Finding change through art class

Finding change through art class
From left: Lynne Roswall, owner, Studio Shu in Solana Beach and art student Aubri Almendariz, a partner in Minc Model & Talent Agency. “I love the idea of this class as a stress reliever,” she said. “There is a sense of safety in this environment.” Photo by Lillian Cox

SOLANA BEACH — As an accountant, Jeff Wilson works with numbers all day, analyzing data, reconciling discrepancies and preparing reports. 

Taking an art course for adults with instructor Lynne Roswall was a welcomed change.

Unlike his job, it was a chance to express himself.

“In accounting you have to be accurate and there are lots of rules to deal with, and you can’t be creative,” he said smiling. “Creative accounting has a very negative connotation to it.”

He added, “In Lynne’s class you just let it flow and do what you feel like doing. You explore and try to think outside of the box.”

Like Wilson, Aubri Almendariz has a high-stress job as a partner in Minc Model & Talent Agency where she manages the careers of children whose faces have appeared in national commercials and ads for the Gap and H&M.

She enrolled in Roswall’s adult art class two months ago, after watching the positive effect on her son and daughter, Paola and Lola, who were students in Roswall’s children’s class.

“I have people in my family who are artists, but I’m not one of them,” Almendariz explained. “I’ve never painted before and am terrified of blank canvases. Here it is about the process, which I needed, and learning another way to experience life and emotion from a different perspective.”

The adult art class has become a welcomed break from the pressures of her business, and life.

“When I arrive Lynne tells me, ‘Take your head off and put it over here (in another corner of the room),” she said. “When the brush stops moving, she tells me to find a color (she’s attracted to).”

She added, “I love the idea of this class as a stress reliever. There is a sense of safety in this environment. I get through Tuesdays knowing the day is going to pass and, at the end of the day, it’ll be calm when I arrive here.”

Roswell’s philosophy is similar to that of essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson who wrote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

As a working artist, Roswall has come to understand stress and deadlines herself.

“Even as kids, you have stress,” she explained. “Here you come where there are no expectations and no pressure to perform. My job is to guide students – kids and adults – back to themselves.”

Roswall’s classes incorporate paper and tempera paint, which she uses to teach students that it’s not about the beauty of a flower they paint, but the process.

“It’s about who you are, and painting is the medium to get there,” she said.

Roswall tells students that it’s okay to give up on an idea. In Almendariz’s case, a dragon that wasn’t coming together emerged as a beautiful bird once she let go and concentrated on the process only.

“I’ve learned from Lynne that there is a sweet surrender even if means just being here for one hour,” she said. “I can paint red and black if that is what I’m feeling at the time.”

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