First time exhibitor and art student Fran Nelson took first place in the Virgin Valley Artist’s Shades of Black and White Exhibit with her drawing of this little girl. The exhibit is showing now through Feb. 2 at the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

The Mesquite Fine Arts Center has begun the year with a wonderful new exhibit. Artists from all around the Virgin Valley have used their talents to paint, pencil or mix up some Shades of Black and White in a variety renderings for a truly dramatic exhibit.

Shades of Black and White will be showing at the gallery now through Feb. 2 with an award reception taking place on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 4-6 p.m.

The first place winner of the exhibit, Fran Nelson, is a first time-exhibitor and a student of art teacher Bunny Wiseman. Wiseman teaches a drop in beginner’s drawing class fon Mondays from 1-4 p.m. or a beginner’s oil painting class on Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-noon. You don’t have to be a beginner to drop in on one of Wiseman’s classes; you can use the time or her talents to help you brush up on your own intermediate or advanced skills.

First place winner Nelson found a random picture of a little girl that she admired and used her class time with Wiseman to draw from that picture, the rendering was incredible and she took the blue ribbon for her efforts. All artwork is for sale but her husband isn’t letting this one go; he purchased it himself.

Bunny Wiseman is the art teacher to see if you want to draw or paint with oils. Her students continue to wow the art community with beautiful work that has won several competitions. Wiseman herself has some ribbons for her efforts as well. This oil painting of a clown is just one of the entries Wiseman has in the Shades of Black and White competition showing now through Feb. 2 at the Mesquite Fine Arts Center. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Like Nelson before she began taking Wiseman’s class, many people would love to be able to draw but they think they have no talent. Wiseman says that drawing isn’t a question of talent; whether you think you have talent or not she can teach you to draw.

Wiseman’s theory has been proven twice now, Nelson is the second student who has gone on to win exhibits; Lance Barr was the first and he continues to wow the art community with his spectacular work. Barr has said that before he took Wiseman’s first class, he couldn’t draw a stick figure.

He’s been taking her drawing classes for about five years now and has entered and won or placed in several competitions. Barr thought he absolutely had no talent and Wiseman challenged him; he took her up on it and she proved him wrong.

The further he went with Wiseman’s instruction and guidance, the better he got. Wiseman has her own ribbon in the exhibit for her oil painting of a clown along with a pencil drawing of a still life. When you see her work, you’ll have no doubt that her talent is exceptional; her students know her teaching skills are as well.

Wiseman’s drawing class is only $10 and she supplies the materials. The Beginners Oil Painting Class is also $10 and Wiseman will supply all the materials for her first class only. She will discuss the materials needed if you wish to take subsequent classes. There is no need to be a member of the Virgin Valley Artists’ Association or to preregister for classes; all fees are paid directly to the instructor.

The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery is operated by the VVAA. VVAA members provide the original artwork that is shown in the gallery and gift shop. All art is offered for sale and displays are changed monthly.

In addition to the special exhibitions, members show their fine works in a wide variety of mediums. The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about membership, upcoming exhibitions, and art and pottery classes, see the VVAA website at or call 702-346-1338.