Skip to main content

Millcreek Journal

Enjoy painting without the pressure at longtime art studio

Sep 08, 2020 02:04PM ● By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Drawing classes are quite popular at the studio, second to painting. (Photo courtesy Cynthia Dobbs)

By Kathryn Elizabeth Jones | [email protected]

If you’ve never considered yourself a painter, you might want to try out Impressions Art studio.

“I furnish an outlet for people to come and express themselves without pressure,” Cynthia Dobbs, owner, said. “There are so many women that never thought they could do it; they are putting out beautiful things.”

Even men and adults 18 years and up have found a benefit in being a part of the art studio.

“There are so many people who think they can’t paint,” but through the teaching skills of Dobbs and the five other instructors that make up Impressions Art, they are finding they can do it.

“Art is a form of meditation,” Dobbs said. “Women come in and say, ‘this is my therapy.’ I tell them this is a place to let everything go. They always feel better after they come.”

Dobbs, who has no formal art training, began to paint because she was “born with the talent” and has loved art “all her life.”

While she began as a licensed hairstylist, doing hair for 25 years, she dreamt of the day her “creative juices” would allow her to move on to the art she loved. 

“I hoped I could teach,” she said. “In 2009, an incredible opportunity came to me. I opened my first studio.”

Impressions Art Studio has been running for 11 years, and it’s had been at the Millcreek location on 1050 E. 3300 South for two of those years. Dobbs loves what they’ve got going, despite the multiple classes that were halted in painting, drawing, art journaling, collage making, airbrushing, wire art, and more due to COVID-19 in March.

Dobbs typical 40-50 students a class has dwindled to half, and most of the other classes have stopped for a time. 

“It’s been difficult,” she said. But the business is still moving forward. Dobbs is currently teaching oil painting. “It’s going well right now,” she said. She has 25 students in her class; three of them are men, and most are in their 30s or retired.

Heather Witkamp is the only other instructor currently teaching at the studio. She is a classically trained artist who teaches a beginning watercolor class. Witkamp, who was introduced to the studio by her sister, Melissa, said she is grateful for the opportunity to teach. 

“Teaching watercolor is something I have always wanted to do,” she said.

Witkamp began teaching at Impressions Art Studio last fall, and so far, has taught three classes. She currently has five students; she typically has six to eight but said many who enjoy art are “trying to get back out and live life. We have missed some things, but the students are getting more comfortable.”

“People are very scared, but they are coming back little by little, as their confidence grows,” Dobbs said. In the meantime, she is taking all of the precautions necessary to keep her place safe. “We are spreading things out more than 6 feet, sanitizing and wearing masks.”

In the past, Dobbs has worked with the Huntington’s Disease Foundation of Utah, providing free paintings to sell at the Urban Arts Festival in September. She, along with her students have collected and donated their paintings to raise money for the Utah chapter’s booth.

Along with the many and varied art classes that will open its doors as things move forward with COVID, Dobbs hopes to continue Paint Night where family and friends gather on Friday nights to learn how to paint together.

“We paint the same thing, step-by-step,” she said, “and the family brings food, snacks and drinks. It’s a lot of fun.”

Dobbs hopes her studio will be running at full capacity soon.

“Not all are back,” she said, “but I’m working on that.”