Local artist opens gallery, plans oil painting classes for beginners
To Laura Wiens, opening a gallery and teaching classes in Crescent City is one more way of coming home as an artist.
She took up oil painting six years ago while living in Colorado, using her lush, heavily textured approach to depict images of the Rocky Mountains.
"I started big," she said. "My first sale was a 4- by 5-foot aspen scene."
Soon she was working part-time in her childhood hometown of Carmel,
Calif., painting first in a courtyard gazebo and later in the front
window of a big gallery in the tourist mecca.
By then she'd added "small" to her repertoire, selling hundreds of
miniatures - complete with tiny easels - depicting Carmel's quaint shops
"I was back where I grew up, painting every day in a true artist's
colony - a place where people from all over the world browse the
Wiens still has work on display at Mountainsong Gallery in Carmel and
occasionally paints there, as well as at Second Street Gallery in
Now she is coming home in another way. While toggling back and forth
to Carmel, she's been living in Crescent City for more than four years,
ever since her husband Richard became editor of the Del Norte Triplicate
(where Laura Wiens works as neighbors editor).
The North Coast's spectacular scenery captured her from the start.
She's been rendering its seascapes and lighthouses on canvases big and
small for years, and now many of those scenes are on display at her new
venture, High Ground Gallery and Studio at Crescent City Harbor.
"My focus is really going to be on this area," Wiens said. "My
gallery is a working studio and I plan to have new material up in the
gallery every week, so there will always be something new to see."
The space she is renting above Crescent Harbor Gallery includes a
classroom, where Wiens will soon be teaching beginning oil painting. She
sees that as still another way of coming home.
"I want people to experience the same thrill that I did when I first started dabbling in oil," she said.
She plans to hold two-hour introductory workshops for budding artists
of various age levels, followed by a series of classes for those who
wish to continue. She also intends to eventually carry art supplies for
sale at discount rates.
The plan, she said, is to make it simple.
"I'll supply all the materials for the workshop - the brushes, the
paints, the canvases - they just have to bring their interest and their
energy," she said of her students.
"I had always wanted to take a stab at oil painting, but never seemed
to have the time to take classes," she said. "One day I got up the
nerve to go to a local art store and purchase the basics I thought I'd
need to get started. I went home and gave it a whirl. If I didn't try
it, I never would have known I had the talent. This is what I want to
help others with."
Wiens will be showing off her gallery and classroom during a grand
opening reception from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at High Ground Gallery, 140-A
Marine Way, as part of the Crescent City Art Walk.
Her normal hours will be 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
For information about the workshops and classes, contact Wiens at
719-494-9216. To see more of her work, go to laurawiensartist.com or