Artist Offers Bobs Lake Classes for Would-be Creatives

Artist Offers Bobs Lake Classes for Would-be Creatives

All photos courtesy of Madeleine Kenny, Becky Black, Naomi Levesque and Essence.

Life has changed a lot over the last few years for long-time Bobs Laker Naomi Levesque. Even before COVID, she had recently said goodbye to a 12-year career with the federal government and was beginning a creative journey of self-discovery.

She worked in the heavily security-based environment of IT software awareness within Canada’s communication security establishment, but after some extremely shrewd and well-timed investing several years earlier, she was now able to replace her salary with royalty cheques. At that point she didn’t think twice about giving up the regular grind of work life.

“I woke up one morning and suddenly had all this freedom,” said Levesque.

That new-found independence and time, thanks in part to the global pandemic which arrived not long after, led her to spend much more time focusing on her glass mosaic art.

It’s All About Colour & Cascading Light

“A lot of my work is very abstract,” she explained.

“I get an idea, I might base it on a waterfall, or a wheatfield … you’ll see the colour, it’s really about the colour and how the light cascades through a piece.”

Levesque has been making her glass creations for years after taking a workshop a long time ago while staying at the family cottage on Bobs Lake in Long Bay.

“I did one of those studio tours and got a chance to try it and I’ve been at it ever since,” she said, adding it opened a world of creativity to her that she’d never been able to access previously.

“I couldn’t and still can’t draw a pear to save my life,” she joked.

“Now I just find it so relaxing to make a beautiful piece of art.”

In an effort to stay busy and meet people, this single mother has taken her love of mosaic art to an entirely new level and recently began offering classes at what has been the family’s Bobs Lake cottage for roughly a quarter century. Her venture is called Essence and you can look her up (or book your own creative journey) online at https://www.essencecreativejourney.com/.

“People can come out to the lake for the day and in the midst of this beautiful setting, make a piece of art they’ll cherish afterwards,” she said. “Everyone can learn how to cut glass. After such a long year it is time to treat yourself to a new adventure. [Once the lockdown is lifted, all required] safety measures will be in place to allow us all to be comfortable. Challenge yourself to make a beautiful piece of art.”

To really enjoy the process, her advice to new people is to lose the idea of the perfect image before starting.

Classes Offered Through Essence

“You’re going to make what you’re going to make,” she said. “Some people, no matter what they think about, their going to make that flowerpot. Me, I like to focus on nature: Ski hills, Waterfalls, Sunsets. I paint, too, and it’s usually all about the water, trees and wind.”

For those taking one of her classes, they are asked to arrive at about 10 a.m. “When they get here, I serve them coffee or tea and they can tour the property and dock, that’s where everyone always wants to go first.”

Be Inspired by the Beauty of the Lake

From there it’s into an all-important safety lesson.

“Glass mosaic is a unique art. In this class, you will learn how to cut and score glass, lay out a pattern, work with colour and how to grout your piece,” she said. Everything is taught first on plain glass first before moving on to the coloured glass students will use in their creation.

“Some people are a little slow at cutting, so I have a bin with over 350 pre-cut pieces in case they need a little assistance,” she said. “Our small, private classes of up to four people include all materials, parking, safety goggles, a lovely lunch, water, coffee, fruit, and a dip in the lake. Dietary needs will be met. Your class will run from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.”

Classes cost $225 per person, but that’s reasonable when you consider everything that’s included, the expensive tools and supplies required, as well as the fact you’ll make a beautiful creation that you will treasure for years.

“I chose five-by-seven-inch frames for the classes so that people can get the full frame done before they leave,” she explained. “Ifyou come out for the day for a class from Kingston (40 minute drive) or Ottawa (90 minute drive) say, it’s six hours from start to finish and you’ll leave with a finished piece of art and make it home in time for dinner.”

Levesque herself relishes the opportunity to work with people new to the process.

Learn from a Great Teacher

“Taking charge of the vision I had for myself and with lots of perseverance, I have built a life that brings me joy,” she said.

“Discovering my Essence was a journey that was not always easy. Artistic creation was integral in shaping my vision and guiding the transformation from one life to another. Today, I’d like to bring that gift to you. Life is what you make of it, let’s create something beautiful!”

Her experience in a teaching capacity helps make the process fun and easy for all.

“I have had a great many opportunities to teach some wonderful students over the years from swimming, skiing, software skills, and IT awareness,” she explained.

“I am bilingual, so we can enjoy our class in English or French. Teaching is something that brings so much to me personally,” Levesque also explained.

“I love meeting people and helping them discover skills they thought did not have or work on their next goals. I am Naomi, and I can’t wait to meet you!” she concluded.

One of her former students, Josee, said of the teacher and the class: “Naomi was a wonderful art teacher, she was patient and insightful.

“I just love my piece and would do this workshop again. My experience was fantastic!”

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