In the end, it wasn’t the pandemic, and it wasn’t flagging enrolment that caused Laura Watmough to explain why her long-serving art instruction studio Hidden Talent would soon be closed.
“It's time to travel and it's time for grandkids,” she said. “Different irons in the fire; maybe a residency, maybe something. It's definitely time, but it's hard.”
Watmough recently announced that the five-week April-to-May session would be the studio’s last.
“What amazing things we did — from trade shows to travel; art walks to Edmonton Gallery shows; orchid art to the Venice Biennale; local and national contest winners; workshops with national and international artists; coffee breaks with culinary delights; children, teen and adult lessons; Christmas parties and summer art classes with the garage door open!” she announced on her website and on social media.
The fine art studio opened nearly 29 years ago and held classes in Campbell Business Park for most of that time, only moving to the same building as the Big Lake Artists’ Studios in Riel Business Park a few years ago.
She said that what “put her over the edge” was that it now seems more feasible to travel, something that has long appealed to the wanderlustful artist/teacher who has been known to host overseas art expeditions with groups of students. Now, it will just be her and her equally itinerant husband Ed travelling together.
Many students of all ages have come through the doors of Hidden Talent to learn the techniques of the Old Masters. Some pupils have enjoyed their education so much they kept coming back. One current student has been learning from Laura for 17 straight years, Watmough said.
Along the way, they have all had many successes and accomplishments. Watmough said she’s very satisfied to be able to retire from the business on her terms.
“I'm quite satisfied with what I've done. It's been wonderful. It's leaving on a high note. All of the things that have happened have been just amazing. It's been an art adventure rather than an actual business.”