Students' works on display at Senior Center starting today

Charlotte Severin celebrating 22 years of teaching art in Pleaanton

Students of Charlotte Severin's Art Made Easy classes will exhibit their creations at the Pleasanton Senior Center starting with a reception from 7-9 p.m. this evening.

The works represent this year's fall, winter and spring classes, said Severin, a professional artist who now mainly paints with watercolors. She has been teaching the adult class through the city of Pleasanton for 22 years and encourages anyone interested to give the class a try.

"You never know what talent is lying untapped inside of you," she said. "You'd be surprised how many people never thought they had talent. If you stick with it, you can make it successful."

Severin's students rave not just about the painting techniques they learn from her but the therapeutic value of the sessions. Severin agrees.

"Painting is a meditative experience," she said. "It helps a lot of people get through problems. For those three hours your mind is completely off any troubles you may be having. While doing art, it allows yourself a vacation from worry."

Although Severin works in multimedia, she teaches watercolors in her city-sponsored classes.

"I started as an oil painter when I was 12 but now use acrylics, pastels, drawing with charcoal but primarily do watercolor because I am a plein air artist," she said. "We take trips all over the world -- China, Tibet, France, Italy, Sicily."

Severin studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts, then earned a nursing degree at Stanford University because her parents didn't think she could earn a living painting.

"But I always had a love of people, and I've always been grateful for my education in nursing," she said. "It helped me be a good mother, and when I had breast cancer in 1976."

Severin's classes include many older people, she said, which is a joy.

"It opens a new world to people, especially as people get on in life," she said. "We have some painting until the very end of life."

She also has middle-aged and younger adults in her classes, which accepts students 13 and older.

Art classes are held at the Firehouse Arts Center on Railroad Avenue. Contact Severin for more information at 846-6382.

The exhibit opens Monday at the Pleasanton Senior Center, located at 5353 Sunol Blvd.

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