WESTFIELD – Local artist Shannon Chiba is bringing her love of painting into people’s homes during this time of social distancing by offering free online painting classes every weekday afternoon to people of all ages.
On March 17 Chiba hosted her first Facebook live class, which was hosted by the “ArtWorks Westfield” page, and captured on her iPhone.
“I had a blast,” Chiba said.
On that first day, Chiba led viewers in the painting of a rainbow butterfly. She said she probably had 20 viewers live, but “it’s exponential, because people can share the video and paint later.” Each day’s class will remain online until 10 p.m.
“I had to get over the fact that it was live. I tried to get over my fear,” Chiba said, adding that the classes are also keeping her engaged and busy.
The next day, March 18, she was planning to lead viewers in painting a “beautiful lighthouse with a water scene, very impressionistic and fun.” Chiba said she wants to do paintings that both adults and kids can enjoy. “It’s important right now, especially with the kids out of school,” she said.
Chiba has a loose, relaxed, easy style for the class. On the first day, St. Patrick’s Day, she was dressed all in green with an oversized hat. ”No stress and no judgement,” she said.
Chiba said all viewers need to paint are water, paper towels, brushes, four colors of acrylics – white, blue, yellow and red, and any size canvas.
She uses 16” by 20” canvases that can be purchased in value packs for $2 apiece at any crafts store. Canvas board, which can be purchased at Ocean State job Lot or WalMart, also works. So does paper, crayons or colored pencils.
She also said if viewers don’t have an easel, a leftover pizza box can work, and keeps the supplies together, too.
An experienced teacher, Chiba has been working for Paint Night in Boston for more than six years, leading group painting classes. She also teaches classes with Westfield on Weekends (WOW), paints and exhibits her own artwork in shows, and serves on the board of ArtWorks Westfield.
Recently, she has applied to get her master’s in Fine Art, with a focus on place-making and public art immersion. “It’s the mission of Artworks and truly a passion of mine, truly what I love,” Chiba said.
Meanwhile, on March 19, she said she may do a classical Bob Ross mountain painting. “Bob Ross was my inspiration. Growing up, PBS was our IPad and Netflix. He was so calming and so happy,” she said.
“It’s important that you love what you do and work on. This is what I do,” Chiba said.