by Britt Chester

| | @awfullybrittish

Most artists focus on furthering their careers in their field of expertise, but Greensboro’s Tracey J. Marshall-Becker has opened up her own home studio to the public with a new venture.

After closing her Marshall Art Gallery three years ago when the economy turned sour, she began seeking out new ways to market her work while helping others. Having worked with Earlier.Org, a non-profit organization based out of Greensboro that works to detect breast cancer in the earliest stages, on past projects, she decided it best to continue supporting the mission.

“I have been lucky enough not to have cancer, but I have had several “” eight or nine women friends “” peers in the arts community who are cancer survivors,” Marshall said. “It’s always been at the forefront for me, and two of my partners were survivors at the gallery.”

The event is a spin-off of her popular Ladies Night Out sessions, which are two-hour instructional painting workshops held in her home studio. Ladies Night Out with Earlier.Org is merely looping in the organization to receive funds. Ladies Night Out began when Marshall’s partner, Heather Kurpinski, approached her about the idea four years ago. It wasn’t until roughly one year later that the two were holding classes at the Creative Center, and then finally moved to Marshall’s house in January of 2014. Her home studio can comfortably hold up to 16 people painting at one time.

“These are different than your stereotypical chains that are out there. I do a little bit more instruction,” she said. “We don’t draw the pictures on for you. I try to keep the fine art aspect in them and offer instructions.”

Each event already has a chosen painting that Marshall will direct how to paint. Attendees will be provided with an easel, a blank canvas, and all the paint and paintbrushes needed for the project.

“I walk them through step by step with foundation, middle ground, highlights and final touches at the end,” Marshall added. She also said that there are always parts where there is a break so you aren’t just sitting and painting for two hours. She encourages attendees to bring food and wines that can either be shared or just for personal consumption. If you choose to participate in the Earlier. Org event, the organization provides some refreshments.

The trend in communal painting, and the shops that have opened in recent years, has opened the door for groups of friends that are interested in painting, but don’t necessarily have the time to dedicate to weekly classes or workshops. What Marshall is doing is just building on the idea with an affordable option and fun environment.

But it does differ in that these classes are not paint-bynumbers.

For this Sunday’s event, Marshall is using one of her paintings, Monet’s Lillies, as the instructional display.

She begins each course by viewing the painting and walking each attendee through the painting process. She highlights shapes on the canvas and helps some of the novice painters with the composition of each image.

“There are parts in the painting where you can make adjustments,” Marshall said. “There are choices, you do get some control, but as far as painting a different picture, everything is really aimed towards the instructional.”

But if you do get the inkling to add a flower to your image, or remove a cloud, creativity is always encouraged. !


Ladies Night Out with goes from 2-4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 11. Tickets for this event cost $55. Tickets may be purchased at Tracey Marshall’s website, under the “More Good Stuff>Nights Out with” tab.