In a cramped upstairs room with long, sloped white ceilings, Jo Baughman is teaching how to paint distant trees in a watercolor landscape. ¶ "They are kind of fuzzy. All we can see about a distant tree is that they have a form," she says as she chalks one out on an old-fashioned blackboard.
Now it's on to the paint. To do this correctly, the paint must be almost dry when it is dabbed, ever so slightly, onto paper that has been sprayed with a water bottle.
Creating far-away trees is a race against time. "You only have a certain amount of time to get this done," Baughman warns students as she demonstrates, this time using greenish-blue hues. "See how it's spreading, ballooning out, exploding into the background?"
The distant trees probably won't show up much when the painting is finished in a few weeks.
It's just part of the step-by-step process of creating a landscape complete with barns, skies, distant trees and closer, middle trees, too.
Baughman's 16 students have all started with the same basic template, but when all is said and done, each painting will have its own special charm.
Baughman is counting on it, particularly because this is a class where the older and the younger — mothers and daughters, grandmothers and grandsons — sit side by side as they learn watercolor painting.
This is the very first offering of "Partners in Art," a six-week class at the Pasco Arts Council.
The paired class evolved from an after-school class for children, said Baughman, who wanted to try something a little different.
"These kids are quite creative," said Baughman, noting the differences between some of the adults' traditional blue skies with a couple of the children's horizons that used more daring pinks and reds.
"The kids are like sponges. They just take it all in," Baughman continued. "Parents, on the other hand, have all these past experiences that get in the way. That's why I tell the kids, 'We're going to have to be patient with your parents because they have to relearn.' "
The class was an immediate hit, Baughman said.
"We had to turn people away, which tells us that we will have to be offering it again."
Lessons provided some good bonding time for students such as Margaret Jarm, 62, and her grandson Brandon Mowery, 10. Besides learning to paint, he's picking up some new vocabulary words.
"Cohesion — that's the first time I've heard that word," Brandon said as he brushed a rolling hill on his landscape.
The class allows 11-year-old Alexandra Firdy to shine and share her artistic skills, honed through previous classes at the Pasco Arts Council, with her novice mom.
"I love it; it's fun," said Lori Firdy, 43, as she used a rigger brush to paint brown branches on the "middle trees." "This is really challenging. It's harder than I thought."