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Cocktail & Canvas instructor says artists have got to ‘trust the process’

Born to a family of engravers, writers, painters and actors, Laurie McCaslin admits she was “the kid who drew on the walls.”

She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Oregon State University in 1987, where in addition to studying art history, she demonstrated notable proficiency in drawing, sculpture, and of course, painting (oils, acrylic, and watercolor).

Her passion is painting “plein air” watercolor landscapes, leaving the four walls of her studio behind to paint and draw outdoors.

Her most regular gig these days is “Cocktails &Canvas,” which she describes as a paint-and-sip experience which is fun art — as opposed to fine art. McCaslin conducted her first C&C events at Nevada Treasure RV Resort back in 2017, and now she supports the Pahrump Senior Center by conducting the events there one Saturday each month.

She donates a percentage of her class monies back to the center and explained a bit about the class.

“I love the alliteration of the title ‘Cocktails &Canvas’ – but you don’t have to drink alcohol. Bring a bottle of water or coffee or something for yourself,” McCaslin said.

Her mother Gayle helps assist by providing munchies for the class.

“All of the designs are 100% mine. I do study current trends and look at popular designs from which to create my own.” She brings a completed painting or two to the class to demonstrate, then creates a third from blank canvas on the spot over the three-hour time frame. She shows her students step by step exactly how to achieve their own unique completed masterpiece.

The cost of $25 per student is payable at the door, and includes all supplies and tools necessary to complete the project: blocked canvas or board, brushes, sponges, pencils, stencils, chalk, tools, and palettes loaded with the necessary acrylic paint colors to complete the project.

On Saturday, Jan. 14, McCaslin guided 27 students in painting her design “Northern Lights.”

Reservations can be made for her upcoming Cocktails &Canvas classes on Feb. 11, March 11, April 22, May 20 and June 10. Text or call McCaslin at 775-209-6200.

McCaslin also helps create the live theater backdrops for the Shadow Mountain Community Players, a group which her parents, Carlton and Gayle McCaslin, established here in Pahrump 20 years ago. She belongs to Pahrump Artists and Artisans, whom she describes as an “informal group of artists of all disciplines who get together monthly to help and support each other.” She has been a longtime committee member for the Pahrump Wild West Extravaganza, where the Shadow Mountain Community Players melodramas were first performed.

McCaslin understands her students, and their desire to make their painting really, really good. She frequently reassured her artists at the senior center on Saturday with, “trust the process,” particularly the tentative ones, she says.

Email writer Faye Burdzinski at fburdzinski@pvtimes.com

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