Children as young as 5 and adults as old as they want to be can learn the drawing and painting techniques of old masters at the new Art School Santa Fe at The Lofts, 3600 Cerrillos Road.
Artist and art teacher Ronny Beeman believes the art fundamentals of light, shadows and shapes pioneered by the likes of Rembrandt, Vermeer and Monet give the basic beginner or more advanced artist the tools to draw and paint in any style desired.
“This is learning techniques in a really fun way,” Beeman said.
Beeman, 48, opened the 300-square-foot space with a 22-foot ceiling in August. The art school allows Beeman to give students one-on-one attention that has eluded her for five years as art teacher at Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences.
“This is something for kids that can’t play baseball, something for kids that can’t dance,” Beeman said. “The first thing I notice is their confidence changes. ‘Now I can do something a lot of other kids can’t do.’ That confidence spills over into math and language arts. With adults, people are looking to grow and learn and do something relaxing.”
Beeman has youth classes for ages 5 to 14 on late afternoons Monday, Wednesday and Friday and late morning classes on Saturday. Adult classes meet Thursday evening, and one Wednesday class has adults and children together.
All skill levels meet in the same class, and Beeman gives individualized attention in the 65-minute classes for children and 90-minute classes for adults. Cost is $30 per class for children or $109 for a month, and $40 per class or $174 a month for adults.
Beeman fits her Art School Santa Fe classes around her Santa Fe School for the Arts & Sciences schedule.
“I love working at the school [for arts and science],” she said. “What is lacking for me, I am working with really large groups. I don’t get to hone in on what each child really needs. I have to find the middle. I want to find a way to reach children at their own learning levels. Here I can match the skill set.”
Beeman bases her teaching on the old masters because that’s what she studied at Larry Gluck’s Mission: Renaissance Fine Art Studios in Los Angeles. She paints with watercolors and oils.
“People who come in are passionate about art and really want to develop a strong skill set and learn the fundamentals of art that were taught and used by master artists,” she said. “It starts by [understanding] the concepts of light and dark. It’s all about how shadows fall. The best artists are master drawers. If you can’t draw, forget about painting.”
Beeman and her husband, Gray, moved to Santa Fe from Seattle five years ago. They followed family here.
“Every time we would come and visit, I was amazed by the beauty here,” she said. “Let’s go somewhere where there is more sun, beautiful blue sky and beautiful landscapes. It’s why so many artists are drawn to Santa Fe.”
Beeman has thought about opening an art school since her early 20s and was going to do it sooner, but the pandemic delayed her plans.
“I’m not going to do it now,” she said she was been thinking for the past year. “Basically, I’m standing at a precipice, and then my husband pushed me. He said, ‘This is something you love, something you’re good at, something that Santa Fe needs.’ ”
Beeman has six art benches. For now, she takes in five to six kids per class and four adults.
What her art school doesn’t have in square footage, it makes up for vertically with the 22-foot ceiling and high windows.
“It gives me so much more room to hang my students’ artwork,” Beeman said.