Paint by numbers

Sheila LeDrew

Photo By David Robert

Sheila LeDrew, 41, originally from Bishop, Calif., has been in Reno for two decades. A self-taught artist, she began teaching art skills to children at home. Last year, she opened a studio up on Skyline Boulevard, Art on Earth, where she teaches children, teenagers and adults. For more information about classes, call her at 825-1905.

Why did you start Art on Earth?

I like children, and I love art. It’s my dream job that I always wanted. They always say that there is such a thing, and I finally found it. So, I get to hang out with kids all day long and play and paint and play with clay. It’s just awesome.

When did you start teaching children art?

It’s been five years now.

Tell me a little bit about your classes.

I have 11 classes a week, and the ages are 2 years old up to teenagers. I also have a fairy club for kids that’s been real popular. I dress up like a fairy, and we write notes to the fairies, and the fairies come to the studio and leave little presents. So we learn and talk about all the flower fairies and everything. And there’s also a Harry Potter club where we talk about magic and we make magic potions and spells. So it’s an absolutely incredible creative environment for the kids, and they love it.

What are your hours?

They run from 10 to 5:30.

How come nothing in the evening for working parents?

We have 3:30 to 5:30 after-school classes. So those are for working parents. And occasionally, I do an adult class, too.

Don’t most parents work until 5?

Actually, most of them who are working get rides for their kids. I do get a lot of them directly from school. I have kids that come with their nannies; they drop them off at 3:30, and their parents pick them up at 5:30. So I have a lot of working parents.

What kind of art do you teach the children?

For the little ones, they get line drawing and color mixing. We talk about famous artists and whatnot. [Children’s] art is the most incredible art ever. They do such amazing art. All mixed-medium. We use acrylic paint, watercolor, clay. I have a kiln, so we do clay projects.

How big is your kiln?

It’s a full-sized kiln. It’s in my garage, so I have to take everything home, fire it, then bring it back.

Who decorated your van?

I did.

I see that van all over town.

You see it all over town, yes. I’ve got a little scooter, a little Metro Honda that’s so cute. You should see the studio, if you think my van is decorated. I, also, just had an art opening last week, and that turned out awesome.

What kind of an opening?

That was for my own art and two of my fellow artists, Dan Shaheen and Brent Clifford. They do acrylic paintings. We had wine and cheese and took out all the kids’ stuff and put all the adult art up. My daughter, who’s 13, had one of her paintings there. She sold hers. That was awesome. That was about $150, so she was excited.

Why do you think parents should encourage their children to learn about art?

It’s one of the most creative outlets, and a lot of schools aren’t having that time for it anymore. At my studio, we use real watercolor paper and real watercolors that children don’t usually get to work with in the school system, so all the pictures turn out just so incredible.