Many colors in a green tree

Laura Sturza, People

SUNLAND -- After a long walk by the ocean or in the park, which images

leave you with the strongest impression?

If you are a painter or someone who appreciates landscape paintings,

your awareness of color, light and form can be developed with practice.

Sunland artist and teacher Lucille DeThomas has dedicated herself to

painting in vibrant colors, using an impressionistic quality inspired by

Monet and Cezanne.

For more than 25 years, she has mentored students who have gone on to

win numerous awards, like their teacher.

"I've never noticed how many colors there are in a green tree,"

DeThomas said, repeating what her students frequently report to her.

"It (painting) all of the sudden opens up your eyes and you actually

see something you haven't seen before," she said. "By providing

individualized instruction for beginners to advanced painters, class

participants can complete two or more oil paintings in an eight-week


The class atmosphere is "very safe and not threatening at all, very

nonjudgmental," said Laurelle Geils, the director of McGroarty Arts

Center, one of four area locations offering DeThomas' classes.

Her teaching style has inspired many students to continue studying

with her for years.

"People grow because she gears it to where they're at and what they

need. As they continue with classes they develop skills," Geils added.

As a painter, DeThomas began at 13, and has worked in oil, watercolor

and sculpture. Her work is in private and corporate collections and has

hung in the Denver Art Museum and toured in the Republic of China.

Locally, her work is shown at several art centers and a Sunland

restaurant. In a style reminiscent of her fellow impressionist artists,

she has developed a technique using a palette knife to create loose,

vivid strokes in oil.

"I'm very affected by light. One of the most important things that

anyone notices in my paintings is the light in the picture," DeThomas


"You have to be in love with what you're doing. I love all of nature,

I love trees," DeThomas added.

Her work has also featured animals, women from the 1800s and

seascapes. Her subject matter is often discovered during hikes and

horseback rides in areas as nearby as Descanso Gardens and as faraway as


For those who have always wanted to paint, her classes can get a

fledgling artist of any age started on a colorful, creative adventure. In

addition, area residents and visitors can be inspired by DeThomas'

paintings to think about local and distant landscapes from a fresh



WHO: Painter Lucille DeThomas, 16-year Sunland resident.

CLASSES: Oil painting for children and adults.

WHERE: McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga.

WHEN: Ongoing eight- to 10-week sessions.

COST: $60 to $65 plus supplies.

TO REGISTER: Call Lucille DeThomas at 352-2205.


WHAT: Impressionistic oil paintings.

WHERE: Ongoing exhibit at Mario's Sterling Restaurant, 8737 Fenwick

St., Sunland, 951-3555; and San Gabriel Fine Arts Assn. Gallery, 343 S.

Mission Drive, San Gabriel, part of the July Americana exhibit from noon

to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

PHONE: (626) 282-1448.

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