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New year, new you: Time to get back to the drawing board!
January 11, 2019

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SHEPHERDSTOWN - According to Pablo Picasso, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." What better way to begin the new year, than by "dusting off" the soul by creating visual art?

For The Badgerhound Studio and Gallery owners Michael T. Davis and Emily Vaughn, it is never too late to start creating art. The couple, who have run the business at 110 West German Street for almost four years, not only create their own art, but they also offer classes to teach their art knowledge to children and adults alike.

"I try to keep it low-key, like an atelier, where I will have two to three students working here at one time," Davis said, mentioning he teaches the adult classes, while Vaughn teaches the classes for children 12-and-up.

Davis teaches art with their mature perspectives in mind, and provides them with opportunities to create art using a photograph, still-life or model, which he brings into his studio once a week. The Badgerhound is treated like a gallery on the weekend, but on weekdays, it is closed, so Davis and his and Vaughn's students can work in a calm atmosphere.

"The way this functions, is that it is my little studio," Davis said. "So when it says 'closed,' I'm in here working, and I have my students that come in here through the week.

"I teach the same techniques I learned from Schuler School of Fine Arts," Davis said, mentioning he has room in his schedule to accept a couple new students. "I get a lot of people who are retired who are interested in learning the 'how to' with painting, not just the 'what for.' I teach people how to paint, not what to paint, so they can go out and do it themselves."

Similarly understanding the needs of her students, Vaughn finds a way to encourage students' creativity and build their knowledge, by focusing on art history during every lesson. Vaughn chooses a different artist to discuss each month, whose life and art techniques can teach unique lessons to her students.

Vaughn teaches one-on-one lessons, as well as group art classes, which are priced for $15 for a single or $50 for four classes.

"One thing I've been doing since the 2016 election, is I've been showing students how art can be a catalyst for change," Vaughn said.

Vaughn teaches this lesson through using a poster she painted of Charles Town resident and 2018 Democratic political candidate Sammi Brown, the design of which was inspired by former President Barack Obama's campaign poster.

For the couple, passing along their knowledge of art is an essential part of what they do.

"I feel like now-a-days, art in the school system is pushed to the side, and it needs to be affordable," Vaughn said.

Davis agreed, before explaining art needs to be taught differently than it has been in recent years, for both adults and children.

"I think the problem with art, and the reason it has isolated itself from public school systems, is people don't understand it. I think the reason it gets cut from schools, is people don't see it as part of their lives anymore," Davis said, mentioning art is starting to move away from abstract work and back to realism. "The bottom line is, art should be relatable."

For more information about studying art with Davis or Vaughn, call The Badgerhound Studio and Gallery at 304-261-6028, or email michaeltd7@gmail.com or missemilyart@gmail.com.

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