My Month of Color Finds Me In Art Class

Laura Tiebert
March 12, 2019

I did not make this art although I wish I did! It’s the work of one of my talented classmates.

Every Tuesday, I attend the Open Art Studio class at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. When I signed up, I assumed that “art” included writers (hey, I’m an artist too, right?), and when I showed up the first day and opened up my laptop, I realized that everyone else was setting up easels and tubes of paint and going to the nearby kitchen to fetch water for their brushes. Whatever initial awkwardness there was, was quickly dismissed by Wendy DePaolis, the Arboretum’s Curator of Art and Sculpture and Fine Arts Education Programmer. She popped into the class that first day and told me, “I thought it was fun that a writer would join the group!” I’ve since become the group’s token writer. My fellow artists at work on watercolors or oil painting never fail to inquire about my latest projects. They get a kick out of my love of all things Prince. (And yes, I once played Prince’s song “Arboretum” for them. Fortunately, it’s an instrumental so lyrical content was not an issue. Ha!).

Prince loved the Arboretum, which is just down the highway from Paisley Park. Knowing that Prince loved this place is part of the reason I signed up for class. When I first moved to Minnesota, I’d go anywhere Prince used to go, figuring if it was good enough for him, it was certainly good enough for me. So I went to hear music at Dakota Jazz Club, where he had a table, and had brunch at People’s Organic, where the owners were Prince’s personal chefs. Prince has never steered me wrong, even when I inadvertently wound up in art class.

There is a whole series of photographs of Prince taken at the Arboretum by his former art director Steve Parke. The colors here are spectacular year-round and I am greatly inspired by watching paintings take shape. In the midst of a very long winter, seeing painters at work with brushes and palettes of paint in every hue of the rainbow lifts my spirits. And even though I’m here tapping away at the keys on a laptop rather than brush on canvas, it’s remarkable what a room full of artists can accomplish together! There is a colorful energy to creating — whatever the medium.


  1. Jody

    You are an amazing writer, and your insight into to the mind of P’s brain, is helpful for those of us, that do not dive deep into things you are willing to do!! Thank you for the insight! Since you were talking about art and paintings, there is a movie called Local Color: Local Color (film) Local Color is a 2006 American drama film, written and directed by George Gallo and starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ray Liotta and Trevor Morgan in the lead role. It is based on a true story, that of the director/writer’s experience when he was 18. The story is very relatable to P and his music and painting; the painter Mr. Seroff, and his explanation about “art” almost sounds like a lecture P listened to and understood it, by the way he lived his life, and if not it was eye opening to understand Mr. Seroff’s explanation of music and painting and how they work hand and hand by his explanation.

    • lauratiebert

      Thank you Jody, I appreciate you! I will check out “Local Color” — could be a good weekend movie!

  2. Andrea Brosch

    HI Laura,
    What a nice blog about the Open art studio group. We have a lot of fun painting and sharing together. I’m glad you joined us! You’re always quietly typing and I hope, enjoying the creative atmosphere while we focus on our paintings and drawings!
    Although 2019 weather hasn’t been great so far, this spring I hope for time to paint outside in the arboretum. Right now I’m in Arizona painting some mountains and skies and getting in some golf. But I’m looking forward to the open studio group again in April.

    • lauratiebert

      Hi Andie! I’m glad you’re enjoying blue skies in AZ! Look forward to seeing you when you return.

  3. Bonnie Ronning

    Laura, you are always a joy to have in class and I’ve enjoyed or discussions of everything Prince and beyond. It’s interesting that Prince enjoyed two of my favorite things – the Arboretum and People’s Organic. Now you’ve peeked my interest in reading your book, especially the one you are working on now! Nice blog. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • lauratiebert

      Thanks Bonnie, the feeling is mutual!

Pin It on Pinterest