For the love of drawing

Two artists have been teaching community workshops for more than a decade

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Susan Rubin and Marjorie Leggitt believe that anyone who can write with a pencil can also draw with one.

“And we’ll show you how,” Rubin said.

Through the years, the two have taught thousands of people to draw.

Rubin and Leggitt are friends, professional artists and experienced art instructors.

“Drawing is a skill set, not an innate talent,” Rubin said. “I love those aha moments when a student realizes they can draw.”

Leggitt and Rubin have known each other since 1973. Both grew up in the Denver metro area, but met while attending Colorado College, a private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs. After college, they went their separate ways — Leggitt became a science illustrator and Rubin became a botanical artist.

But in 1990, the two women reconnected through the Denver Botanic Gardens. Leggitt was teaching a class there, and Rubin had signed up for her class, not knowing her college friend was the instructor.

The two became colleagues in 1998 when Rubin began teaching at the Denver Botanic Gardens. She retired from there in December and Leggitt still teaches there.

“We’ve always enjoyed each other’s company,” Leggitt said, and “decided we wanted to promote basic, foundation drawing classes.”

Thus, their community drawing classes began. Starting off in the Washington Park neighborhood in summer 2009, the two artists have since moved their classes to a private studio in Platte Park.

Any teen or adult in the community is welcome to take the classes, which are meant to be a challenge, yet accessible, for all level of art students, the artists said.

“The whole point of our classes is to give people confidence in their drawing skills,” Rubin said.

The classes are observational drawing workshops, with subject matter that’s readily available in any home — though Rubin and Leggitt bring the objects, which can be anything from feathers to kitchen utensils to shoes.

People have many different reasons for wanting to learn to draw or polish their skill, Leggitt said. For example, she and Rubin said they’ve heard their students say they took the class so they could sketch when travelling, and others so they could draw their own greeting cards.

The two women “tag-team teach” the classes, they said, but each has their specialty and bring their combined expertise to the workshops.

“I love passing my artistic expertise onto new students, but it’s also a reciprocal thing,” Leggitt said. “I learn just as much from them as they learn from me.”

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