On an ever-constant journey to find my passion in life or maybe just nurture my creativity, I recently started taking oil painting classes. It all started last fall on a girls’ trip to the North Carolina mountains. While stopping by the Penland School of Crafts, two of my friends and I were struck by the talent and serenity we saw in the people there. Back in Charlotte, we were still talking about our mutual envy of the Penland lifestyle, how we’d love to expand our horizons and perhaps find some serenity ourselves. So, we embarked on a quest for instruction and inspiration.
It’s funny how when you open your mind to something, you begin to see answers in places where you least expect them. Literally over the office water cooler one day I found myself chatting with a co-worker who I didn’t know very well. He was telling me about his family and I realized that I knew of his wife because she’s a Charlotte painter who contributes her work to many local charities. With my new-found curiosity about art, I inquired how she became a painter. He explained how he’d given her art lessons on a whim a few years ago because she’d been feeling those mommy-blues of not having something uniquely her own. The lessons were at Braitman Studio in Charlotte where she studied under Andy Braitman. She immediately tapped into a passion and talent she never knew existed. I was inspired. A week later at a friend’s house for dinner, I was admiring her collection of oil paintings by local artists. She told me the thing they all had in common was that they studied under local artist Andy Braitman.
After a few emails back and forth and some additional research, my two friends and I found ourselves signed up for Tuesday night beginner lessons at Braitman Studio. Of course we were intimidated walking into the studio the first night. We were beginners after-all, learning the basics of the color wheel and brush strokes. But by the second week, we were hooked. The best part about the experience has been getting to know Andy Braitman. We have come to find out that we unknowingly hit the jackpot by aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized artist. Call it beginner’s luck.
Andy is incredibly talented, yet as humble and nice as he is gifted. He was born in Wyoming and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. While studying Pre-law and English at the University of Maryland, a girlfriend cajoled him into a drawing class. Not one to disappoint a lady, Andy dutifully complied and was shocked to discover his passion. He claims he was not born with talent (I tend to disagree), but that he was born with enough patience to follow his passion. He came to North Carolina in the early 80’s as a visiting artist, and moved to Charlotte permanently in 1988 working as a featured artist in many local galleries. Eventually convinced by his wife to open his own studio, he continues to create and sell his paintings, and also inspires and trains other artists onto greatness.
Braitman Studio is conveniently located on Monroe Road in Charlotte and serves approximately 150 student artists. Braitman students range from successful artists who sell their own work throughout Charlotte galleries to moms like us simply seeking our inner muse. The surprisingly refreshing thing about Andy is that he is not the least bit intimidating. Authentic and sincere, he endearingly says that he finds vicarious pleasure through the smiles and successes of his own students.
While I have not tapped into a raw talent, I have found an outlet for creativity and relaxation. I spend my day job in banking, so there is something so energizing about being able to let go of the rigidness in my life, if only for a few hours every Tuesday night.
9313 Monroe Rd., Suite C
Charlotte, NC 28270