Brenda Respess

Brenda Respass.jpg

I have been interested in art

and the process since I was

old enough to pick up a

crayon. Color interested me

first I think, before line and

form. When I was in middle

school, my parents decided

that I should study art with

Mrs. Effie Raye Bateman Goff

in Belhaven. Mrs. Bateman

had a Masters Degree in Fine

Arts from Wake Forest


It was rare in eastern North

Carolina to have an artist

with these credentials who

would also teach private

students. She had quite a

few students in the Belhaven

area. Her students learned

not only the principles of art,

but to have a feeling of

satisfaction with the process.

We probably didn't realize it

at the time, but she was

instilling in us knowledge,

skills and vision with

her extraordinary talent.

After high school, I was

accepted into the East

Carolina University School

of Art where I earned a BS

in Art Education. We had to

provide a portfolio of our

work to judges before being

accepted. I was in

competition with students

from much larger schools

across the state who had, had

art classes in school since

kindergarten and through

twelfth grade. I am certain my

time spent with Mrs.

Bateman-Goff developed the

skills which allowed me to

attend the School of Art.

After college, I was employed

as an art teacher for a large

city school system. My school

had about 400 students and

was 7th grade only. Once I

began teaching, I really wasn't

interested in painting for

myself. Seeing the joy and

pleasure children

experienced, teaching them

to see the best in their work

and building on that, was

my reward. And for some,

I knew this was the only

class they could excel in.

A few years ago, I realized

that it was time for me to

seriously paint again.

Getting started wasn't easy...

like having writers block.

I had painters block. A friend

suggested I attend classes

with her at Mattie Arts

Center in Swan Quarter to

study with a well known

artist from Richmond, VA,

Mark Heirholzer. His unique

(to me) approach helped me

find a new vision to build on.