Are you ready for an adventure? Would you like to learn something you didn’t know before? Maybe you’d like to develop some talent you’ve never really fostered. Peggy Krantz, owner of The Gallery at 233 N. Main St., knows exactly how you feel. She also knows how to make those dreams come true.
“The best that someone’s ever described me was my grandson telling a cousin ‘My Peggy Sue is an explorer, a painter and a farm girl,’” Krantz said. “When he called me an explorer I realized that, yeah, that’s what I am. I like exploration. I’m curious. I like learning new things.”
Krantz knows that an open, giving spirit receives blessings as it bestows them.
“It’s developed an entrepreneurial spirit in me,” she said, “and I like to share what I learn. If it gives someone a way to go forward a little bit further than they were that’s part of what I enjoy, too.”
She’s had some contrast to give her clarity about her values.
“When I started learning art,” Krantz said, “I’d run into artists who would say, ‘That’s my little secret,’ and they wouldn’t share their technique or their skill. I thought, ‘If I ever learn that technique I’m going to tell everybody.’”
The ‘little secret’ mentality has little purpose anymore, she said.
“That was before YouTube came along,” Krantz pointed out. “Keeping it to ourselves now is ridiculous. You share your technique and when it’s not new anymore those of us that have been exploring move on to the next adventure. Also sharing and teaching your techniques helps you learn things better.”
Her outlook has taken Krantz on some exciting adventures.
“Exploration keeps me passionate about life,” she said. “There’s always a different direction I want to go. If I learn something about art, that takes me into Italian art, and that takes me into the Renaissance, and that gets me into the Medici family in Italy, and that gets me wanting to see Florence, and then I go stay in Florence for two and a half weeks by myself and study history and art. But I had to work really hard doing my art to get to my passion.”
Krantz sees this as a key to happiness.
“Using our gifts makes us happier,” she said. “We come across people who may be at the beginning of their exploration, and we can help them. When you watch someone achieve something you have helped them with it’s like reliving that achievement over again.”
To look at her work you’d never know that she started painting well into her 40s.
“I didn’t start art until I was 47 years old,” Krantz said. “I couldn’t draw anything. I had no natural talent, no painting ability, but I wanted to learn. I said a prayer and then forgot it. I kept starting to draw and wouldn’t like what I’d done, so I’d stop.
“One time, I decided to stay with it,” she said. “I was drawing from a picture of my grandparents. I was going to keep drawing and erasing until it looked like the photograph. I stayed with it for hours and it finally started looking like my grandparents. I thought, ‘Wow! I wonder if I could do that again?’”
She did and it got easier each time.
“Drawing is a skill that you can learn,” Krantz said. “You don’t have to be born with it. You don’t have to have the gene for it. You can learn it with practice. Some people have a natural talent, but if you don’t, you just have to work harder at it.”
Krantz is thrilled to have come into her talent the hard way. It gives her a unique perspective when teaching others.
“I feel like I can teach other people to draw and paint because I know what it felt like to have no natural ability,” she said. “I was spending a lot of time working in the tractor, on the farm, listening to podcasts about art. I began to see the world differently. I could see lines and shapes and colors like I’d never seen them before. It was almost too much.
“It truly is like a drug as you begin to view the world anew. What I didn’t realize is artists who have a natural talent view the world like that. Those of us who aren’t born with it can train our minds and eyes to see the world that way.”
It was time to summon her courage and play.
“Then I had to have the courage to take a blank canvas and try,” she said. “That’s all I had to do because nobody was going to see it. I was just going to put it under the bed and paint over it if it wasn’t good. So I didn’t worry if anyone was going to see it, I could just start playing on a white canvas.”
That courage helped her move forward quickly.
“Things would just come through me and I’d think, ‘I didn’t think I could do that.’ Then I posted it on Facebook and people asked if they could buy it. I still put my hand on a new canvas and pray for creativity.”
Krantz has an important message for everyone she teaches.
“ I teach adults and children alike that when they look at a blank canvas, it is their creative mind, and they must talk nice to it,” she said. “You tell that part of yourself that you’re gonna create new things. You’re moving forward. Don’t say you can’t do it, it’s too hard or that you’re not any good. Our generation’s parents tied in their expectations for us, as small children, with their own expectations of themselves, so they didn’t know how to encourage us.
“Staying with it is the only difference between beginners and people who achieve what they want to.”
One of the most powerful tools Krantz has is her appreciation for collaboration.
“When the Roswell Fine Art League lost their lease, they were looking for a place to rent,” Krantz said. “I told my husband if we could buy a building on Main Street we could provide them a place to have their art and I could have a studio.
“It could afford me a way to have a studio space, and we could still travel some, he didn’t want me to be tied down to a shop. This was a way to have a shop and not be tied to it all the time.”
Now that she had the facilities, Krantz found other ways to share her gifts.
“I started teaching paint parties,” she said. “People come once a month to be with friends and have wine. I show them how to do a painting and they leave with finished art in a couple of hours. I encourage people to keep exploring new things and discovering new things about themselves.
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.