-portraits starts at 6:30 p.m., at the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art while the class on oil painting starts at 7 p.m. at Barry and Marcie Dardis’s residence at 220 29th Ave. NE in Great Falls. Space is limited.  People attending the selfie class must bring a printout of themselves that they will learn to draw.

Kohlenberg said this weekend’s visit will be her first trip ever to Great Falls and that she’s excited to take some time to do some plein air paintings while here, too.

“Well what encouraged me and what brought this about was Barry and Marcie saying, ‘You have to come paint Great Falls’ and then I thought, well, I should come and teach some classes while I’m there, as well, because, what the hell, why not?”

Barry and Marcie have taken lessons from Kohlenberg for several years. Both have since shown their work in shows at Brian Morger’s Studio downtown and have developed a passion for art that blossomed later in their lives, Barry particularly.
Kohlenberg said she’s made a point to try and visit her long-term students at one point or another since she does all of her lessons via Skype.

“With Barry and Marcie, we’ve been talking about this visit for years and I’m really looking forward to meeting them in person,” she said. “We know each other quite well but only via Skype. It’s a different thing standing in front of someone rather having a computer screen in front of you.”

Kohlenberg said everyone is welcome to sign up for either or both lessons and that she’ll be offering techniques that people here aren’t exposed to that much elsewhere in town.

“I’ll be teaching things that aren’t necessarily taught there normally,” she said. “The oil painting class, for example, I’ll be using a traditional way of building layers that the old masters use that you don’t get in Great Falls that much.”

A flower painted by Barry Dardis of Great Falls.
A flower painted by Barry Dardis of Great Falls.

Learning to draw or paint is like learning to speak in that it’s an acquired skill, but one that anyone with the interest and dedication can pick up, she said.

“None of us are born knowing how to talk, we spend years learning how to speak, it’s not an instant overnight thing,” she said. “You can’t learn it all in one session, but you’ll do more than you think you can, and with a lot of practice you can become very good at it.”

Kohlenberg added that she’ll also be giving new students a taste for how the Skype lessons work as the second part of the class will involve her teaching another part of the lesson when she returns to Portland.

But, before then, Kohlenberg said she’s excited to see the beautiful fall colors of Great Falls and to explore the different art museums and galleries while she’s here.

“I keep hearing how beautiful Great Falls is, especially this time of year, and I’m so excited to come paint the pretty scenery,” she said.

To sign up for the class at Paris Gibson Square, visit the museum at 1400 1st Ave. N or check out the listing online here. To sign up for the oil painting class, email Kohlenberg at theroamingstudio@gmail.com

The cost for the class at the Paris Gibson Square is $40 and includes wine and materials, while the cost of the class at the Dardis household is $50 and includes materials.

For more information about Kohlenberg, visit her website at www.theroamingstudio.com.

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