Someone You Should Know: Artist Shares Passion For Painting

Bismarck, N.D. - Kathy Wagner is a realtor by trade. But on the night I met her, she was an artist.

"I think it's amazing that you can do this and you have no talent!" she said as she put the finishing touches on her painting: a colorful unicorn against a bright pink background.

Wagner is one of dozens of blossoming Picassos—people from all walks of life brushing up on their creative sides, thanks to the help of Nina Loeks.

"I hear 'I can't draw a stick-man'. I hear that a lot," says Loeks, the owner of Art from the Heart. "But when you walk them through it, by the time they're done, you see that light bulb go off, and they're really proud of what they're able to accomplish."

Loeks opened Art from the Heart in the summer of 2017, where she hosts classes for people of all ages to uncover their hidden talents. She says it's her dream job, and a leap she would have never made if it hadn't been for a harrowing incident on a North Dakota road.

"It was kind of one of those epiphany moments. I rolled a little car four times on the interstate," she tells me. "And the last thing the highway patrolman told me was, 'There must be something you're supposed to do yet.'"

The crash had a big impact on the Bismarck native—big enough to cause her to reconsider the art of the possible at 50 years old.

"I didn't want to be seventy and wonder what if." So Loeks drew up a business plan and opened up shop—and it as it turns out, there's no shortage of people eager to put brush to canvas.

"It's just a little curve," she said to the class, brush in hand as she demonstrated how to paint the unicorn. "And you add some eyelashes." Loeks often teaches several classes a day like this one. It keeps her plenty busy—but she says seeing adults and kids alike take pride in their work makes it all worth it.

"It just feels like you accomplished something great in your life," says six-year-old Haylie Hoefer, describing her completed canvas.

"It makes me feel, 'Yeah!' There's a little more to me that I didn't know I had. So I love it!" Kathy Wagner says.

"Some people need that subtle little nudge to find that," explains Loeks. "They're not gonna jump in on their own. So I'm happy to be the nudge."

Nina Loeks—an artist helping people color their worlds—is someone you should know.

There's a long list of painting classes you can enroll in yourself. Click here to learn more.

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