Each January, artist and arts patron Janice Yow Hindes shares her love of representational art by offering free painting workshops to middle school students through Hindes Fine Art, her home gallery, studio and school overlooking San Pedro Park.
Students from the Young Men’s Leadership Academy and Mark Twain Dual Language Academy participated this year and will have their artwork featured in an exhibition timed to coincide with the weekend On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour, a free weekend tour of artist studios in the Alta Vista and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.
The exhibition, titled One Day I’ll Paint, opens March 25 from 4-5 p.m., with the fledgling artists expected to be present and available to talk about their work. The exhibition title refers both to the one-day workshops and to future aspirations to become practitioners of fine art painting, Hindes said.
“These kids have never painted in oils before. This is their first oil painting,” Hindes said, noting that kids generally learn art with simpler materials, such as acrylic paints and pastels, leaving the more complicated medium of oil paints for advanced stages of learning.
During the workshops, each aproned student stood before a dramatically lit still life composed of stoneware and fruit, with a dedicated volunteer instructor seated next to them to guide them through the process.
Isom Smith took classes with Hindes eight years ago and has since returned to help teach the workshops. In guiding eighth grader Dazzel Moore, Smith asked him to look back and forth between his painting and the still life using a sheet of red film to limit color and better see light and dark values, important for achieving a sense of depth and volume in the painting.
Dazzel sported a freshly won medal around his neck, having arrived at the workshop after placing ninth in a two-mile cross-country race for an interschool competition.
Asked how running and painting compare, Dazzel said the main lesson from both is to “keep trying.”
“When you’re running, you usually want to stop after that first mile or so,” he said. “And sometimes when you’re painting, you usually want to stop because it might look ugly or might not hit that point in your eyes that shows you its true colors. So you gotta just keep going to the end.”
Stinky but magical
A seventh grader who goes by “J.C.” said he usually sketches or works in acrylics. He found the chemical-laden oil paints “pretty stinky” but said he appreciates their capacity for rendering realistic images.
Surveying his nearly completed work, he said he liked “the fact that I made it look literally almost like a picture. … That’s pretty cool.”
Instructor Bruce Jensen paused from helping J.C. to praise Hindes for opening her studio to offer the annual free workshops. He said that as an arts patron and appreciator, he understands “how magical it can be for kids to discover they have talents they never knew they had.”
Hindes began the workshops during San Antonio’s Tricentennial year of 2018. Not coincidentally, that was the same year the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts, a school dedicated to figurative and representational art established by Cenotaph sculptor Pompeo Coppini, became embroiled in an embezzlement scandal. Although she was not involved in any wrongdoing, Hindes twice led the nonprofit organization as board president.
Serving the community by passing on the tradition of representational painting has been part of her recovery process after parting ways with the academy, she said.
“I do this every year for the kids,” Hindes said.
The One Day I’ll Paint exhibition is free and open to the public for one day only, March 25 from 4-5 p.m. Hindes recommends parking in the lot of Laurel Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church just across Breeden Street from the gallery.
The 15th annual On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour kicks off with a free opening reception (reservations requested) Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Bihl Haus Arts, then runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with more than 50 participating artists opening their studios to the public. For a second year, the tour adds a second weekend April 1-2, though not all artists will participate.
This story has been updated to correctly characterize a 2018 embezzlement scandal that affected the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts.