Paint, mold, shoot or crochet at Alpine Arts Center in Edwards |

Paint, mold, shoot or crochet at Alpine Arts Center in Edwards

Jill Beathard
VAIL CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Jill Beathard

“If you were the only person in here, we wouldn’t be starting here. But it’s good for you.”

I looked at the sphere on my canvas. It couldn’t be that hard, right? At any rate I had told him I had no painting experience, so the bar was set low.

“If you can paint a cube or a sphere, you can paint anything,” continued our instructor Mio Cirkovic, who recently taught two beginning painting classes at the Alpine Arts Center.

The center offers classes in a variety of art forms, as well as the option to rent the studio space. New for summer are weekly camps for teens and kids.

“The children’s (classes) hit on a variety of mediums,” aid Lauren Merrill, founder and director of the center. “For the teens, it’s more specialized, like for the stained glass camp they’ll come for four days and learn about stained glass and make their own stained glass lamps.”

Beginning painting with Cirkovic is a weekly class. Like a lot of the classes offered, it is designed to be held once a week over a month-long session, but participants can drop in for individual classes if they prefer.

That’s what I was doing there last Thursday, painting a sphere on a surface in one color and learning about value, and how you have to have a light value next to a dark value if you want to be able to see it.

Continuing our lesson in value, we drew a rough sketch of a landscape – two mountains, with sloping ground in front and some trees. The idea was to fill in the parts of the painting with the right value, so the lightest color was the sky, the second lightest would be the ground (because it would be exposed to the light source), third the mountains and last the trees, which would be perpendicular to the light.

Cirkovic is a local architect who, when work started getting slow a couple years ago, started painting or “expanding his art itch” as he said. “I admired art since day 1,” he said.

Merrill had more than an itch to open an art center. The graduate of University of Michigan’s art school always had a dream to open such a place, she said. After teaching art at Vail Mountain School for five years, she saw a need for her students to have a place to take classes outside school and for artists like herself to do their work. She said her teaching experience enabled her to fulfill her dream.

Merrill chose the location in Edwards because she thinks it is central and close to a lot of schools, making it convenient for families. She said the suite, located in an industrial shopping center, has the right atmosphere.

“The industrial feel makes it great for creative work,” she said.

Jill Beathard is an intern at the Vail Daily. Email comments about this story to

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