Students of local artist paint an impression in Grace Campbell gallery

Artist Christina Thoen speaks at the opening reception for the gallery of her students' work on May 30. A recreation of a famous piece called 'Red Boats' by all of her students hangs on the wall behind her. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“It’s a humbling experience being able to have the art viewed at a venue like this and be able to show other people what we can do.”

– Kevin Siemens, 10-year student of Christina Thoen

A new show in the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library’s Grace Campbell gallery encompasses the diverse styles and talents of Prince Albert artists.

There wasn’t much empty space at the show’s opening reception on Thursday evening.

It displays dozens of pieces by students taking classes from Christina Thoen, ranging from small pencil sketches to a huge painting collectively created by each and every student.

The painting is a recreation of Claude Monet’s Red Boats. Thoen sells a limited number of $100 tickets and draws for who gets to take it home.

Thoen was emotional making a speech when she spoke about her previous job teaching in a school.

“I remember at the end of the year, I’d be in the staff room and I would be crying because I wouldn’t see those children. I’d see them on the playground, but that was it,” she said. “Being part of someone’s learning for one year isn’t enough. It’s not enough for me.”

Artist Christina Thoen gives one of her students a hug at the opening reception of their art gallery on May 30. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald

The gallery emphasizes the work of artists who have been under Thoen’s guidance for 10 years.

Kevin Siemens is one of them. His art displayed in the gallery includes portraits, animals and landscapes.

“It’s a humbling experience being able to have the art viewed at a venue like this and be able to show other people what we can do and hopefully it inspires those around me,” he said.

When he started classes with Thoen at 15 years old, he said tried to draw all at once.

“It’s a process,” said Siemens. “She really taught me that you look at something and then you just do it gradually, so one point starting at the top of a tree and then you go to the end of the branch and then you just kind of build from there.”

Thoen emphasized this idea in her opening speech, saying she always reminds her students that the Mona Lisa took 13 years to complete.

“I believe everyone is an artist. Salvador Dali said everything is either easy or impossible. Guess what art is? Easy. Is it hard? No, just hard work, so it just means you need time.”

She said the crucial point in a person’s life to start drawing is between the ages of eight and 12. When you get into your teenage years, it gets harder to start.

“I can’t imagine how many people have taken their artistic talent to their grave and never ever knew what they could do,” said Thoen.

Her students range from eight years old to adults.

The artwork is on display at the library from May 31 until June 25.

For more information on Christina’s Framing, Gallery & Art School, call (306) 764-7200 or visit www.christinathoen.com.