Wednesday, January 27, 2021     Volume: 21, Issue: 47
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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on November 23rd, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 39

Local artist Jason Mayr continues painting and teaching through the pandemic

By GLEN STARKEY

Jason Mayr is an amazing painter whose images seem to glow from within. He also had what is arguably the best kind of art instruction, a six-year mentorship with a master painter, in this case Spanish impressionist Joseph Mendez. Understanding the importance of that kind of instruction, Mayr has been teaching one-on-one or small-group classes out of his studio for years. But like everything else, the pandemic forced Mayr to pivot and innovate.


Take a class
Find your inner sketch artist by joining Jason Mayr and the Mayr Studio Sketch Club on Facebook @MayrStudio every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 6:55 p.m. To learn more about his art and his teaching, visit jasonmayr.com.

HIDDEN DRAGON
This oil on canvas employs impasto technique for a 3D effect.
COURTESY IMAGE BY JASON MAYR

“I’ve been very fortunate,” he said via email. “About three years ago, I began making videos for my classes with the hope of taking them online ... so when the stay-at-home orders went out, I had a small foundation to build upon.  

“At this moment,” the artist continued, “we offer a course that meets six times online over four weeks. The first two weeks we do studies and the last two weeks we spend on a painting.”

Because painting is such a hands-on endeavor, you’d think online instruction would pale in comparison with person-to-person lessons, but Mayr found some silver linings. 

“To my and the students’ surprise, teaching online has proven much more effective and efficient for everyone,” he wrote. “One of my students said she got more in six weeks online than she had in the previous two years in person. 

“I am able to deliver the information with more clarity and efficiency over the computer than I can in person.” 


PAINT AND PRACTICE
Central Coast artist Jason Mayr continues to create stunning chiaroscuro paintings as well as teach students online.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JASON MAYR

He explained that the students do the work on their own time and then send in a digital photo. 

“I can work on their painting, showing and telling them what’s next and clarifying any misunderstandings,” Mayr continued. “And since I worked digitally on their painting, the painting itself is unaffected, so the student can then attempt to execute my suggestions.

“To our amazement, we’ve also been able to create a strong sense of community in the class even though it’s all virtual.”

For potential new students who don’t know if they want to commit to a month-long course, Mayr has a solution.

“The second program we’re currently offering is an online sketch club that’s free and available to anyone with internet access,” he said. “Every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday night at 6:55 p.m., we go live on our Facebook page, Mayr Studio. After a five minute introduction, we spend 20 minutes sketching—for fun. No experience necessary, and all ages welcome.”

If you go to Mayr’s website, you’ll see some of his students’ work, and it’s clear they come to him at various skill levels. Can he help anyone improve?


GANESH
Jason Mayr’s interest in Eastern philosophies comes through in this painting of the Hindu remover-of-obstacles god.
COURTESY IMAGE BY JASON MAYR

“Yes. There are students that have been with us over 10 years, and we have brand new students who have never painted,” he said. “I’ve found that it’s not a person’s skill or lack of skill that makes a good fit with our program. It’s more a matter of whether the person can be comfortable not knowing and being lost for short periods of time. 

“As our understanding shifts, we have to let go of the beliefs that we built on our old understanding, which leaves us lost. That lost period of time is necessary in order to move from the old assumptions to the new understanding. We’re always as supportive as we can be as a community, but each person must move through the not knowing themselves.”

Mayr shared that in this phase of his artistic career, he’s realized the importance of finding and making beauty in the world.

“In the past, I would worry if I was being ineffectual, spending my time in art while the world seemingly burned with other important issues and/or events. With time and a little maturity, I’ve come to believe that time spent in art is the most effectual thing I can do for myself and the world,” he wrote. 

“The best art is like north on the compass of our life—always pointing the way to beauty, even if you and everything around is in the dumps. It’s precisely then that it’s most important that you can see the direction to head back toward beauty.” 

Contact New Times Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.










Weekly Poll
Is the state being forthcoming enough with vaccine information?

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