Youth create Halloween-themed paintings in art class

Renee Fite | Daily Press

Children paint a Halloween-themed painting with a full moon with spiders and pumpkins at Dena's Art Den on Friday night. Dena Coleman looks on as the young artists paint. Clockwise from left are: Jaylon Ross, Phoenix LaRoque, Bailey Ross, and Shanna Morrison.

A glowing full moon, spiders, and pumpkins were captured on canvas by children in a class at Dena's Art Den Friday evening.

"You can make them scary or funny, use your creativity," Coleman told the youth. "Make it your own design."

The children chattered happily as paint was put out for them to use. They each had four paint brushes to use, as well as a canvas on an easel.

Parents were invited to stay or come back. It was the first time for some of the children to paint here.

Hope LaRoque said son Phoenix, 9, is always making art.

"We're not all that artistic, but we thought that little things like this class might keep him interested in art rather than video games," said LaRoque.

Her husband Monte likes that the class encourages his interests.

"He makes comics when he draws, and I thought this would be a good experience for him," he said.

Brittani Ross brought her twins Jaylon and Bailey, 9.

"I have a bunch of coworkers who come here all the time; they have fun," said Ross. "My daughter likes art and her room looks like a glitter bomb."

Coleman demonstrated as she talked.

"Make a large yellow circle in the center of the paper. That will become your moon," Coleman said. "Next, come on the outside of the moon with lime green. Do you know how to make that color?"

There was green, yellow, white, and black on the pallet.

"Mix yellow and green," said two children together.

Yes, mostly yellow, Coleman told them.

Jaylon Ross was painting his circle yellow, but also talking about what he was going to be for Halloween.

"This isn't too hard. I like painting," said Jaylon.

Shanna Morrison, 9, has been taking lessons at Dena's Art Den for about two months.

"You get to be creative and there are no mistakes," said Morrison, who enjoys learning different techniques like blending. "You never know what you're going to paint and I'm always curious to see what she's created next."

Coleman is teaching ongoing art lessons for kids ages 6 years and up every Thursday, 4-5 p.m., and new students are welcome any time. Art lessons for adults are every Tuesday, 4-5:30 p.m.

"And you can look to Dena's Art Den on Facebook for Ladies Night Out events through the fall, and other open paint parties," she said.

Coleman loves her downtown Tahlequah art space and sharing the joy of art with students of all ages, especially around the holidays.

"It's wonderful to paint with families that come together for a fun evening. Everyone has a lovely time and leaves with a smile," she said.

Recently, she acquired a license to serve wine at paint parties in the Art Den.

A TERO-certified Cherokee business owner, Coleman is also recognized as a Cherokee artist.

"Stop in and say hi if you see me in here painting," said Coleman, "I like to meet and talk to people."

What's next

The next class, on Nov. 15, is a fall painting using a pallet knife. Check out Dena's Art Den on Facebook for upcoming classes.

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