Lifelong instructor to teach Albert Lea residents architecture art

Published 9:00 am Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bonnie Broitzman wants you to get some perspective.

She is offering to teach you how. Perspective, Broitzman said, depends on where you’re standing.

She intends to help attendees work through perspective, light and shadow, detail and composition in Intro to Architectural Drawing, a three-session class starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at The Albert Lea Art Center.

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Broitzman is a career art teacher, pursuing art education after her eighth grade Albert Lea art teacher told her she drew well and encouraged her to become a teacher herself.

“I never — in eighth grade when the art teacher told me I draw so well I should be an art teacher — I never dreamt what a huge, beautiful world I was being invited into,” she said.

After finishing her career in public education at Austin Public Schools, Broitzman began teaching international workshops. She has been teaching drawing and painting workshops with teaching partner Karlyn Holman on location in Europe for the last 15 years.

This year alone, she has traveled to Australia, New Zealand, France and Italy. In September, she heads to Spain.

Her travel pictures all have stories behind them, she said, and painting can be a personal reflection of a trip.

“It’s a personal way of saying, ‘I was there,’” Broitzman said. “‘I saw this.’”

She took her art supplies to visit a church in Italy despite the pouring rain — and a travel companion telling her not to bother. The cafe across the street, it turned out, had an umbrella on an outdoor table, and Broitzman was still able to capture that memory on paper.

“It brings you right back to laughter” to look at these memories painted out, Broitzman said.

Her medium of choice is watercolor for its portability and spontaneity, and paints on paper sized to fit in her backpack.

Broitzman grew up on a farm north of Albert Lea. Her father loved to build things, she said, and  she helped.

“So, I got real interested in structure of buildings and how buildings are put together,” she said.

But when she travels, architecture can also tell her about how people live their lives: the hilltop houses in Italy, the white villages in Spain, the thatched roof in Ireland.

Painting also provides an opportunity to interact with those who live where she is painting, she said. People will come up and visit with her, and sometimes buy her work on the spot.

But painting also allows the artist to interpret. The Big Oak School, now located at the Freeborn County Historical Museum, Library and Village, was her school — she attended with her brother and sister. Through drawing, she was able to add details to the school that are no longer there and to reconstruct it as she remembered. The artist can add “flavor” through their choices of light, season, angle or emotion.

“A photograph, maybe, is a reproduction of the image,” Broitzman said. “A drawing is always an interpretation.”

The class is open to artists of any skill level.

“We start from where you are and go forward,” Broitzman said.

Want to go?

Who: Bonnie Broitzman

What: Intro to Architectural Drawing class

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 13, Aug. 20 and Aug. 27

Where: Albert Lea Art Center, 101 S. Broadway Ave.

How much: $90 total ($30 for each class.)

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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