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Campbell Art Studio Student Show

James among Campbell Studio exhibitors

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (September 2004) – Denise James took an art class at the Campbell Art Studio in La Grange to broaden her concept of the basics of art. What she took home from the experience was a deeper appreciation for art and a sense of belonging.

Denise Jones

Photos by Helen E. McKinney


Denise James poses with an oil
painting of a flower; below is another
piece she did of the Red River Gorge.

Students in Angie Campbell’s art classes forge friendships and remain a close-knit group, many taking additional classes under Campbell’s tutelage. James said the classes contain a wide variety of students, many of whom participate in the annual Campbell Studio Student Art Show. The show is in its eighth year, and works are displayed on the second floor of the Oldham County History Center’s Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, 106 N. Second Ave.
James’ oil paintings will be among the artwork on exhibit from Sept. 9 to Oct. 9. An opening reception will be held at the History Center from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 11. History Center executive director Nancy Theiss said she has planned “A Taste of La Grange” for the evening. Theiss said that attendees can purchase a ticket for $20 and enjoy an appetizer or salad at Red Pepper Deli or Hot Dog Heaven, an entrée at Uncle Joe’s, the Garden Party or Irish Rover, and dessert at Trackside, Karen’s Book Barn or Simple Pleasures.
James became interested in painting when she decided to create a backdrop for her model train display. “I wanted to mix colors for a backdrop” but didn’t know how, she said. James said the inexpensive classes provided three hours a week of downtime for her.
While she doesn’t paint at home, James finds the art classes to be relaxing and therapeutic. Different students are often involved with different artistic clubs, and expand their talents and knowledge in taking additional classes in different mediums. James said she and class members recently participated in a pencil class in Rising Sun, Ind. although she primarily works in oil on canvas.
“Oil is very forgiving,” said James. That is why she prefers it to other mediums. “If you make a mistake, you can cover it up.”
The Student Art Show is a lot of fun, said James. “It’s fun to see what the other students have done.”
Campbell said the show is rewarding for her students and is a way to “give them a pat on the back” for their accomplishments. She said it also helps the public to know about the group and spreads the word that wonderful artwork is being created locally.
The History Center was chosen to hang the artwork because of its proximity to the Campbell Art Studio, housed in a 120-year-old building on East Main Street in La Grange. Campbell said the History Center provides “a wonderful gallery in the heart of La Grange.”

Oldham County Singers

Photos by Helen E. McKinney


Red River Gorge painting
by Denise James.

The exhibit should average 20 artists who are limited to entering two artworks in two different categories: original and copy. Ribbons are awarded for first through third place in each category, and a local artist will choose the winning artwork.
James was awarded a third place ribbon in last year’s original category for her painting of a landscape scene from the Red River Gorge. James said she knew she had succeeded in transferring this image onto canvas when a friend immediately recognized her painting as an actual scene from the Red River Gorge.
James said that Campbell is a phenomenal artist herself and encourages her student’s “to paint what they see.” Many of the students began taking classes with Campbell a decade ago when she opened her studio.
“Many have never picked up a brush” before coming to her classes, said Campbell. She instructs them in the basics of painting, how to mix colors and apply the paint to canvas.
Her student’s accolades are not confined to the county. Six were entered in last year’s Kentucky State Fair, with four of them earning blue ribbons. Three of her students had booths at this year’s Arts on the Green art show in La Grange.


• Reception tickets can be purchased at the History Center in advance for $20 by calling (502) 222-0826, or call Campbell at her studio for more information at (502) 222-1698.

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