The Coast News Group
Darlene Katz is among seven artists from the San Dieguito Art Guild providing introductory lessons in various media in the “Try It, You’ll Like It” workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Oct. 11 at San Diego Botanic Garden. Courtesy photo

Workshop gives artists flexibility to try out new mediums

ENCINITAS — Intrigued with Chinese brush painting, but you want to see what it’s like before making a commitment? 

Artists, from beginning to advanced, have an opportunity to try their hand at different forms of fine art at the “Try It, You’ll Like It” workshop on Oct. 11 sponsored by the San Dieguito Art Guild.

Coffee and treats will be served during check-in between 9 and 9:15 a.m. The workshop begins at 9:30 a.m. and continues until 12:30 p.m. at the Ecke Building at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

The cost is $25 for instruction by skilled artists. Workshops include photography (Nick Chill), clay sculpture (Debbie Schaeffer), outdoor plein air watercolor (Char Cee Colosia), pastels (Joan Grine), oil painting (Darlene Katz), watercolor (Cris Weatherby) and Chinese brush painting (Lisa Curry).

Curry says she got hooked herself when she took a one-day course in Hawaii about 20 years ago.

“My first opportunity to teach a ‘Try It You’ll Like It’ class was last year,” she said. “My students have the opportunity to learn that Chinese painting, especially the calligraphy and the painting of bamboo, is like a martial art. They learn the importance of posture, how to wield the brush and the state of mind necessary to complete a painting with ‘chi’ or energy.”

She added, “I can see the ‘ah ha’ when a person follows through and experiences that moment.”

Grace Anne Swanson, the director of the event, says the idea for the workshops came to her a few years ago after she spent a couple hundred dollars for a silk painting class.

“I thought, ‘This doesn’t feel like me … I don’t want to pursue it,” she recalled. “Then I thought, ‘What if someone can try something new without spending a lot of money?’”

Swanson shared her idea with other members of art guild who supported her. This will be the sixth “Try It, You’ll Like It” workshop since then.

“People don’t have to buy anything in this class,” she said. “A nominal fee of $25 is used to buy supplies, and there is a small stipend for gas for the teachers. Instructors donate their time.”

Additional funds are provided by the City of Encinitas Community Grant Program and the Mizel Foundation. Classes are limited to eight students. Those wanting to take the class with a friend are encouraged to register early.

“The watercolor class fills up every time,” Swanson said. “The clay class is new.”

Although a macro (extreme close up) photography class has been offered before, this will be the first time a general photography course is taught.

“People should bring their single-lens reflex or whatever camera they own,” Swanson advised. “So many people have these wonderful cameras and they don’t know how to use them.”

Joan Grine’s art has been featured in the Offtrack Gallery, the COAL Gallery and the San Diego County Fair. She’s also had solo shows at libraries, banks and retirement homes. She’ll be teaching pastels at the workshop — her favorite fine art form.

“I’ll be bringing all the materials, and will teach students how to use pastel pencils and sticks (chalk) in a short demo,” she said. “We’ve done it for several years and it’s been very successful. I still meet people who say, ‘I took your class and really enjoyed it — and am still doing it.’”

Char Cee Colosia will be sharing her love of outdoor plein air watercolor.

“In my class we wander the paths of nature at San Diego Botanic Garden and I show them in very simple lessons how to take the vast outdoors and apply it to a piece of watercolor paper in a wonderful painting,” she said. “I think the biggest thing with my classes is that it lets students know that they can have fun, and they can make mistakes — because that’s how they learn.”

Scholarships are available to those with a financial hardship through the San Dieguito Art Guild/Off Track Gallery. All communication is confidential. For information, contact Mo Price at or (760) 436-2026. To register, send a check for $25 made out to SDAG and mail to Mo Price, 1438 Vanessa Circle, Encinitas, CA 92024.

The San Diego Botanic Garden is located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas.