Elaine Farmer’s interest in art started when she was 12 years old and she has been enjoying her craft since. Opening her studio in the basement of her Londonderry home, Farmer has been teaching children and adults in the area for the last 12 years.
White Birch Fine Arts offers five classes of arts for adults and children, each with four week sessions. Class size is a maximum of 6 students and range from those that have never done art to skilled artists. Adult classes are structured so that each student works on their own project depending on skills and interest. “They can get out of what they want to get out of it,” Farmer stated. She also expressed that, lately, “I’ve had more very first beginners, I-need-a-hobby type.”
Farmer believes that children should start at the 3rd grade level. “You want them to explore on their own and develop creativity before giving them structure in art. You want them to have basic knowledge of measuring and math because it is used in art.” She also believes that younger, new artists can’t take critiquing as well and need simple comments and instructions.
In the children’s classes, grades 3 through 5, grades 5 through 7, and grades 7 through 9 are grouped together. The overlap allows more flexibility for the students. Farmer is especially excited now that former student and artist Steve Sullivan, who retired from the Peace Corps, teaches two of the children’s classes for her.
Recently, Farmer started a new art venue with her partner Sherry Burnett called Art Parties. The concept is to create a painting in 2 hours, drink, eat, be merry and have fun with people and a product in the end. The duo brings the supplies, easels, canvas and paint and provides a step-by-step demo of how to paint a specific picture, while the hostess provides the food and drinks.
Burnett and Farmer launched their first party on August 3rd. For $35.00 per person, anybody that has never picked up a paintbrush can have a fun filled evening with family and friends. The benefit of hosting is that the hostess can pick the image. The team can bring the party to the hosts’ home for up to 24 people or can host up to 12 people in the studio. This is a great idea for birthday parties, special events, family reunions, or corporate team building. For more details check out their website.
Farmer’s art is well known throughout Londonderry. She has done breathtaking paintings of local landmarks, Italian scenes, and seascapes. Farmer is dedicated to her work; she does a study of the setting by taking photos so she can capture the colors and shapes on site. She then goes home and fills in the canvas using memory and pictures taken of the scene. Painting can take up to 40 hours complete.
Farmer is very active in a movement called En Plein Air art. “Everyone’s getting outside to study nature and get back to their roots,” she said. Farmer sells her painting at shows, and galleries throughout the US. She also sells online using Fine Art American, where prints of her work and the originals are both available.
Farmer says advertising her classes is unnecessary, since they fill quickly and usually have a waiting list. She supplies all materials for both children and adult classes. Adult classes last for two hours while children’s courses are an hour and a half. The studio also offers Saturday workshops all day starting at 10am until 4pm.
For more information about Elaine and the White Birch Fine Art Studio, visit them online.