The Artist Withint

Campbell inspires, students say

By Don Ward

LA GRANGE, Ky. – Angela Campbell has been painting since childhood. But it was not until she moved back to her native Kentucky a few years ago from Chicago that her landscape paintings took on a more personal meaning.

Angie Campbell

Photo by Don Ward

Art instructor Angie Campbell (right) demonstrates the proper technique
for student Stephanie McKinney
of Crestwood, Ky. Campbell holds
two sessions a week at her studio.

As she watched the farms around Oldham and Henry counties slowly turn into subdivisions and industrial parks, she set about to capture the fields on canvas before it was too late.
She’s still painting and has even taught dozens of new students the art of oils at her Campbell Studio in downtown La Grange, Ky. Twenty-four of those students will display their work from Nov. 6-19 at the Oldham County History Center as part of the Campbell Studio’s third annual art exhibit. An artists’ reception is planned from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 6. Campbell says the shows, which previously were held at Biscotty Bistro, allow students to show off their hard work and help build confidence.
Campbell has attracted a loyal following since opening her studio in 1994. But now with an 18-month-old at home, she realizes there will be many fields that will slip away before she can raise her brush in one last effort to record their scenic beauty.
The new addition has also slowed her teaching time. But with more people signing up for her two sessions a week, she vows to add a third session soon.
Campbell lives in Campbellsburg, Ky., with her husband, Andy Akers. But she paints and teaches in her native Oldham County in a large house at the east end of Main Street that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Her mother, Lenora used to run an antique shop up front, but the front rooms now house a law office.
In back, Campbell’s studio encompasses two rooms of easels and paintings in all stages of completion. Several of Campbell’s own work adorns the walls. Her students gather inspiration from her finished works, her experience and her teaching style while soft music plays from a stereo and the smell of fresh coffee wafts through the rooms during their three-hour painting sessions.
“It’s pretty formal instruction with an emphasis on mixing colors,” Campbell said. “We have a real relaxing environment, but I get really involved. I want people to get their money’s worth, especially at the beginning when they are just starting out. Later on, I let them go on their own.”
Her students say they enjoy the freedom but still turn to Campbell for advice.
“This is therapy for us,” joked two-year student Gina Kaufman of Crestwood, Ky. “It’s something I’ve always had an interest in, but I had never had a class or even taken art in high school prior to coming here. It’s just a hobby, but I take it seriously.”
Susan Toadvine of Crestwood took lessons from Campbell in the 1980s when she taught in Louisville. Toadvine started at the La Grange studio in January.
“Now that my two sons are out of the house, this is my time, and I’m very protective of it,” Toadvine said. “Angie is so encouraging and supportive, and she lets each student develop his or her own style. And she’s fun.”
Pam Ludke, who once operated the antique store with Campbell’s mother, began taking lessons from Campbell four years ago and next year plans to begin painting professionally.
Ludke, who now runs the 1887 Corner Store, had one of her “baby shoes” paintings featured in a Louisville art group’s calendar.
“I came over here one day to try it and never left,” Ludke said. “Angie can teach at any level, and she seems to go from student to student and switch gears with ease.”
For Campbell, it all began in 1980 when she began painting oils as an apprentice under Louisville artist Mary Louise Schrodt. Campbell later worked in Chicago as a commercial artist. She has participated in several regional juried exhibits.

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