Whether they’re interested in yoga, learning how to paint, experimenting with pottery or becoming an amateur photographer, Rosalyn’s Art Studio owner Rosalyn Santerre can help her customers further a variety of artistic endeavors.

Rosalyn’s Art Studio in downtown Sultan offers a variety of art classes for adults and children, including pottery, watercolor, acrylics, oil painting, cartooning and card making. An eclectic person by nature, Santerre’s studio reflects her whimsical flair as it seeks to provide a safe, noncompetitive environment for kids and adults who wish to explore their artistic sides. Her sister, Madison Berry, teaches kids classes and helps keep things organized.

In addition to regularly scheduled classes, Santerre provides an open art studio 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Monday, where artists needing space for their crafts are welcome to come and work. For a $5 fee, Open Art Studio attendees can help themselves to Santerre’s abundant art supplies, including paints, aprons, canvas racks and dryers.

Other activities at the studio include “Paint and Sip” events, where attendees sip wine in a group setting while participating in a guided painting project.

Santerre lives in Gold Bar with her husband, Mike, and their two kids, Mason, 9, and Lily, 7. Last summer she founded the Gold Bar Farmer’s Market, which took place every Sunday next to U.S. 2. The market provided local farmers and artists a location to display and sell their products, while offering community members a convenient way to shop local. Now, with her studio, she’s providing artists — seasoned and new — with a space where they can feel comfortable to come and create.

As a mother, it was important to her to create a welcoming environment for kids of all ages to come and experiment with art. Sports aren’t for everyone, she said, and kids need a healthy outlet. Santerre knows from experience that sometimes all it takes to unlock a person’s potential is the right teacher.   

A lifelong artist, Santerre recalled a transformational moment that occurred while she was a student at Sultan High School. Jim Armstrong taught art and was amazing, Santerre said.

“He inspired me,” she said. “He was a really good teacher. He would get mad at me because I never finished my paintings. I’d go half way and I hated them, and so I’d throw them in the trash.”

One day, she was working on a piece called “Carl’s Junior Versus Ronald McDonald,” and no matter what she did, she could not get Ronald McDonald’s foot right. Armstrong came to find out how she was doing, listening patiently as Santerre explained to him why she hated the painting and wanted to scrap it. He encouraged her to finish her work.

She ignored him. At the end of class, she walked out into the commons and threw it in the garbage.

“The next day I’m at school and I go to art class and there’s my picture covered in food,” Santerre said. “He had found it, taken it out of the garbage and put it on my table.”

He told her, “Now you have to finish it with food on it.”

Santerre said it was a pivotal moment. She worked through the challenging aspects of her concept, finished the painting and loved it, because she had finally figured out how to see the beauty beyond the flaw. No piece of art is perfect, Armstrong told her; every piece of art has an imperfection. The trick is to push through the challenging parts and never give up.

“Carl’s Junior Versus Ronald McDonald” hangs proudly on the wall at Rosalyn’s Art Studio. She is hoping to be able to provide those transformational moments to her own students. 

After high school, Santerre’s family moved to California for a period, eventually returning to the Sky Valley. She’s dabbled in commercial art and photography but has always returned to painting. Once she began hosting Paint and Sip classes at the Sultan GroWashington and Ben Franklin craft store in Monroe, she realized how much she loved teaching painting.

“I’ve always wanted to open up a studio, I just never thought that I would be able to,” Santerre said.

While driving through Sultan one day, she noticed a For Lease sign on Main Street. On a whim, she called the landlord to inquire about the rent. To her surprise, it was quite manageable; even more so if she teamed up with another business owner.

So she partnered with Trilling Wind Yoga & Fitness instructor Josh Bathke.

After that, things came together as though it was meant to be. Her husband and a team of community volunteers turned out in full force to help, donating their time along with art supplies, stools and more. Gold Bar resident Ann Marie Bunch brought a collection of old aprons that had been collecting dust at the Sultan Volunteers of America Sky Valley Services Center. Tables were constructed out of old doors, an industrial sink was installed and the walls were decorated with art.

She officially opened her doors on Nov. 1.

“I’ve always been like a big believer that if something’s meant to happen, it will just happen. It won’t be a struggle,” Santerre said. “And it really wasn’t. It was a really smooth transition.”

Bathke transformed the back of the studio into a quiet yoga sanctuary. His schedule is varied, including morning and evening classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. 

To provide a more comprehensive selection of classes, Santerre has collaborated with friends and fellow artists, providing them the space to offer their passions. Her friend Lacey Drake facilitates Recovery Art Therapy Night, a monthly class providing recovering addicts and alcoholics an opportunity to enjoy fellowship while accomplishing a recovery-based art project.

Recovery Art Therapy Night classes take place 6-8 p.m. the third Friday of every month and offers a variety of different art projects. The classes include coffee, snacks and a speaker.

Pottery is taught by local artist Pat Colyar, who provides instruction plus the kiln firing, which is done at an off-site location. Santerre would eventually like to purchase a kiln, but for now they are cost-prohibitive. The new year will bring a photography series, and Santerre eventually hopes to incorporate music. It’s all a work in progress, she said, and all are welcome to come and visit.

Rosalyn’s Art Studio is located at 409 Main St. in Sultan. For more information about Rosalyn’s Art Studio, visit rosalynsartstudio.com or the Facebook page at facebook.com/rosalynsartstudio. For more information about Trilling Wind Yoga, visit trillingwindyoga.com.