We had the good fortune of connecting with Cheryl Kline and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cheryl, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where there is no other choice but to take a risk and dive in… having no idea what you are about to be confronted with. Going to college right after high school was one of those times. To me it was not an option, it was a given, I was going. My single, working Mother only had enough money to help me my first year. After that, reality set in. I soon switched to night classes and juggled 2 jobs, a crappy car that kept breaking down so I had to take 4 to 6 buses a day. Eating was a luxury and I opted for a pack of cigarettes and coffee instead. My stellar 4.0 gpa from high school quickly went down to barely 3.0. But I graduated and earned my degree. Deciding to become an artist is another huge crazy risk. To get my skills honed I began studying in Italy every summer for 8 years. After my first very successful show I decided it was now or never. I did not want to become an old woman and find myself sitting on a porch one day thinking “I wish…I could have…would have.” Just the thought of never giving it a go was enough to propel me into another crazy time of struggling to pay bills, a mortgage and keep the faith that one day it will pay off. I had a very successful Design Business earning six figures but when art gets in your blood, it is an addiction with an insatiable thirst and the only relief is when your are working on your art. And so I dismissed all my clients, rented a studio and began a disciplined practice of working in my studio 8 hours or more per day and creating a body of work. I had many successful exhibitions and people kept asking me to teach them how to paint. One day my partner and I were driving through West Los Angeles and came upon the building where I studied with my first painting teacher- Jan Valentine Saether. The building was for sale. My partner urged me to call the number. “You’re out of your mind, I can’t afford this!” But as fate would have it, yet another risk, we ended up buying the building. That was in 2007 with 2008 just creeping up. The crash hit the art market very badly, every gallery I was showing in from Malibu to San Francisco closed. All painting sales stopped. I was not about to lose our building and since I was already teaching a few classes, I created a school. I hired some of my artist friends in need of work and Kline Academy of Fine Art was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
As soon as you walk through our doors, you will be transported to another world… a working atelier where walls are hung with beautiful paintings…both classical and contemporary. Plaster casts for drawing from using the French academy techniques fill the rear studio. Natural light from skylights above fill the studio where artists work from the live model and the energy is electric!
Making Art is the most fulfilling activity and profession that one can choose. Your frustration ends at our front door which is why we are unlike any art school / atelier in Los Angeles. At Kline Academy, our focus is on our skill-based instruction so each person can create to their heart’s content which is why we tailor our instruction to the needs of the individual. All our instructors are professional working artists and I personally do not hire anyone who I would not want to study with myself.
Our historic based techniques that we teach are the result of a quest that has taken me across the globe. Our Instructors use the same techniques as the masters used centuries ago. Whether you are a proven artist that has hit a ceiling that you just can’t seem to break through and find your voice or someone who has put your life on hold for others but now have time for your creative spirit or an anxious exec who’s world demands you have all the answers and you are in need of a stress relief or a teen that’s outgrown your rec classes and need a place where your age is not an identifier and you can learn the techniques to let your art soar, Kline Academy will transport you to where you need to go. Kline Academy is an amazing community of artists and the place where your creativity ignites …where your personal Renaissance begins.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day one: J. Paul Getty Museum. After two or 3 hours of perusing the galleries, we head to their signature restaurant with killer views and delicious food paired with a lovely Chardonnay. Before we leave and head down the tram, a stop at the book store is a must. Just in time for a beautiful walk on Will Rodgers Beach and to see the sunset. Day two: Temescal Canyon hike. We pack a lunch from Erewhon market and go to the trail head. The hike is about 2 hours depending on how many stops to take photos but we reach the waterfall and find a picnic spot. Taking the high road back we work up a great appetite and agree to meet for dinner at Pearl Dragon in Pacific Palisades. Day three and four: Temecula wine country and hot air balloon ride. We spend two days, one night at Ponte Vinyard, wine tasting and going through the shops in Old Town. Day four: Driving up the coast we take our wet suits and boogie boards to Carrillo Beach, grab a sandwhich from the market on the way up and spend the day playing in the water. For dinner and a magical night we go to Inn of the Seventh Ray…stunning. Day five: Shopping in downtown garment and flower district. We park at 9th and Wall and find ourselves in a maze of shops, feeling the urge for Mexican food we head to Olvera Street and sit outside sipping Margaritas and feasting on huge portions of delicious Mole Day six: Feeling a bit exhausted and in need of a spiritual fix, we arrive at the Self Realization Center on Sunset. Walking the garden around the lake, meditating and breathing in the beauty. Day seven: We sign in for a life drawing class at Kline Academy. Live nude models pose as artists of all levels draw and work on their skills. After class we walk over to a classic Oaxacan restaurant and Tequila tasting at Madre on National Blvd. Tired from the day we head straight for the pool and jacuzzi…movie on Netflix.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Mother deserves a huge credit to who I am as a woman and a warrior. She was my biggest fan and always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be and to always be an individual…don’t be like everyone else. The second person is my partner who has always encouraged and praised me and continued “the sky is the limit” attitude. Having people who believe in you is rocket fuel for the soul. It propels you when you are down and injects your self esteem with purpose and will to not look back, don’t give up and keep going forward.
Advanced Classical Painting student Nayda working on her Master Copy, Painter’s palette – teaching color mixing, Charcoal Drawing from our beginning drawing class, Instructor demonstrating cast head drawing, Instructor Scott Yeskel demonstrating the start of an Abstract Painting, Cheryl Kline’s book on Portrait Painting, Cloud painting by Cheryl Kline, Instrcutor and Studio Manager Juri Umagami demonstrating classical painting techniques.