Artist, Curtis, shares expertise with teens at TFAC

Published 5:26 pm Monday, January 7, 2013

Artist Margaret Curtis will teach a foundational oil painting class for teen aged students

Margaret Curtis, Oil Instructor for Teens at Tryon Fine Arts Center. Registration is currently under way for winter classes, which begin Jan. 12. Call 828-859-8322 for registration or information. (photo by Matt Rose)

at Tryon Fine Arts Center (TFAC) on Saturdays from Jan. 12 – March 9.

The class, which meets from noon – 3 p.m. in Studio B, will explore the fundamentals of oil painting.

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Curtis completed the first session of the class in December 2012 and students from that class will continue into the new session. Registration is also open to new students.

Curtis’ teaching credits include the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

“We will focus on the difference between color and value, and how to use value to create a sense of volume,” she said of the course work. “We talk about reflected light, as well as explore the principles of composition. The class will be working from still life and the figure. Students are encouraged to create their own image file for self-generated imagery later in the year.”

Curtis teaches more than just oil painting technique to her students. She also shares with them insights she’s developed as an artist.

“The main thing I hope to teach them is how actively our brains interfere and distort what we see,” she said. “If we can learn to trust our senses a bit more, we make great strides as artists. And we are not beholding to the “reality” in front of us. Our real duty is to make art that can be most anything, except boring.”

Curtis continues, “I hope to provide my students with the basic skills to be able to do what they want to later – even if that means breaking the rules. The thing I love about my students is how unique they are – I can put them in front of the same set of problems and they will each have their own approach and set of answers.”

Two of the students returning for the second session of classes are sisters Anna and Emily Costine.

“Margaret is great at helping me figure out how to improve my work without taking over my work,” said 17-year-old Anna, who will be taking the second session of the class along with her sister 15-year-old sister, Emily.

“When I get to class, I’m thinking about a million different things, and I think I’m too busy to spend three hours taking this class, but then I get started, and the time just disappears,” she said.

Anna and Emily’s mother Lynn is also an experienced artist and teacher.

“Margaret does a great job of meeting each girl where she is and inspiring her to step up from there,” she said.

Curtis brings passion of her art not only as a teacher but also as a dynamic visual artist.

She was represented for 10 years by P.P.O.W. Gallery in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. She was included in “The Figure: Another Side of Modernism” at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and “Bad Girls” at The New Museum in New York and other major group shows. She has also shown at Zolla Lieberman Gallery in Chicago, The Huntington Beach Art Center in California and Salama Caro Gallery of London. Curtis is the recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, Yale Summer School of Art and the Predmore Award from Duke University.

“The students are completely connected to their work in Margaret’s class. There is an intensity of concentration and excitement about the setting in which they’re learning,” said Beth Child, executive director of TFAC. “The class is a gem.”

Besides Curtis’ Oil Painting class, TFAC offers Kindermusik for families with children newborn to 7 years.  Tryon Fine Arts Center, located on Melrose Avenue in the town of Tryon, has been a center for participation in the visual and performing arts for over 43 years attracting a diverse range of audiences.  For more information or to register, contact Marianne at 828-859-8322, ext. 213 or e-mail

– article submitted by Marianne Carruth