Oil painting 1: Precinct 4 Art Instructor Anne Vandagriff teaches watercolor and oil painting every Monday at Big Stone Lodge.
Oil painting 2: Precinct 4 Art Instructor Anne Vandagriff refines a painting during class.
Oil painting 3: Jean Butts and Maude Lestingi sketch ideas on paper before refining their designs and transferring to canvas for painting.
Oil painting 4: Klein resident Sharon Cody attends her first painting class at Big Stone Lodge after reading about the classes in Precinct 4’s Update newsletter.
As an art instructor, Anne Vandagriff prides herself on transforming students who claim they can’t draw into legitimate artists. But one of her biggest successes was helping a student with limited use of her hand become a portrait artist.
Now, Vandagriff insists that anyone with the desire to learn can become an artist.
“Most people start coming to class just for fun, not expecting to be any good. They tell me they can’t even draw a straight line,” she said. “But I can make good artists out of them.”
For the past 10 years, Vandagriff has taught oil and watercolor painting at Harris County Precinct 4 community centers. Last year, she began teaching at a new Precinct 4 location, offering free watercolor painting classes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and oil painting classes from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to adults over 18 every Monday in the activity building of Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park.
Since moving to the new location, she’s developed a loyal following of adult students who say they enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and small class size.
“I heard about this class through word-of-mouth a few months ago,” said Carmen Tabor. “I’ve taken a lot of art classes as an adult, and she’s actually a good instructor and artist. It’s rare to find someone that’s good at both.”
Students create their own art during class, using a variety of mediums, including pen and ink, pencils, and charcoal. For inspiration, students often turn to magazines in the back of the classroom, full of interesting patterns and colors.
“One of the worst things a teacher can do is discourage their students,” she said. “It’s amazing how much talent is in all these people. You just have to bring it out of them.”
Vandagriff has been painting professionally since the 60s when she sold her first painting. In the 50 years since then, Vandagriff has sold hundreds more and has painted portraits and murals from Alaska to Mexico City.
“I’ve always loved to paint and draw, so that came naturally to me,” she said. “But it was especially thrilling to sell my first painting because that’s when I knew that I had made it as an artist.”
Some of her achievements include serving four years as the president of Kingwood Art Society and two years as president of the Lone Star Art Guild, as well as organizing a professional art sale in Kingwood.
Big Stone Lodge’s free intergenerational programs are part of Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle’s educational and recreational commitment to Harris County residents. Big Stone Lodge is located in Dennis Johnston Park at 709 Riley Fuzzel Road, Spring 77373. Center hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information regarding classes or other Center programs, please call 281-350-1029 or visitwww.hcp4.net/ccenters.
Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages, regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or physical ability. Anyone requiring special assistance to participate in any program should contact Big Stone Lodge. An adult must accompany children under the age of 18. Childcare is not provided at any Precinct 4 facility and children are not allowed in classes in which they are not eligible to participate. Class sizes are limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.