Student Spotlight Maria Lissandrello
I notice that when I’m in class, I forget all my other issues. I had an extremely stressful summer, with lots of personal sturm und drang, and during class I was able to unwind and let go of the anxiety. TRUE STORY!
What advice would you tell a total beginner who feels afraid of taking an art class or they feel they “have no talent”?
The risk here is pretty non-existent!!! Tell yourself that the worst thing that will happen is you may be disappointed in your first few attempts. It’s more likely you’ll be pleasantly surprised and find it’s a starting point that will take you someplace you hadn’t dreamed!
When did you start taking art classes at The Art Studio NY, and why did you begin to take classes (what was going on in your life at the time)?
I started about three summers ago. I’d always loved art and sketched from childhood but had never had real training. I tried a few classes here and there, include one very intimidating class elsewhere which was NOT for me, everyone had MFA’s! I started seeing signs around my neighborhood for The Art Studio NY and thought it sounded perfect! I had been longing to develop my skills and find a community of amateur artists where the vibe would be relaxed.
What makes your experience at The Art Studio NY unique and memorable?
I had always wanted to learn how to paint in oil but wasn’t sure I could transfer my drawing skills to the canvas. Mixing colors, using brushes….it all seemed a little difficult. At first, it WAS frustrating, but with Jake’s help, I relaxed about the process and figured I would just see where it took me! The risk was low, and I was enjoying being in the “zone” while I was in class.
I’ve been in Jake’s Thursday evening oil painting class for about a year and a half now.
What is something you have achieved because of your art classes that you never thought you could?
I never thought I could tackle figures and faces with oil paint. I started painting landscapes and then “graduated” to figures, including a portrait of my daughter. To my surprise, she was happy with it and has it hanging in her apartment!
What are you most proud of when it comes to your artistic journey?
Continuing to try new things and taking a fearless approach to it. Although I want to take pride in the final result, I allow myself room to mess up and just keep trying. I began painting pets last fall, starting with my sister-in-law’s dogs. I was shocked at how natural it came to me. I’ve now started painting my friends’ pets and am building a portfolio of these paintings.
How have your art classes changed your life, either in your art or your everyday life?
I’m starting to actually think of myself as an artist, or at least someone who has the potential to grow. My goal is to, at some point, actually get commissions for pet portraits (I couldn’t think of a better second career!). I must say that the sense of camaraderie and support we get in class (fellow artists are always interested in others’ work and warmly encouraging) fosters lots of growth and learning. Jake is also an amazing instructor and mentor, who nurtures everyone’s individual style and understands their goals.