Art Barn Studio in Hannover is a creative paradise for artists
HANOVER — A large barn at 674 Webster St. fulfilled the dreams of artist and educator Robyn Thompson-Duong, who founded The Art Barn Studio. The airy wooden interior is packed with classes for adults and children and monthly evenings to sip and paint.
“I was looking for space in Boston to rent for parties and painting classes, but when I saw the barn in Hanover, it was perfect,” said the 43-year-old visual artist.
There are classes in painting, drawing, collages, printmaking, and nature journaling. It is a space where the owner combines her artistic talent and her passion for teaching.
“Since 2008, I have been teaching art to some degree in private and then public schools,” she said. “The pandemic changed my perception of things. I wanted to do something on my own.
Thompson-Duong is a contemporary realist painter. She specializes in portraits and deals with art commissions, exhibitions and shows. She taught virtual classes through the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Rhode Island School of Design and taught art at Pierce Middle School in Milton for 10 years.
She is the mother of two daughters, aged 8 and 5, and her husband is An Duong. They moved to Hanover to be closer to his family members who live in Marshfield and Plymouth.
During the pandemic, when The Art Barn Studio opened, she started with online classes and then gave in-person classes limited to one or two students. This summer is the first time The Art Barn has offered classes for children.
“I don’t know who is having more fun, me or them. I opened it up to kids because the space is so beautiful and has great energy,” she said. “I feel greedy for not sharing it. Teaching children keeps me young.
Adult clients leave behind insecurities and being together is therapeutic, Thompson-Duong said.
“You have conversations about life in general,” she said. “There’s a camaraderie that happens and you look forward to the classes.”
Aspiring and seasoned painters share ideas and encouragement.
“It’s important to be around other artists, to be with like-minded people; it’s good for everyone,” she said.
Portrait painting is his specialty, although Thompson-Duong does a range of artwork including landscapes, still lifes and more.
“I focus on portraiture. I love faces and I love the challenge of capturing a person’s likeness. I want it to look like the person, and I want it to look like the person.
Because of COVID, she went from sketching her clients in person to looking at photos, and admitted, “It wasn’t as fun. I like working with people I can talk to and get to know them a bit. It helps to know their personality in order to capture the essence of who they are.
Now that people feel safer, her in-person classes are on the rise, and since insecurity is common among beginners, she offers advice.
Practice for five or 10 minutes a day or every other day to improve.
“People think there’s something magical about painting,” she said. “But it’s no different from learning any other skill, whether it’s music, a sport, or crocheting. You just have to practice.”
Also, there are videos on YouTube.com for learning the basics, but she prefers the energy of a class.
“It’s easier to teach people in person because I can see things more clearly,” she says.
Art can be good for the mind and the soul.
“Creativity is about expressing our inner thoughts and ideas in unique ways,” Thompson-Duong said. “Participating in creative endeavours is essential for our well-being and mental health.”
For more information, visit www.robynthompsonduong.com.
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Milton resident Suzette Martinez Standring writes Bright Side, a good news column with information about the South Shore and the people who live there. If you have an idea for a future column, contact her at [email protected] Also visit www.readsuzette.com.
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