“When one teaches, two learn.” – Robert Anson Heinlein
This week, we met Linda Wehrli, a lifelong artist, musician, and educator in Los Angeles. Hear her life story, how art gives her wings, and how giving back to the community became an essential part of her journey teaching art.
- Hi Linda, can you introduce yourself and tell us about the classes that you offer?
Hello! My name is Linda Wehrli.
I’m an art teacher based in Valley Glen, California.
I have the honor of sharing my joy and passion for drawing and painting with students of all ages and backgrounds.
My students are my inspiration. More than anything else, I care about helping them achieve their goals and delight their souls.
My personal mantra is from American novelist and science fiction writer, Robert Anson Heinlein: “When one teaches, two learn.”
I’ve been committed to continuing lifelong learning and inspiring creative thinking through drawing and painting since 1989. These are pastimes that will last a lifetime.
Drawing and painting courses in 10 different mediums are taught as private lessons in a small group setting. Students work at their own pace on their own projects in a pleasant non-competitive studio setting.
Over the past 25 years of teaching, I have developed a unique curriculum that helps students build skills, style and confidence with a solid foundation of basics. Classes are tailored to each student’s abilities and learning style. This is not “three circles make a snowman”. The Drawing with Graphite course offered on Verlocal is the prerequisite to all other courses.
- When did you first become interested/passionate in art?
The drawing bug bit me at age 5 and the painting bug at age 12. Formal training from art professors at California State University, Northridge and a variety of private art studios gave me roots. Master classes over the years give me wings. I continue to experiment and search out new ways to use and combine techniques and mediums and enjoy sharing my discoveries with my students.
- Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
Born and raised in Southern California, I’m constantly inspired by the beautiful vistas of local mountains, oceans and urban scenes along with the vibrant produce. The morning view from my cozy second floor home office, of tree tops, palm trees and blue skies, grounds me. The Studio City farmers market is my Happy Place. When visiting galleries and museums, I’m drawn to landscapes, seascapes, urban scenes and still life paintings.
Painting alone is fine for some, but I found I prefer the company of others. That inspired me to create a studio for like-minded art students.
- How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
Art is the foundation of a culture. Ancient civilizations are discovered through the art and artifacts left behind. I like to think that while my students are learning to draw and paint, I’m creating artists for our present and future culture.
I also believe in giving back to the community. Since 2003, I have been volunteering my time with CoachArt students. Their founder, Leah Bernthal (co-founder with Zander Lurie) came to me, interested in adding Pastimes For A Lifetime, to their teaching roster. The idea of offering solace and healing through art to sick children or their siblings was so right. CoachArt is very well organized. It’s a privilege to be a part of their art program for their kids.
- How long have you been living in Los Angeles? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I’ve lived in the San Fernando Valley for 43 years. The studio is a cottage located in Valley Glen, near L.A. Valley College. Los Angeles is a cluster of suberbs encircling a vibrant downtown. Each area has its own flavor. For someone who just moved here, find your favorite flavors and explore them in this great city.
- Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
Moving my studio from our small condominium living room to the Valley Glen cottage was a huge achievement. Designing the Zen garden and native gardens around the property gave my vision reality. Students are constantly thanking me for creating such a calm, creative space. I look forward to going to work each day.
Besides that, there have been numerous favorite moments or stories I have had between my students and me while teaching. Here are a few that come to mind:
My 80+ year old art student, Esty made it back to her art class less than two weeks after heart surgery. The first thing she said was, “I couldn’t wait to get back to painting.”
Students come in frazzled after a long day’s work and leave invigorated and inspired.
Some students take classes to improve their skills at work such as creating storyboards or design illustrations.
Some students enjoy classes with their child, building wonderful family memories.
In each case, I take the time to get to know each of my students, their goals and ability level and craft the curriculum accordingly.
- What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
I painted “Two Trees” as an anniversary present for my husband back in the late 1990s. The two trees in the foreground represent the two of us now. The trees in the background are us in the future. We’ve been married 23 years and look forward to being those two trees on the horizon for years to come.
- What are your goals for the future?
In the near future, I hope to open a small neighborhood student gallery and performing arts center where my students and those of other local art and music teachers may display their works and perform music and theater programs. Just need a passionate financier.
In the not to distant future, I plan to journey to places where my favorite artists lived and worked. I’d like to study drawing and painting there while exploring the towns. When the time is right, I’d like to design a study abroad course for my school. Stay tuned!
- Any recommendations to someone who wants to pursue their passion for a career?
Take business courses. Hire a CPA to help you set up your books. Find a marketing mentor. When ready, set up your website. Solid business admin allows you to focus on your passion.
- What does Verlocal mean to you?
Although I don’t quite remember how I found Verlocal, or they found me, I’m grateful I am part of their collective. Their host customer service is superb. The quality of clients that found me through Verlocal are top notch. Some have continued on as loyal students. It’s a perfect fit for my school.
All photos by Linda Wehrli
From 10/24-31, comment under this post and share with us: What gives you wings in your life?
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