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Testimonials by my Students

Please take a moment to read some testimonials from my students, and to view their beautiful artwork, below their kind words. Throughout the years, I have been abundantly blessed by the privilege of offering art instruction to thousands of students of all ages. From the young artists I introduced to drawing and painting, to the “seasoned” citizens, some, who have never taken an art class, I have the unique honor to share their success. Many of my young students have earned fine art degrees at universities and art academies throughout the nation; a couple have earned a master’s degree in fine art.  Among my adult students, countless of them have won First Place and Best of Show awards in various art competitions. Many are enjoying careers as professional artists, and a few have gone on to become art instructors on their own right. In my opinion, nothing in life is more fulfilling than to share your gift with others.

Color Pencil Artist

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Spotlight on a Special Student

Charles Paine

    I'm currently a sophomore and fine arts major studying at Western Carolina University in Cullowee, North Carolina, and I have had a desire to create things on paper ever since I was very young. I began taking classes from Mark Menendez at age 11, and he taught me to draw superheroes and basic perspective. He also introduced me to his method of drawing the human eye and face, which has fascinated me to this very day.

   Every minute of his teachings about light and shadow, figure drawing, and negative space are mind-blowing. I also learned about proportion, perspective and placement, all new concepts to me. He has taught me to draw swiftly and freely in pencil and charcoal. I have also begun to paint in oils.

     One of his beliefs is that it is not talent alone that makes one an artist, but that it can only be achieved with much practice. By following this advice, I have become more confident in my drawing and painting, as has the hundreds of students he has instructed through the years.

   Mark Menendez is one of the most wonderful, humble and positive influences to be around. He is passionate about art, humorous and encouraging. I consider him a close friend, a second father, a mentor, and extremely talented at what he does. I feel very fortunate that he is part of my life.

  If you have a strong desire to learn to draw and paint, I highly recommend that you take lessons from him.

Kathy Hopper

    I happened to wander into a local craft store here in Waynesville, NC, looking for something to occupy my time. There was a room in the back of the store that I peeked into, and found an art class in progress. I was a bit embarrassed, but the instructor very warmly invited me to come in and join them. I had never taken art and never thought of myself as being able to “draw a stick figure”, but he said “Anyone can learn to draw”; so I gracefully (I hope) said I was just visiting, but would keep it in mind when we retired and were up here full-time.

    Mark had a portrait seminar in colored pencil the next Saturday. I attended and did a portrait of my grandson, Noah. I was amazed that it looked just like him! It was like someone lit a fire underneath me, and I haven’t stopped since! Mark has been there every step of the way on my new and fantastic journey – encouraging me when I felt like it was going right, boosting my confidence when needed, and generally being a wonderful guide, mentor and friend.

    So, thank you, Mark Menendez, an amazing instructor, for being a truly inspiring mentor and caring friend for staying with me as I go forward.  My only regret is that it took 65 years for me to find you and your classes.

Matt Pressley

I was a student in Mark Menendez’ art class throughout middle school and part of high school, a time period which I can say was very beneficial to me as a developing artist. I learned that Mark wasn’t the typical art teacher. but one who made sure that every student worked to their full potential while keeping the class fun and exciting.

    Mark challenged me in my art, and he wanted me to try something different each time I finished a piece, whether it was a new medium, a different subject,, or a foreign technique. At first, I was reluctant to try painting and wanted to limit myself to pencil, but Mark guided me through every step of the process, and I am proud to say that I completed many paintings in his class. 

    The best aspect of Mark’s class was the individual help and time that he dedicated to each student. He is a very versatile artist, and he often brought copies of his own work, which inspired me to reach my potential as an artist. 

    I would highly recommend Mark as an art instructor because he loves what he does, as well as loves his students, and he know how to keep their interest.

Vicki Simpson

    Learning to paint has been a lifelong dream of mine. In 2010, after a busy life, retiring and on the verge of turning 60, I began my study by taking drawing lessons & using colored pencils in a realistic style. 

    In 2012 when my husband retired, we were fortunate to be able to move to Ellijay, GA to live full time.  I was delighted to discover Gilmer Arts, meet Mark Menendez and begin to study with him there.   Under Mark’s instruction, I began painting with Acrylics and then moved on to Oils using mostly knives to paint with instead of brushes.  Mark is so versatile and he’s helping me evolve into my painterly style, without dictating or trying to force me in another direction.  I enjoy using all three mediums of colored pencil, acrylic and oil paints, and I’m  learning so much about color and light, how to “see” and to “keep it simple”. A gifted artist and teacher, Mark is my encourager, mentor and friend.

   I’m so grateful for and enriched by the opportunity to be able to study with Mark.

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