Antioch artist Barbara Wagner explains the Rooster project, an upcoming class topic slated for two sessions in April. Inset: Wagner also does Swedish and Norwegian folk art. (Photo by Gail Peckler-Dziki)

By Gail Peckler-Dziki


“Its not about natural talent,” Barbara Wagner explained, “its about showing someone how to get form point A top point B. And when that person looks at his or her work and realizes what they have accomplished, it’s a great reward for me.”

The Wooden Canvas is Barbara’s teaching studio, located in the downstairs of her Antioch home.

Wagner’s mother was a watercolor artist and student and made sure her daughter was exposed to art as a child. Barbara started out with private lessons in oils and acrylic.

She studied business and theology in college, but continued with her art. She is self-taught through books and has attended many seminars with different teachers all over the United States.

There is a maximum of 10 students for each class. “I try to keep the fees affordable, since I have quite a few students who are seniors on fixed incomes,” Wagner said.

It takes three to four weeks to complete a project with three or four three-hour sessions. Some classes are one Saturday and lunch is included. Look around the walls of her studio and you see a recent history of class projects. Wagner takes time to plan for each project. “I find a subject and picture and create a painting that is the example for class.”

“As I draw and paint,” she explained, “I look for points there my students might nee a little extra instruction. When I’m done and ready to teach the class, I have a packet of information for each student. It includes written instructions, a transferable line drawing and a color chart.”

Included in the class line-up are fine arts and folk painting. Twice a year, Wagner holds Mater studies painting. “I like to teach works by painters like Chardin to teach those types of techniques.”


Start with the basics

Skills content of classes include drawing, composition, color theory and oil and acrylic painting. “I like to give my students a solid foundation in brush control and understating paints a mediums to create different effects,” she explained.

Wagner has given private lessons to high school students who need that something extra. “When they come home from college in the summer,” she said, “some continue their work by coming my group classes.”

Some students have continued with class as they tackled life’s hurdles. “They come for three hours and forget their troubles while they accomplish something positive,” Barbara said.

“They find their creative side and feel good about their accomplishment when they are done.”

For more information, to receive a list of classes, directions and fees, call Wagner at (847) 767-1202.

To see her work, visit her kiosks at The Cottage Gift Shoppe at 38500 N. Highway 45 in Millburn, or Benson Corners Antiques at Highways 45 and 50 in Bristol




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