By Brantley Watson, from Sherman Oaks Patch, July 11, 2012

Linda Wehril of Pastimes for a Lifetime Inc. has found her artistic abilities have cleared a path for her greatest passion.

Asking Linda Wehrli to choose between painting and playing the piano is equivalent to asking a mother which child she loves more.


“I can’t choose,” she said. “They’re both beautiful.”


Wehril is a longtime painter and pianist, as well as the founder of Pastimes for a Lifetime Inc., an art and piano school based in nearby Valley Glen.


But now, having studied every nuance of both artistic fields, Wehril finds greater joy in guiding one’s fingers than exercising her own.


“I have been hired to play local gigs and commission artwork for other people, but I enjoy the teaching more for some reason,” Wehril said. “They’re making art, I’m making artists.”


“There is an interaction with a student and I look forward to seeing them progress and seeing them the next week and seeing what happened while they were practicing.”


Wehril, who said her toddler coloring books ignited her passion for painting, says that her family lineage is one brimming with artistic ability. Her grandfather was a violist and her grandmother played the piano, while her father chose cello.


On her mother’s side of the family, interestingly enough, were the performance actors, namely, Vaudeville comedians.


Wehril says that her comedic pedigree is often prevalent in her teaching techniques.


“I always instill a little sense of humor with my teaching and that comes from the Vaudeville side,” Wehril said. “You remember through humor the best, so that helps my teaching.”


“I don’t require talent, I just require a sense of humor.”


Wehril’s students range from teenagers to senior citizens, but in her estimation, age is neither a hindrance nor motivator. Wehril’s chief concern is the mentality of her students.


“They may have the talent, but they have to have the passion,” Wehril said. “It’s just a personal passion. I’m not the kind who wants parents to push their kids to study piano or art because it needs to come from the students themselves.”


The correlation between the two art forms might be greater than some would expect. Learning to paint and draw requires an equal amount of patience often attributed to learning an instrument, according to Wehril.


“They’re very similar because there is a certain amount of discipline involved,” Wehril said. “The word tone is used in both and there is a similar amount of effort required to get good results in both.”


As far as which art form her students gravitate towards, Wehril said that with the current nature of society, there is a sense of instant gratification found in painting that will not be found in playing the piano.


“The piano is a very holistic activity,” Wehril said. “You need to be focused, so there is that time commitment. It’s a tough instrument to have as a hobby because it demands so much of you.”


Hence the personal interview that Wehril conducts with students prior to their piano lessons.


“You have to like not just the feel of the equipment, but how you feel around it,” said Wehril, who has seen a number of kids be pushed into playing piano by their parents. “You have to be drawn to this naturally. Then, we can go with it.”


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