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Art Tech students learn new technique, hear about the business side of art

Students in Ben Whitcomb’s art classes at Arts and Technology High School were recently treated to a visit from a working artist.

Ursula Barton stopped by the school Oct. 8 to share her experience and offer encouragement to students who might want to become professional artists.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - Ethan Rumph, left, and Kyra Burniston experiment with the ink techniques demonstrated by guest artist Ursula Barton. An Oregon artist, Barton works primarily in ink, creating cityscapes that use the fluid nature of her medium to create dynamic pieces of art. Her success is relatively recent, and she shared the story of both her struggles and her success with the students.

The latter is why Whitcomb had her speak to his students.

“I really want them to get another real-life perspective of what it’s like to be an artist. She doesn’t just show them her current work. She describes the journey,” Whitcomb said. “You have to keep working hard and taking risks and reinventing yourself.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: KATE HOOTS - ATHS art student Ethan Rumph watches as guest artist Ursula Barton demonstrates her ink technique at ATHS Oct. 8.A 2010 graduate with a BFA in illustration from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Barton worked at first with pen and paint. When she developed her own unique ink technique, she connected with an audience that appreciated her work.

“I found my trend,” Barton said. “I found my voice, my style. I was starting to build a business.”

Once Barton began selling original pieces, she began making prints and selling them too. She reinvested her money into new product lines, including greeting cards and postcards.

“Once you find something that has mass appeal, don’t be afraid to make money off it,” she told the students. “Go for it.”

Following a slide presentation of her artistic journey, Barton worked with students to create their own pieces, using ink and the techniques she demonstrated.

Visit her website at ursulabarton.com to see samples of her artwork.

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter, @CommuniKater.

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