Students find instruction, inspiration in art class

Photos by Karl Weisel/USAG Wiesbaden Family and MWR
Instructor Claudia Pauli-Bach shows a student various techniques for applying watercolors during a class at the Wiesbaden Arts and Crafts Center.


Imagine a well-lit place where laid back music fills the air and artists share experiences while conjuring up whimsical images on canvas.

Drop into the Wiesbaden Arts and Crafts Center on Tuesdays or Saturdays to discover that and inspiring guidance during regularly offered art classes with professional artist Claudia Pauli-Bach.

“We start with the simplest elements – landscapes, still-lifes, portraits. One needn’t hesitate to join us whether a beginner or more advanced,” said Pauli-Bach, who studied art and costume design in Italy, taught art in Argentina and has worked as a commercial artist.

“We begin with drawings,” she said, explaining that students are introduced to watercolor and then led to fine aquarelle and other media while focusing on various techniques.

Warrant Officer 1 Joshua Campbell paints a portrait of three friends during a Saturday art class at the center.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Warrant Officer 1 Joshua Campbell, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment. “Claudia makes it very relaxing with the music, cookies; she makes it fun.

“I’m learning more than I can retain,” Campbell said, explaining that the class is his first formal art instruction since middle school. “I’ve never drawn in a public forum. Here you actually learn from others and have a formal teacher. There is only so much you can learn from books.

“I never thought I’d be doing watercolors,” Campbell said, as he added color to an eye-catching portrait of three friends. She (Claudia) has been helping me learn how to interpret an image, to find my own depiction rather than simply copying it.”

“I was always interested in drawing,” said Desiree Boger, a fellow art class participant, who said she was already experimenting in kindergarten.

Influenced by Japanese animated movies, Boger said she expanded her art horizons while participating in middle school art club. While studying engineering in college, she continued to embellish her hobby with a host of doodles set among her engineering notes.

“I wasn’t dedicated to doing art,” before this class, she explained. “I’ve been here for two years (serving as a civilian employee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District) and started art class in April. I’m basically working with different techniques that I’m not used to. I’m still in that phase of learning where I hope to identify my particular style.

“This is great,” she added, “having a dedicated time to work on a hobby.”

“Everyone is open and positive,” said Carmen Gallup, who started taking art classes as a way to do something together with her daughter, Hannah, adding, “and she really loves it.

“I wanted to draw more than stick figures,” Gallup said. “Here you get to see different techniques, which is really cool.”

Hannah, age 12, who said she has a preference for watercolors, added that she appreciates having the opportunity to paint whatever she likes. “I Google stuff, and if I like it, I try to draw or paint it.”

“We have all the materials you’ll need to get started,” said the instructor, adding that people are always welcome to bring in their own music to share with the group.

“If anyone would like to try out the class, they can come for free as a test class,” she added.

Two-hour sessions are offered on Tuesdays between 1:15 and 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 2:30 p.m., so that those who can’t attend during working hours have the option of a weekend class date. Pauli-Bach said that in the past she has welcomed students to her Tuesday class – starting as late as 3:30 p.m.

“Give it a shot – dive right into it,” encouraged Campbell. “It’s certainly a challenge to go for that first class, but once you do you’ll find that it’s very satisfying.”

The accomplished art teacher also hosts a monthly Canvas and Corkscrews event at the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center – a chance for adults to create art in a relaxed setting while enjoying their favorite beverages and good company.

For more information on the art classes or Canvas and Corkscrews, stop by the Wiesbaden Arts and Crafts Center in Bldg. 1214 on Clay Kaserne, call (0611) 143-548-9838 or visit wiesbaden.armymwr.com.