Internationally-renowned artist, Violet Parkhurst, combined her creativity and talent to produce some of the most beautiful oil paintings. Inspired by the beauty of nature, seascapes, and the human form, Parkhurst transformed blank canvases into masterpieces, receiving praise from the likes of former Presidents, international dignitaries, and even Clark Gable.
Founded in 1947, Parkhurst Galleries, located in the heart of Downtown San Pedro, showcases the masterful works of Parkhurst, as well as many other notable artists, known both internationally and locally. In addition to services offered, including appraisal, framing, and restoration, Parkhurst Galleries nurtures inspiration and advocates artistic expression with their popular “Painting with the Masters” oil painting classes.
“The Parkhurst Oil Painting Class combines the 70-year history of the Gallery, expert instruction from today’s Master Artists, and a sense of warmth and community to create an ideal creative learning environment,” says Warren Hsiao, president of Parkhurst Galleries.
The classes began eight years ago, in the middle of the recession. Finding an outlet for expressing emotions during that time, the class was formed. Hsiao explains, “It began as a thank you to our clients, and was almost like paint therapy. The classes gave students an escape.” The group ended up enjoying it so much that the Gallery made it a regular occurrence. “We had such a great experience, we just decided, ‘Hey, let’s do this again next week!’”
Held weekly, classes are taught by highly trained and professional artists who help instruct students on the best skills needed to make their vision come to life. “We are extremely fortunate to have such talented instructors like Lisa Mozzini-McDill,” says Hsiao. “Not only is she a highly distinguished professional artist, but she has a true gift with being able to transfer that knowledge.”
Open to any skill level, from beginner to expert, the classes are inclusive to any adult who is willing to learn, with 80-90 percent of students having never touched a paintbrush. Students are suggested to print a photo of what they would like to paint, and their own brushes, oil paints, and canvas (which are also available for purchase in the Gallery). An added perk is lunch and refreshments are always served.
Barbara Ramsey-Duke, who has been attending the classes for only three months, describes why she appreciates them, saying fondly, “I love it. It relaxes me.” She continues, “One thing about art is you forget about other things and worries when you’re doing it.”
Hsiao takes pride in the Gallery’s special offering, which he shares is continuing to grow in size, with sometimes as many as 15 students in attendance. “It’s like a social club, it’s a tight-knit group of people,” he describes. “There’s conversation and camaraderie.”
In addition to learning a skill and having fun doing it, Parkhurst Galleries also periodically displays the finished works created by students with special exhibits. “We treat them like renowned artists,” says Hsiao. In workshops, students also gain expertise in how to accurately price and sell their artwork, and useful tools to discuss their particular pieces, market themselves, and promote sales.
This holiday season, give the gift of art. Oil painting classes make a wonderful gift for someone special on your list. Parkhurst Galleries is also currently having a winter promotion: four classes for $195. Gift certificates are also available for purchase.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve created in the eight years of doing this class,” Hsiao says. “We’ve helped some amazing artists get their start, and we’ve made some lifelong friends.”
Parkhurst Galleries is located at 439 W. 6th St. For more information, call (310) 547-3158 or visit parkhurstgalleries.com.