Written by Aleen Ratzlaff Tuesday, 08 June 2010 07:37
The artists are students of Katherine DeFilipis, who operates the Palette of Dreams Gallery, where she’s teaches both older and younger students to paint.
“I rent that little space,” DeFilipis said about her studio located in Suite B. “I have that whole wall where I can hang my paintings so people can just come in and look.”
DeFilipis, general manager of The Lumberyard in Hillsboro, opened Palette of Dreams and started her painting classes about four months ago. Even if students have no drawing or painting experience, she promises in four sessions they will complete at least two, if not four, paintings.
The canvases hanging on the wall are proof that her students can do it.
“I can fit seven people in my studio,” said DeFilipis, who charges $60 for a four-week block of sessions. “When I get a group started, I ask what’s best for them. And then we just converge on that night.
“I try to be… convenient for everyone involved. And then the goal is to have them have one painting per night, which is pretty inexpensive for them.”
For the first lesson, DeFilipis provides paints, brushes and supplies.
“Then, when they get novice, they (will) have their own paints and brushes,” she said. “I stress to all my students that they need to get their supplies as soon as possible.”
Since starting her classes in March, DeFilipis has taught about 15 students. But she decided to take a hiatus for June and July.
“I felt it was best to put it on hold until August,” DeFilipis said. “Summer is just too hectic.”
While she has taught a class for children ages 9 to 12, most of her students are adults. She also gives private lessons.
Melisa Johnson of Hillsboro was one of DeFilipis’s first students at Palette of Dreams. Even though Johnson had never painted, she’s now completed 10 paintings.
“I can actually achieve something that I thought I never could,” Johnson said.
Another student, DJ Freeman of Goessel, took classes in April and May. Freeman said she had done drawings in high school, but had never tried oil painting.
“It’s a nice getaway,” Freeman said about the classes. “You get absorbed in what you’re doing and (the three hours) fly by.”
When students arrive for their first class, DeFilipis has their painting area ready.
“Everything is set up,” she said. “All they have to do is start painting.”
Prior to the session, she chooses the focus of the painting and provides each student with a design drawn on paper.
“They trace the basic design on the canvas and then we go freestyle from there,” DeFilipis said. “It’s surprising how everybody’s doing the exact same thing, but how (their paintings) are different—so different.”
DeFilipis first took up painting nearly 10 years ago when she lived in northeast Kansas.
“I got started and took some classes the same exact style of classes I’m doing,” she said.
Before moving to Marion County, DeFilipis worked under government contract for 1-800 Medicare in Lawrence and then relocated to Virginia.
“I was given the opportunity to open a call center in Chester, Va., which is right outside of Richmond,” said DeFilipis, who interviewed, hired and trained the service representatives. “When you call the 1-800 Medicare, then you get my people.”
When she completed the contract, she had an opportunity to sign with another company.
But family urged her to return to Kansas. “My brother said, ‘No, it was time for me to come home,’” she said.
While DeFilipis was born and raised in Shawnee, her brother and wife had moved to Marion to be near their son.
“So when I elected to come home, I drove straight through from Virginia to Marion,” she said.
Since then she has purchased a small house in Lehigh that she is renovating.
And she’s nearer to her daughter, Angela, who is an intensive-care-unit nurse who lives in Lawrence and works in Topeka. DeFilipis has three grandchildren ages 12, 15 and 16.
Teaching others to paint is invigorating, she said.
DeFilipis said when she resumes her classes, she wants to have students try portraits. She’s painted portraits of her grandchildren.
“They resemble them,” she said. “It’s fun to do.”
Introducing students to the world of oil painting is a challenge DeFilipis welcomes.
“I’ve had two ladies in my class that never touched a paintbrush in their life swear that I would never be able to teach them to paint be thrilled with the fact that they could,” she said. “Because it’s just step by step, do what I do, and you can do it.”
For more information or signing up for classes, visit her Web site at paletteofdreamsgallery.com/aboutus.html or call 620-357-1860.