As other people were shutting down businesses during the pandemic, Laurie Bremer of Elma decided it was a great time to continue investing in her fledgling painting instruction business. Ever the innovator, she had participants pick up “Grab & Paint” bags and then tune in while she instructed via Zoom! A self-taught artist, Bremer first picked up a paintbrush in 2017 and by July of 2021, she had rented out business space in downtown Elma. That’s where she teaches “Crafty Kiddos” classes to children and “Crafty Canvas” painting classes to all ages, as well as hosting private painting parties at various locations – and of course creating her own artwork. She also enjoys supporting various charity fundraisers with painting parties. When Bremer opened up Nellivander’s Shoppe at 313 W. Main St., it was clear by the hearty response that she was providing something that people wanted and needed. 

Photo by Gail Greenwood Ayres

“I think creating art is a respite from the chaos, whether it be the chaos in the world or personal chaos,” said Bremer, 64, a retired counselor. Her acrylic paintings, featuring a variety of subjects, methods and styles, line the walls of Nellivander’s Shoppe. Her current favorite technique is to paint a scene within a scene. All of her paintings, as well as a few art supplies, are available for sale.

On a recent Saturday, the storefront nearly filled with people of all ages and abilities who had signed up to paint. Each of her carefully separated “creation stations” included a table, chair and all the supplies needed, as well as a little grab bag of treats and coupons from local businesses for each painter. While she gives an example of a picture to paint and some basic instructions, Bremer loves watching the individual perspectives of each painter’s work unfold: “It’s so fun to see the differences. I don’t want you to have yours be like mine.” Last summer Bremer also frequently taught painting in Fleet Park during the Montesano Saturday Morning Market. People of various ages and abilities painting on a summer day added to the ambiance of the busy market scene.

“People who are artists are so respectful of what I’m doing. They seem mellow and humble and just see that I’m trying to encourage the creativity in others as well as express it myself,” she said, adding that every once in a while, she will have a young student whose natural ability is startling.

Likewise, just recently the Elma City Council has seen something promising in Bremer. It has approved her to spearhead a project called, “Our Wall,” where artists will be allowed to paint on the alley sides of Elma buildings. In addition, Mayor Jim Sorensen has asked her to head up a new Elma Arts Commission, with the task of presenting ideas on how to beautify the city with art. “We’re already brainstorming how to bring fine arts, music in the park, one-act plays, poetry readings, etc., into the public arena in Elma for people to enjoy together,” Bremer said.

For more information about her class schedule or to book a private party, Bremer can be contacted through Nellivander’s Shoppe on Facebook or by e-mailing her at