“I’ve always been around art and artists, but I never seriously explored creating art until I retired,” noted Theresa Poalucci. “My mom was an artist, so I did learn about art as a child. I painted for fun and gave things away to family and friends. I never sold my creations.
“My mom also sculpted and my youngest daughter won awards for her sculptures. So, when I retired, I decided to learn to sculpt,” she explained. “That was seven or eight years ago when we moved from north of Seattle to SaddleBrooke. I joined the Southern Arizona Clay Artists. I took some classes and was meeting lots of clay artists. I really enjoyed meeting people who were passionate about creating things.”
Poalucci got involved with the organization and served in leadership positions. “I had all this work. Some members were showing their things at a gallery in Casa Adobe Plaza run by the Southern Arizona Arts Guild. I ended up showing my clay work at the SAAG gallery and learning a lot about galleries and how to show my work. Everyone was so supportive,” she pointed out.
Then she began painting again. Once again, the results were piling up. “I decided that my goal was to get my work placed in six galleries,” she laughed as she went on to explain that half way through the effort, she figured out showing work in that six galleries was too much.
“Out of my previous experience I also learned that I loved teaching—especially teaching beginners,” Poalucci noted. “I love the idea of connecting people with art, of showing them the tools we use and how to apply them. One of my favorite classes to teach is working with alcohol inks. It requires no drawing skills. The results are abstract and the ink does most of the work. The secret is working with YUPO paper, which has a nonporous surface.
“Alcohol inks are highly pigmented inks suspended in alcohol. They dry very quickly and sit on top of the paper. Because YUPO is nonporous, you can simply wipe away something that doesn’t work,” Poalucci explained. “My favorite part of teaching is helping students gain confidence as they see their success. It’s very fulfilling to make something with your own hands and be able to proudly display it.
“Art, like many other activities, can be intimidating to the beginner,” Poalucci added. “I suggest everyone find a way to be creative and gain confidence with their work. Taking classes is a good way to begin. It doesn’t matter what kind of class—just be open to learning. Take a class in some kind of art you like and are drawn toward. If you like it, join an arts group. You’ll be around other artists and you’ll learn about other opportunities from them.
“Pretty soon, you’ll find out that you are spending a morning or afternoon every week with like-minded people, creating art together,” she added. “It doesn’t matter if you are a hobbyist or a serious artist, just do it because you enjoy it!”
To find a class, visit the guild’s website at saddlebrookefienarts.org.