“Art Has Certainly Changed My Life For the Better”- Molly Whalen
by Kristen Andersen | June 29 | @theartstudiony
Meet Molly Whalen
Molly has been attracted to making art since her older sister, Kate, took Drawing and Painting classes in high school. Studying her sister’s sketchbook led to Molly deciding to take art classes in high school herself, followed by a college Bachelors in Art Education. Since then, Molly has worked as an Art Educator in the City School District of Albany, NY for 30 years and recently retired in June of 2020 during the COVID pandemic.
Molly loved working with the pre-K through 6th grade children in her art room because it was a place where they could experience hands-on-learning, create beautiful art, and use many different mediums. Molly used Children’s Literature within her art lessons. She taught art history and painted daily with the kids because they are so uninhibited and free with the colors! “It was demanding at times, but became a vocation and part of my life journey that I will never forget,” she says.
Molly started taking online art classes at The Art Studio NY in the Fall of 2020 with Rebecca Schweiger and finds it quite enjoyable! “Rebecca is a warm, well-informed, positive, and experienced painter/Art Educator/ with a great sense of humor! She validates all the students’ effort, artwork, and vision for their art.”
An oil painter primarily, Molly has started using collage and acrylics a lot more this year.
“My painting inspiration comes from a love of nature and the outdoors. I hike in the NYS Adirondack Park and surrounding areas of New England with my family and friends. The forest, ocean, lakes and mountains bring a sense of joy and peace to me, in this very stressful world we live in. I feel connected to something much bigger than the day to day minutiae of life when I am hiking and exploring the environment.”
The critiques and feedback from Rebecca and the other classmates in Molly’s group make her experience at The Art Studio NY more memorable each week. “I really value what Rebecca and the other women see and say about my paintings and look forward to the Thursday morning classes. Not only do I enjoy seeing their work, but I learn from everyone else’s successes and mistakes. I like the videos that Rebecca shares with us on art techniques and relevant artists. It will be great to come to NYC soon and take an in-person class.”
Molly is most proud of her recent dedication to painting, her openness to learning new things and making “virtual learning in Art” a success.
“I am proud of the results that I have achieved with my artistic journey and being able to view mistakes as opportunities,”
She continues, “I have achieved greater confidence, renewed interest in my artwork, and a sense of a creative community due to The Art Studio NY that I didn’t think I could with online classes. It’s really fun to connect with other artists around the world in a zoom art class!
“I look at my pre-pandemic self and say, ‘Don’t neglect your unique, individual, soulful, and artistic self ‘. As a wife, mother of three children, and 30 year educator, I was overextending myself. I was constantly giving, planning, working, and trying to stay in control of everything. That didn’t nurture my inner-self, it neglected my personal artistic expression, and made me feel burned out. I was blessed with so much, but needed to slow down to listen to others, be ‘in the moment‘ more, have faith, and actually appreciate my life instead of living on the hamster wheel.
My advice to any beginner is to just approach an art class like any other enrichment class, let yourself relax and enjoy the process.
I believe that everyone can create, the classes are for all ability levels and the teachers at TASNY are talented, knowledgeable, and welcoming to everyone.
The pandemic has impacted Molly’s “Art Appreciation” practice because all the museums and galleries have been closed for so long. She misses being inspired by the exhibits and art/artists that are shown in those wonderful places. Molly studied abroad in London for a semester in college, and visited many museums and galleries in Europe while she was there. “I think museums are like big Art schools, with so much to see, hear and learn from! I would love to work at one of the big Art Museums in NYC.
“My artistic influences are: Georgia O’Keefe for her extensive palette, beautiful works of nature, and lifelong dedication to painting. Vincent Van Gogh for his Expressionistic style, subject matter and oil paint texture. Frida Kahlo for her ability to portray real emotion in her portraits, women’s issues, and her commitment to learning/painting through adversity. Faith Ringgold for her storytelling, quilting, and honest communication of race and diversity through Art. William Johnson for his perseverance, colorful portraits, painting style and life story. And Helen Frankenthaler for her exploration of Abstract painting, large scale of her work, and use of meditative color field painting.
Art has changed my life because it has filled my senses and excited my mind since I was young.
I am a visual learner who is motivated by the creative process, but who also loves literature. Art has allowed me to become educated, be social, travel, and be employed in Art Education for many years. Because of this I celebrate diversity, appreciate cultures and history, am more patient, and view the natural world as awe inspiring! I see the interconnectedness between Art, Math, Science, and Technology and embrace the “STEAM” approach to teaching and learning. Art has certainly changed my life for the better.”
Sign up for a LIVE online art class today! We have classes for adults, teens, and kids. The Art Studio NY’s nurturing style of teaching is perfect for beginners. Engage with some of New York’s top rated artists and mingle with students who share a similar passion for art.