Inspiring Minds: Fine artist and YC faculty Patty Mikles
With every new school year students with unspoken dreams wait patiently on the edge of their seats for inspiration. Eager students reach their hands high, shy ones cast their eyes to the floor, and some simply sigh in confusion as each minute clicks - clicks - clicks - by.
In this picture keep your eyes turned to the front of the class - the teacher has the light bulb - and the good ones know how to get every student to plug in.
Patty Mikles, art faculty at the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus has energy to spare. An accomplished fine artist, Mikles recently won Best of Show for her painting "The Tree People" from the Northern Arizona Watercolor Society Association (NAWS).
Fellow artist, student and NAWS member Judy Jaaskelainen of Clarkdale says she's "not the least bit surprised."
"I've taken Patty's watercolor classes for more than five years," explains Jaaskelainen who's preparing to hang her own exhibit in Jerome this fall. "Patty's a phenomenal artist and I'm very selective who I study with. I don't have time to waste and I don't want to take classes with someone I won't learn from."
Mikles couldn't agree more, it's just that she has a knack for learning from just about everyone.
"In my art classes it's a symbiotic relationship," she says. "Adult students are like sponges, they can't wait to get it and I can't wait to give it to them. Art is something we explore together."
For Barb Davis, a writer and English professor, words come easy when explaining how Mikles helped to inspire a literary artist to transform, albeit briefly, into a visual one.
"I carried this picture of a 4,000 year old Fresco in my purse; it was an idea I had in my head for years," Davis explains. "I don't draw, I don't paint, but I wanted to tackle this one project."
In this case, Davis' light bulb was grasped firmly in hand, she just didn't know how to turn it on.
"Patty said, 'just do it, I'll help you,' and she did," says Davis. "She's a genius."
By enrolling in an advanced projects class at the Yavapai College Verde Valley Campus, Davis created her own individual education plan (IEP) and with Mikles' encouragement and guidance, and her own research, practice and tenacity, an authentic Fresco mural at her home in Clarkdale was born.
"Patty provided materials, taught me how to find solutions, she helped me overcome the fear of putting pencil to paper," says Davis. "She was there every step of the way showing me how to develop my skills, motivating and encouraging, cajoling me to overcome my fear."
"That's the beauty of a community college because I have the time to spend with each person as they evolve as an artist," says Mikles. "My job is to meet each student where they are."
But sometimes instead of the classroom or the studio, some artists find themselves at the grocery store, cleaning their kitchen, or just working in their 9 to 5 jobs to make a living. They may buy paint, canvases, and brushes, but resources like time seem to always be in short supply.
"Unfortunately, there are a lot of gifted artists who are not motivated to paint," says Mikles. "I used to be one of those people who couldn't move the things in my life away long enough to do my art."
So along with accomplished artists such as Jaaskelainen and beginners like Davis, there's also room in Yavapai College art classes for students who just need a bit of disciplined class time to make space for their creative selves to flourish.
And that, says Mikles, is part of the reason she's still at the front of the class and recently was honored with the "Best of Show" from NAWS.
"I've spent many years in the classroom and my students inspire me," she explains. "Every new school year we create a community of artists inside the classroom. For me, it's exciting to meet new students, see old friends, develop new resources, and discover new techniques and avenues of expression. I love my job!"
Mikles Art Classes this fall
Semester begins Aug. 24
Register at www.yc.eu
Oil/Acrylic Painting I & II (ART 190 & 191)
Painting I: Study and experiment with painting techniques used by modern and old masters. Emphasis on personal creativity and uniqueness of expression. Prerequisite: Drawing I. Sections 30514 and 30544. 9:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Mondays & Wednesdays.
Watercolor Painting I & II (ART 194 & 195)
Watercolor I: Explore the transparent qualities of watercolor medium. Techniques and materials stimulate personal creativity and uniqueness of expression. Prerequisite: Drawing I. Sections 30547 and 30549.
2-4:45 p.m., Tuesdays & Thursdays.
Two-Dimensional Design (ART 112). A foundation course for all art studies, this course provides an introduction to visual language and basic compositional principles and elements. Section 31315, 2-4:45 p.m., Mondays & Wednesdays.
Mikles Art Workshops this fall
Small Handmade Books (ART 198) $58 Online!
Perfecting Your Portfolio (ART 198) $58 Online!
Painting on Silk (ART 198) $58 - Four Weeks
Watercolor Effects in Acrylic Paint (ART 198) $58 - Four Weeks