At any given time, art students are likely to be found huddled over canvases or sketch pads in Charlene Montgomery's Winfield home.
Montgomery's passion is art, and she has spent the past five years passing her love along through Ms. Charlene's School of Art.
"I enjoy teaching," Montgomery said. "I really love it."
Montgomery teaches 11 classes a week to as many as five students each in the yellow plantation home off Cobbham Road.
"I teach all ages, from 6 to 76, anybody that wants to take (art)," Montgomery said, adding she works in several media, including pencil, charcoal, pastels and watercolor, oil and acrylic paint.
Montgomery's rise to an art school organizer and teacher was not something she planned. She's loved and practiced art since age 8 and took art all through school but never earned an art degree.
"I've got 30-something years of experience," said Montgomery, who uses most of the media for her own work. "And a God-given gift of teaching."
The teaching started five years ago, when Montgomery began teaching art to her three home-schooled children. Others wanted to join. Three years later, she had a full schedule of classes.
"It exploded in one year," Montgomery said. "All of a sudden, I can't teach any more kids."
While adding detail to a mountain scene in oil she was creating from a photo, Virginia White, an adult student from Thomson, said it is obvious Montgomery loves to teach.
White is one of several students who took prizes in the Richmond County and Columbia County fairs. She won one of four Best in Show awards in Columbia County for a watercolor painting of a daffodil field and wagon.
Hailey Padgett, a 12-year-old student of five years, also took a Best in Show award in Columbia County, for a pastel work of a ghost ship.
"I was so tickled," Montgomery said.
White said she's taken lessons from Montgomery for three years and began as a novice after she broke her leg and was looking for a way to stay active.
"It was good therapy," White said. "You are never too old to start."
Montgomery agreed, saying that as long as she can teach her students to see everyday things differently by paying more attention to them, their colors and textures, she can teach them to paint or draw what they see.
"I always tell my people I can teach you to do it, if I can teach you to see it," Montgomery said.
White said that since starting classes, she sees things from a different perspective.
"I caught myself driving and I was watching the clouds," White said.
None of Montgomery's classes is strictly one medium or subject.
One teenage student might be working on a pastel drawing of a cat, while two other adult students are plodding along on totally different oil works.
"I teach on an individual basis," Montgomery said, "one on one. I can get one going and move on to another one and get them going.''
Montgomery said watching her young students develop their skills is always interesting.
"I love to see their skills accelerate," Montgomery said. "All of a sudden, the difference is night and day."
Montgomery said she has a few spots available in her classes. For more information, contact her at 541-2112 or Ladypastel60@comcast.net.
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