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Artworks Around Town Class at Wheeling’s Centre Market Helps Artists Conquer ‘Fear Of The White Canvas’

Photo by Shelley Hanson Crystal Thornebrooke of Wheeling receives instruction from Wheeling artist Greg Siegwart during a painting class Monday at Artworks Around Town at the Centre Market house, 2200 Market St., Wheeling.

On Mondays at Artworks Around Town people gather to learn about painting and work on their pieces with guidance from artist Greg Siegwart of Wheeling.

Siegwart, who has been painting since he was 10 years old, said the class uses either oil or acrylic paints to create their scenes.

Some of the participants are beginners while others have been painting for decades.

Siegwart said for most artists, new and veteran, getting started is half the battle. He calls it the “fear of the white canvas.” Once a painter gets their base coat on or makes that first brush stroke, however, the fear goes away.

“Everyone, even experienced painters, does that,” he added.

Siegwart teaches the Artworks Around Town class from 10:30-12:30 p.m. Mondays at the gallery space located inside the Centre Market house, 2200 Market St. People must bring their own supplies. A list of what’s needed can be found at the gallery.

He also teaches painting at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling. His next class begins Jan. 10 there. Siegwart, who has been painting for 56 years, said he enjoys “everything” about the art.

“I don’t know how not to do it,” he said, adding he has sold his paintings to people around the world.

In the class last Monday was Sandy Kent and her husband Bill Kent of Wheeling. Sandy Kent said she has been painting for 40 years. Her latest work was a red barn scene inspired by a photograph. Bill Kent’s painting depicted an old pickup truck at what appeared to be a flea market.

Another student, Linda Porter of Wheeling, was working on a street scene based on a photograph taken by her granddaughter, Sydnee Porter, while she was doing an internship in Brazil.

Though Porter has completed dozens of paintings over the years, she said this particular street scene was quite a challenge. Porter started the craft when she retired and has been working at it ever since.

“It’s fun. It gives me something to do,” she said.

Porter said the painting will hang in her granddaughter’s future apartment. Porter quipped that her granddaughter can’t rent it, however, until she finally completes the painting, which could be years down the road.

Another student, Crystal Thornebrooke of Wheeling, said she was new to painting. She had been trying to teach herself, but decided to take to Seigwart’s class for help. Her painting upon completion will depict a surrealistic scene with a beetle resting comfortably in a chair by a roaring fire. Only the shadow of the beetle will be seen on the wall with just part of its legs sticking out from the high-back easy chair.

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