Painting with a Pro: My Close Encounter with a Professional Artist

Have you ever had the opportunity to learn how to paint from a professional artist? With the help of Professor Alex Grabiec, a faculty scholar in the Cormier Honors College and the curator for the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, I am proud to say that I got this opportunity.

Professor Grabiec knows professional artist Morgan Everheart personally and was part of the team that brought some of her work to the LCVA for an exhibition this semester.

Artist Morgan Everheart, whose paintings were exhibited at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts this semester, conducted a painting workshop and tour of the exhibition for students in the Cormier Honors College.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Morgan agreed to host a paint night for the members of the Honors College. Meeting Morgan was an eye-opening experience. Actually being able to hear an artist’s thought process is truly special. (I had the opportunity to see Morgan’s artwork twice—the second time was when she gave my classmates and me a mini tour of the exhibition, explaining the process of creating some of her pieces and the meaning behind them.)

I had been to other paint nights where the instructor told everyone to do the same exact thing and everyone’s paintings looked very similar. Luckily, that wasn’t how Morgan chose to conduct her session.

She first told us to paint how we feel—meaning we could paint anything we wanted. Most of my peers painted a simple background. I was one of the only people who decided to paint a face. This didn’t bother me because I enjoy being the oddball.

She then told us to paint all of the greenery in the flowers on our tables. (It’s important to note that Morgan’s exhibition at the LCVA was comprised primarily of floral-themed paintings.) We finished up by painting the brightest colors in the bouquets on the table.

Heather’s friends Jason and Cecily also participated in the painting workshop.

Morgan also told us to take breaks in between painting different elements to do various activities. One of the activities was to introduce yourself to someone you didn’t know and talk about your painting. We did this two to three times throughout the session, performing different tasks. That was something new to me. I had never been to a paint night where the instructor told you to get up and talk to the people around you. I enjoyed it.

Overall, I had a very fun time. I really liked being able to paint with my friends, meet new people, learn techniques from a professional and eat pizza. It was evident from my painting that trying to depict flowers is not my strong suit—but I still had fun.

The painting I created actually wasn’t my favorite part of the experience. What I will remember most is meeting an artist and being able to talk to her and find out how and why she paints.