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Heartwork Studios offers paint and pinot parties 

The gallery at Heartwork Studios in downtown Atascadero. Photo by Heather Young

The gallery at Heartwork Studios in downtown Atascadero. Photo by Heather Young

Denise Braun gets through rough patch with art

Atascadero resident Denise Braun opened a gallery, Heartwork City, the newest in a string of galleries located in downtown Atascadero, in October.

Braun starting painting in 2009. She grew up the daughter of a professional artist and a rocket scientist. Though she has been around art her entire life, it wasn’t until she was going through a rough point of her life, that she turned to art and discovered the passion she has for it.

Heartwork Studios owner Denise Braun stands in the studio portion of her downtown Atascadero business. Photo by Heather Young

Heartwork Studios owner Denise Braun stands in the studio portion of her downtown Atascadero business. Photo by Heather Young

Braun, now a professional artist herself, blended her passion for art with her profession as a therapist. Now, she operates her studios in downtown Atascadero, does art therapy with children and adults and teaches child development and family studies at Cuesta College. She got the idea for the studio, including paint and pinot classes, in 2009 after visiting Boulder, Colo., which is where her husband, John Bundy, is from and discovering paint and sip parties.

“A big part of it is I’m a teacher too,” Braun said. “Being a teacher, that extension of teaching art was a natural [step]. Students don’t want to just learn to paint, but to feel supported.

She gave an example of students who come in saying, “I can’t paint. I’m not artistic,” but leave feeling good about themselves and having a beautiful painting to take home. Braun said it’s all about the process and the process itself can give a person confidence and make them feel better overall.

Braun teaches other classes for children, as well as one on one adults classes and has her own work on display and for sale in the gallery. All of her painting, as well as what she teaches, is mixed media, the combination of painting, paper and other materials. Her brightly colored, inspirational art has caught the eye of Sagebrush Fine Art based in Salt Lake City, Utah, who represents Braun. The company has licensed her images and look to sell the licensing to companies across the United States. Some examples of companies that purchase artists’ licensing are Target, Pier One, Hobby Lobby, etc. They take the images and then create different products from artwork to shower curtains to mugs and more.

“It’s a constant negotiation,” Braun said. “As an artist, you have to sit back and allow your agency to negotiate for you.”

Braun has lived in Atascadero since 1999, her parents retired to Paso Robles five years later. Braun lives in the city with her three daughters, 3, 11 and 15, and her husband.

Braun’s hours for the gallery are sporadic due to her schedule for art therapy and teaching, but for 2015, her goal is to have the gallery open four days a week. Paint and pinot classes change weekly and are usually held on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. Braun opens her gallery every second Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. as part of Art in the Afternoon on Traffic Way.

For more information on Heartwork City, go to www.heartworkcity.com, call 805-835-5991 or email denise@heartworkandsoul.com.

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