By Lori Szepelak
WESTFIELD – For Bernadette Case of Southwick, working with New England artist Richard Nowak was the icing on the cake when she recently signed up for an acrylic painting workshop at Westfield Creative Arts.
“I’m here tonight to learn how a painting looks finished,” she said during an interview with Reminder Publications.
On the evening of March 24, Case was joined by three other participants in the acrylic painting workshop that featured Nowak’s work titled “Cape Cod Lilacs.” Nowak, influenced by the French Impressionists, paints in oils, acrylics and watercolors, and is known for his textured application of paint and high-keyed colors.
“The greatest joy from teaching comes from helping my students progress in their painting skills and seeing that painting has become a positive influence in their lives, helping them see beauty in their surroundings,” Nowak said.
Nowak, of Westfield, is one of several instructors who are offering classes at the recently opened center at 105 Elm St. The beautifully appointed space is being rented through a partnership with Westfield State University since its downtown gallery is also occupying the Rinnova building.
“Westfield Creative Arts offers a place with a vast menu of classes and workshops,” Les Walshin, executive director, said. “We offer a very informal, relaxed atmosphere for people to thrive.”
Walshin explained that the center’s goal is to make the fine arts and crafts accessible to everyone and to promote public appreciation for the arts. He noted that the friendly environment offers valuable experiences to people from all backgrounds and skill levels.
As students create works of art, they are surrounded by exquisite artwork that is displayed on easels and on the walls of the gallery. The current exhibition is titled “Temporal and Terrestrial, Egg Tempera and Drawings” and features works by Carol A. O’Neill, Banjie Nicholas, Leslie Anderson, and Westfield State alumna Diane Savino.
Nowak added that the center is also “economical” for area residents, noting that classes and workshops are designed for all skill levels and can run either as one-time classes or for several sessions.
In Nowak’s classes, he noted that many have been beginners while some have had experience years ago and now wish to hone their skills.
“Students have told me they were glad they came and enjoyed it and will come again,” he said.
For more information on the nonprofit organization, visit www.westfieldcreativearts.com
. A listing of current day and evening classes is posted, which ranges from oil, watercolor and acrylic painting, to drawing, calligraphy, quilting and a mandala workshop. In the spring, Walshin expects to offer classes in handcrafted bead jewelry design, rug punching, chair caning, basket making, silk painting, upholstery, and advanced and beginner knitting. Classes are open to adults age 18 and older.
Walshin added that instructors are always welcome and he can be reached at 478-9423 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more details. Current instructors include Nowak, Debra Dunphy, Peg Considine, Kathy Morrissey-Morini, Marsha Molloy and Kathleen MacLean.
If Nowak’s students are like Case, he can expect more participants in the near future.
“Bernadette said she wished she could come every night to paint,” he said