SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild

Norwegian Rosemaling blends colors and detailed lines in floral arrangements.

Register Now for April Art Classes

Connie Kotke, Publicity Chair

Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that participating in the arts may improve the health, wellbeing, and independence of older adults. Do your part by registering now for one or more art classes sponsored by the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild! All classes are conveniently located in the Topaz Room at the Arts and Crafts Center adjacent to the MountainView Country Club.

Visit the guild’s website at for more information on these classes starting in April:

Picasso Portraits with Robbie Summers: Wednesday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. After studying how Picasso rearranged the features of the face, you will assemble various facial portraits before creating your very own Picasso masterpiece.

Norwegian Rosemaling with Connie Kotke: Wednesday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Rosemaling is a decorative art that originated in Norway during the 1800s. This class is for beginners. Using oil paints, you’ll learn basic design elements, color palettes, and brush strokes to decorate a flat, wooden Easter egg just in time for the holiday.

Drawing in Colored Pencil with Laurie Brussel: Tuesdays, April 19 through May 10, 9 a.m. to noon. Colored pencil is a very impressive, sensitive medium. When used properly, the colors become luminescent. You’ll learn to get the most valued results while understanding color theory and composition.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for one or both of our upcoming outreach events:

* Art & Wine on Wednesday, March 30, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. This is a fun fundraising event with proceeds donated to the Pinal County K-9 Corps.

* Art Sampler (formerly called I Can’t Draw a Stick Figure) on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come explore a variety of mediums—especially if you think you don’t have any artistic talent.

Registration forms and more information are available on our website, or simply hover your phone’s camera on the QR code.

Dona Ferry shows a recently created work. She said it was inspired by the time she dropped her umbrella while holding an armload of books, and the umbrella filled with water. (Photo by LaVerne Kyriss)

Longtime Science Teacher Becomes Art Student

LaVerne Kyriss

Dona Ferry spent her working life as a teacher, first with high school science students, and later owning an adult learning center, exploring more spiritual topics. She and her husband also took care of their moms, who both lived to be centenarians. From Connecticut, the Ferrys were looking to move to warmer climes in retirement but weren’t sold on any East Coast locales. When Dona’s nephew moved to Tucson with Roche, they decided to visit in 2017. They built a home in SaddleBrooke in 2018 and moved in May 2019.

Ferry, who’d never explored art as a pastime, was excited to take some of the classes offered by the SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild. “I always wanted to do some kind of art. I would have majored in it in college, but I didn’t know how to turn that into a career. I’m always up to the challenge of learning new things, and there are so many opportunities to learn here.”

“I started with drawing and painting sessions with Laurie Brussel. This got me started painting,” she said. “I knew how to see details, and I always look for beauty. Then the pandemic hit. While I wasn’t taking classes, I continued to practice painting. I completed more than 30 works,” she laughed. “Some of them I just painted over a previous canvas, but I could see that my work was getting better, and it was very therapeutic. Painting is so soothing for me. It’s almost meditative. I never focus on the outcome. I just enjoy the process.”

Ferry recently started classes with the guild again, this time exploring beginning watercolor with Karen Brungardt. “Watercolor makes your brain think in a whole new way. You really have to think about what you want to achieve while you’re creating it,” she explained. “I’m also drawn to more abstract and impressionistic work. I love splashes of color and often find it difficult to stay inside the lines,” she confessed. “I tend to create and blend ideas, using things I see and things I imagine.”

Ferry noted that she always used art and music in teaching, so exploring this creative area feels very comfortable. She believes techniques are useful to learn so you can be creative and enjoy life, and classes are an excellent way to get that grounding.

She suggested that aspiring artists ask themselves why they want to do art and to be realistic in their goals. She further cautions, “Don’t compare yourself to others. Do art, or whatever, for yourself. Don’t judge your first efforts. Learn to see from your heart. Learn some skills and be open to new experiences.”

“Take some drawing training so you learn about perspective,” Ferry added. “Don’t be afraid of failure. Practice mixing colors and try painting from a limited palette. Don’t get too fussy and detailed in your first pieces. Try to stay simple and focus on just one element when you’re beginning. Above all, have fun.”

For details about Guild classes and other activities, visit their website at

Art Sampler Class Set for April 9

Connie Kotke

The SaddleBrooke Fine Arts Guild is pleased to announce its newly named Art Sampler class on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Topaz Room in the Arts and Crafts Center at MountainView Country Club. The class time includes one hour for lunch on your own.

This popular class was formerly called I Can’t Draw a Stick Figure, but you’ll learn much more than how to draw. With guidance from experienced artists, you’ll dabble in a variety of mediums, including watercolors, pastels, alcohol inks, and more. You’ll take home a variety of completed projects to share with friends and family.

Come explore with us, especially if you think you don’t have any artistic talent. This is a comfortable, relaxed, and fun environment with no pressure to perform. This class is uniquely designed for those who think they can’t become an artist. We’ll show you how! It’s also a great way for practicing artists to explore other mediums without investing in new supplies.

To register for the class, click on Art Sampler on the homepage of our website, The fee is $25 per person, which includes all supplies. If you have any questions, contact Karen Brungardt at [email protected].