Nestled beneath a cliff on the edge of Veterans Lake is the latest addition to the Capon Bridge art scene: Janet Hockman’s Solitude Fine Art Studio, which will begin offering a regular schedule of classes in January.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, Hockman was preparing to teach the first painting class in her new studio. Small canvases sat on easels on the central table, and Hockman confessed she had gone “a little overboard” on the trays of snacks sitting ready in the small studio kitchen.
Her students would duplicate a painting of a red truck she had used for a cancer benefit 2 weekends earlier, pictures from which are posted on the studio Facebook page. A stack of paintings illustrating each stage in painting, beginning with the background, sat ready.
Today would be a beginners’ class — “demo, demo, demo,” she said, for 3 mother-daughter pairs.
She enjoys doing classes like this, teaching students how to duplicate a painting, but says this is “the least of what I do.” She looks forward to helping people develop their talent, and hopes to attract some serious students.
Acclaim for her artwork began when she was in the 9th grade. One of her teachers “bent the rules” to submit her work to a competition for a Louisville School of Art scholarship — a competition intended for high school seniors. Though only a sophomore, she was given a 6-month internship.
Her first medium was pen and ink, using a quill point pen. She now teaches and paints in watercolor, oils, pen and ink, pastels, colored pencil, watercolor pencil, charcoal and oil on porcelain.
What she is best known for is her oil on porcelain, with effects achieved through multiple firings that give depth to the work, with added coats deepening colors.
“It’s never done,” she says, since you can always pick up the piece, add paint and fire it again.
She studied painting on porcelain from Brazilian-born, internationally known master porcelain painter Manuel Felipe Pereira, who saw her work at a workshop and invited her to study with him in Portugal.
“You have the talent,” he told her.
Four certificates hang on the wall, all signed by Pereira. She has many other certificates, each indicating completion of a workshop in which she acquired another skill in her artistic training, but only the certificates signed by Pereira are on display.
She paints and decorates gourds as well, and says that it was during a gourd class that she first realized she was actually a better teacher than an artist. Her gourds were the first of her artwork to be accepted for Dollywood festivals.
Hockman will not be the only teacher at her new studio. She will invite friends who are master artists to come in and do workshops here — and she will reciprocate by doing workshops for them.
Hockman was still known as Janet Lockwood when she moved to West Virginia 2 years ago, packing up a U-Haul with the contents of her Jamestown, Ky. studio. She has since been juried into the Tamarack Artists Guild in Beckley and the Berkeley Art Works in Martinsburg.
A widow, she married Michael Hockman in North River Mills last year just before last year’s Christmas in the Wildwood program, and considers this year’s program on Dec. 15 to be their first anniversary.
The 2 of them built the studio — with help, she says. It has a small kitchen and a loft with beds, making it possible to offer 3-and 4-day workshops where people come and stay. She has a margarita machine and an icemaker, she says, and in good weather there is swimming in the lake.
A sign in the studio advertises classes for 15 or fewer students — “your subject or mine,” as well as “intimate weekend parties.” Other signs next to artwork offer classes in painting gourds, bears or angels.
All seems ready, and January is coming. Hockman hopes to post a schedule of classes on her Facebook site soon.