Local artist Stefan Baumann’s philosophy is that anyone can learn how to paint, all they need is the desire. Baumann enjoys proving his theory by teaching students to paint in a variety of ways, most notably through a television series, which will be airing on the Create Channel beginning this weekend.
Local artist Stefan Baumann’s philosophy is that anyone can learn how to paint, all they need is the desire.
Baumann enjoys proving his theory by teaching students to paint in a variety of ways, most notably through a television series, which will be airing on the Create Channel beginning this weekend.
“The Grand View: America’s Parks Through the Eyes of an Artist” was filmed outdoors at various national and state parks. Each episode includes a tour of the park and a plein air painting demonstration, Baumann explained.
Since moving to the area about three and a half years ago, Baumann has begun teaching weekly painting lessons in Mount Shasta. Twice a year, he offers workshops out of his Hammond Ranch home. People come from all over the world to immerse themselves in art and the Mt. Shasta area’s amazing views.
“I enjoy taking people who have never painted before and connecting them in such a way that they’re very, very successful,” Baumann said. “Many of my students are people who are searching for something, and art gives it to them.”
Baumann’s own paintings can be categorized as “American Romantic Luminism,” which is highly realistic with a touch of whimsy, he said.
“It’s that realm between fantasy and reality... it takes what’s really there and enhances it to give it a magical feeling. It’s like how you anticipate a place to be.”
The Grand View
Baumann’s television show began 20 years ago when he took a group of students to paint at Yosemite National Park.
At that time, all the painting shows on TV featured artists working in a studio. Baumann’s idea to move outdoors was something completely new, he explained.
At first the PBS stations weren’t interested in another painting show, but Baumann said he was persistent and finally got The Grand View on the air.
The main focus of the show is to inspire people to paint, Baumann said. The first half of the 30 minute show is a tour of a park, such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or Crater Lake. Baumann interviews local park rangers and Native American elders.
The second 15 minutes features a full painting demonstration from beginning to end, and reveals “the secrets of painting outdoors,” said Baumann. He describes the show as “very entertaining and calming, with a Ken Burns feeling. Viewers are able to gain extreme insights into painting in a very short amount of time.”
All 20 episodes of The Grand View will be aired on the Create Channel (channel 116 on Northland Cable) beginning Sunday, Feb. 20.
An artist from a young age
Baumann began painting when he was 11 years old, and started teaching others to paint when he was just 14. “Painting was something I gravitated to at a very early age,” he said.
Baumann grew up in South Lake Tahoe, and while studying art and architectural history on scholarship at Stanford University, he worked as a private painting teacher. He then moved to San Francisco where he lived for 25 years.
Baumann still teaches in San Jose, and travels there two times a month to do so. He also teaches in Medford, Ore. and in Mount Shasta.
Baumann has been featured in People magazine and his work is included in the collections of the Rockefellers, Annenburgs, and former president Ronald Reagan.
Locally, his work can be found at The Gallery in Mt. Shasta.
“The thing about Stefan’s work is that he captures light in the painting like no other,” said Lesa Michel, owner of The Gallery. “His paintings, to me, are like those of the old masters at the turn of the century, who first discovered Mt. Shasta. His work has a way of capturing the beauty, magic and majesty of nature.”
Mount Shasta’s Lynn Linebarger, a recently retired Family Nurse Practitioner, said she had always wanted to learn to oil paint, but had never even picked up a paintbrush. After a year of Baumann’s classes, she’s finished paintings she never thought she’d be able to produce.
“He’s amazing,” Linebarger said. “Very quickly he taught me to work with oil paint. You start with nothing, and with a few little strokes you turn the canvas into something. [Baumann] has such an eye, he points out what’s working and what doesn’t. It’s a magical experience.”
Mount Shasta’s Diana Wood also said she thoroughly enjoys Baumann’s classes. Wood, who was already a painter, said Baumann’s instruction has taken her to the next level over the last year and a half.
“He’s really broadened our horizons,” she said of all the people in Baumann’s class. “You’d be amazed to see the improvement in the work of his students, even the longtime painters. He sees things we don’t.”
Baumann said he was lured to the Mt. Shasta area by its beauty and enjoys painting local scenes, especially the mountain.
“We live in such a beautiful area, it’s surprising how few experience it to the full capacity,” he said. “They look but they don’t see, and I teach them to see.”
Baumann said the thing he likes best about teaching is “creating possibilities” for his students.
“My biggest thrill is taking a person who has never painted before and transforming their lives through art. I love inspiring students and watching them have huge breakthroughs in their lives.”
Baumann’s classes are held on Wednesdays in the room beneath Siskiyou Central Credit Union from 1 to 4 p.m. He supplies everything a first time painter will need, and the first class is free.
Call 800-511-1337 to make a reservation.