Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Art By Chance, Art By Choice

As published in the Citizen-Record newspaper, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, by Sara Jewell.

Louise Cloutier and the Maude Lewis inspired door at 126 King Street, Pugwash.

Most artists love what they do so much, whether it’s painting or sculpting or writing or rug hooking, and have amassed so much information over the years that they are compelled to share their experience and enthusiasm with others.
When an artist has just retired after 35 years of teaching art to high school students, that desire to teach doesn’t go away; it simply moves into a new creative space.

“This had always been my intention,” says Louise Cloutier as she pours hot water into a tea pot. We’re sitting in the kitchen space of an old house in Pugwash, a space she now calls her demonstration room. The house on King Street is owned by her partner, Richard.
“When I graduated from McGill in 1980 and launched into my teaching career,” Louise continues, “I knew that when I retired, I would like to do something like this.”
Of course, she had no idea she would end up with a studio in a house christened “ArtQuarters” when she moved to Nova Scotia twenty-five years ago.  
“When I bought my four-acre property on Kolbec Road, it had been my intention to turn the land towards the river into an artists’ retreat, with cabins or tents on platforms. I realized I didn’t want to spend all my time washing sheets. I thought about renting a venue but the cost... after all, I don’t know how successful this is going to be.”
As late afternoon sunshine slants across the blue-green painted floor at 126 King Street, Louise smiles.
“This was under my nose the entire five years I’ve been with Richard!”
This old house has fulfilled Louise’s long-time dream of having her own space for teaching art to those aged nine and older.
“This is not a gallery; it’s an educational facility,” she says. “People will come here for instruction. What will go on the walls are examples for the subjects I’ll be teaching, such as portraiture.”

With classes beginning next week, Louise hopes to attract not only retirees but anyone who wants to learn to draw and paint. Right now, she’s offering two morning classes, a Monday evening class (which is still has space available), and after school classes. More information is available on Louise’s Facebook page, ArtQuarters Pugwash

Donna O’Connell of Pugwash Point walks through the door, ready to sign up for the full twelve-week course.
“I have no talent,” she laughs as she hands over her money.
Louise assures her that doesn’t matter. With 35 years of teaching art to teenagers behind her, Louise is very confident she can teach art to anyone.
“I can guarantee anyone who walks in here will walk out with a greater sense of self-esteem and achievement because they won’t walk away discouraged; they will learn something here. They’re going to be surprised by what they come away with.”
There is a long pause.
“I said that was a guarantee, didn’t I?” she laughs.

Louise and Charlotte Fresia discuss upcoming classes in the demonstration room.

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