Meet Local Artist Jeanne Aaron

Jeanne Aaron is a longtime St. Louis Park resident and artist who was born and raised in Chicago. Before finding her way to Minnesota, Jeanne studied at The Art Institute of Chicago, earned her B.F.A. from the University of Illinois, and M.F.A. from UCLA. She has worked in Los Angeles as an animator, exhibited her drawings and sculptures in galleries and museums in Chicago and San Francisco, and has been teaching and creating arts curriculum for over twenty years.

These days, Jeanne is offering her expertise and wisdom to the community by way of a series of drawing classes called The Natural Way to Draw, offered through St. Louis Park Community Education. Despite currently working primarily with paint and clay in her own practice, Jeanne teaches drawing because she believes it is the foundation of all visual art forms, and essential to designing anything at all.

I sat with Jeanne at a coffee shop and asked her to talk more about the benefits of learning to draw. She pulled my coffee mug to the center of the table and started pointing out the shadows. The one I saw was the obvious one, shaped like a stretched out coffee mug across the table—but she went on to point out shadows I hadn’t noticed: the darkest shadow where the curve of the mug met the table, the shadows on the mug itself inside the loop of the handle. “You start to perceive things in a new way and see new details,” she told me. Jeanne’s classes don’t just teach you to draw, they teach you to see.

The Natural Way to Draw is designed in three sequential classes, each with seven two-hour weekly sessions. The first class, taught in the fall, breaks down the elements of drawing one at a time, teaching about lines and proportions. The second class, taught in the winter, focuses on shading and modeling. In this class, you begin to work with volume, drawing in three dimensions and exploring shadows and negative space, like she pointed out on my coffee mug. Her third class, taught in the spring, brings color into the mix, and explores different materials like chalk and oil pastels and watercolor.

Registration is currently open for Jeanne’s third class in the sequence. Though designed to be taken sequentially, this class is open to all who come with an open mind, regardless of prior drawing or art experience. Classes are taught in the Art Room at the Lenox Community Center on Wednesday evenings from May 15 - June 19. Registration is $62 (less than $9/class) + materials costs.

If you’re interested in taking Jeanne’s first class in her sequence in the fall, but registration and materials costs are prohibitive, consider applying for an Arts for Life Scholarship. Deadline to apply is June 5. Click here to learn more about the scholarships and to apply online.

To learn more about Jeanne and see more of her artwork, visit www.jeanneaaron.com.