Desert Doodlers at the Mesquite Fine Art Center – Mesquite Local News | WHs Answers

By Abbey Snow

Desert Doodlers at the Mesquite Fine Art Center

Each month, a group of artists gather in the Mesquite Fine Arts Center classroom to doodle. Joyce Redweik is the course leader. There are eight artists who participate regularly and there is room for more to join them. Redweik said if anyone has ever doodled at school, they’re officially a doodler.

“While my school teacher was talking, I doodled a lot and I have the grades to prove it,” Redweik said.

Joyce and her 39-year-old husband lived and worked in California for many years. They moved to Arizona about 10 years ago. Joyce decided to try his hand at real estate. She was enjoying it and didn’t realize how hard agents really work. It was during this time that she first learned to take her doodles and turn them into art. There was a group of doodlers that got together regularly and she learned so much.

“Now when I look at my first doodles, I have to laugh, but we all have to start somewhere,” said Redweik. “I also understand why my husband says ‘uh huh’ when I show him my creations. He was friendly.”

They moved to Mesquite three years ago. Her husband and she are both retired.

“One of the draws to this area was the Mesquite Fine Art Center because I’ve always had a heart for art and didn’t have time for it,” said Redweik. “I loved that the gallery offered classes and opportunities for me to share my art. I joined the gallery and had my art in the gallery either through the monthly contest, gift shop, greeting card shelf and boutiques. I think I was the first doodler in the gallery, so this was a new art form for a lot of the artists.”

“A common question I get is, ‘What is doodling?'” Redweik said, “This is a rapidly growing art form and is known by other names. You simply take pen and paper and repeat patterns to create a work of art. Patterns are all around us and once artists start doodling, they will see the world with patterns. I love looking at the amazing ancient temples around the world whose walls are carved with intricate details and often patterns. My answer is always the same, how did you do that? Closer to home, patterns are all around us. I’ll stare at the sweaters, ties, even the carpet in restaurants. I get weird looks if I stare too long, and I’ve been known to take pictures of patterned rugs. More strange looks follow. I received many comments on my art and Doti Golden, President of the gallery, suggested that I try teaching doodling to see if there is any community interest. It kicked off with a Stay Smart with Art class and it was a packed class! We then moved on to a once a month course and I think it was successful.”

Joyce feels that their class structure welcomes artists of all levels. She encourages new artists in the group to arrive about ten to fifteen minutes before class so she can give them a quick orientation. She doesn’t want them to feel lost. The lesson then begins with a few minutes of sharing. This is a time for artists to share projects they’ve been working on, new tools they’ve found, and a time for discussion on areas where they can help. It’s a fun way to start the lesson. You then move on to the project of the day with at least 3 new patterns to apply to the project. Those who have been around for the past few months are beginning to get a nice collection of patterns.

“I break down the structure of each pattern with a step-out process for them to follow and try,” Redweik said. “They also get a project to apply to with the new patterns. I also give them a copy of how I completed the project to encourage them to use their creativity and knowledge to create a unique work. It’s fun to see how each artist completes the project. There are no mistakes in doodling, only opportunities, and sometimes that opportunity can be to see if someone else can see the mistake. Most of the time we take the opportunity to create around it or incorporate it into the artwork. I try to come up with new techniques for each class so as not to repeat too much.”

After completing the pattern learning and project application portion of the class, artists work independently. The artists are having fun laughing and talking, then Joyce notices the classroom going quiet while the artists focus on their projects. This is a special time for them to see their creativity shine through.

“My students are amazing!” Redweik said, “They really got the hang of doodling and are starting to create their own artwork, from bookmarks to coasters. An artist entered the monthly gallery theme contest and received honorable mentions a few times. I’m so proud of her. Another student took the patterns she had learned and applied them to a wood burning project. It was wonderful. Scribbles don’t just have to be on paper. Once an artist is hooked, their supplies change from just pen and paper to fancy pens, larger paper, helpful tools, and more. We keep the Amazon supplier busy.”

Kim Alexander and her husband Chris moved to Mesquite in October 2020. She was looking for an opportunity to be active in the new community and was so excited to find the Mesquite Fine Art Center.

“They offer so many courses that are so readily available to the community,” Alexander said. “I joined the Doodle class in February. I’ve been a doodler my whole life and didn’t realize it was a real art form until I started the course with Joyce. The classes are so much fun and she has taught me many different ways to draw using different patterns, shades and colors and generally how to make this a more defined piece of art than just doodling on the phone. The art of doodling is very relaxing and almost meditative because as with most artworks you are primarily focused on the object you are creating and so your brain relaxes from all the other thoughts we are all worrying about. One of the other reasons I like the course is that I can connect with the other doodlers and share our work and learn from each other and laugh. I would highly recommend this fun class to anyone who wants to find a fun, relaxing time enjoying art and interacting with new people. My husband has a laser engraver so he took some of my pieces and engraved them in wood. So much fun!”

Amy Wells is quite busy with her time at the Fine Art Center. It coordinates the artist of the month and changes the art in its outdoor venues every quarter. These include the Hospital, the Bank of Nevada of Eureka, and City Hall. She is a member of the Christmas boutique and Grand Bazaar committees. She also works a few shifts a month at the front desk.

“I’ve been taking the Joyce class since it started,” Wells said. “What I love about the course is that it teaches new techniques every time. If you’ve never been to a class, you can still come, you don’t have to rely on the last class. Joyce is very inclusive and helpful, she creates an atmosphere where we can’t go wrong, we only have choices. I have transferred this to other aspects of my life, no problems just opportunities. Doodling has given me an opportunity to put my imagination down on paper. I can do it while watching TV.”

The first two doodles she submitted to contests won honorable mentions. The first was for Animals in the Wild and that was a buffalo that she doodled. The second was for the title of the favorite song. She created a rendition of Don McLean’s American Pie. She has also ventured into making greeting cards and prints.

“I loved the gallery here in town,” Wells said. “It’s a great resource for artists and locals to get very unique gifts made by local artists at a reasonable price.”

Recently, the gallery released the 2023 themes of the month. At their last Doodle class, they brainstormed the types of projects and patterns they could doodle, which will lead the artists to create some Doodle entries. Joyce thinks the artists are looking forward to flooding the gallery with some Doodle entries in 2023.

For those interested in attending Joyce’s Doodle class, you can visit her website at https://www.mesquitefineartscenter.com/ and click Art Lessons and then Drawing Lessons. You can call 702-346-1338 for more information. No registration required, just to show up at the Mesquite Fine Art Center at 15 W Mesquite Blvd at 10:30 am. The next Doodle courses are on Friday 19th August and Friday 16th September.

Amy Wells Doodle work (Image credit: Amy Wells)

Kim Alexander’s Doodle work (Image credit: Kim Alexander)

Leave a Comment