North Texas Daily

Denton art instructor combines art, yoga courses to promote mindfulness

Denton art instructor combines art, yoga courses to promote mindfulness

Denton art instructor combines art, yoga courses to promote mindfulness
February 11
13:00 2023

Mindfulness, a state of focusing on the current moment, is a customary practice for those attempting to relieve stress. Two common ways to achieve mindfulness is through movement of the body and channeling inner thoughts via artistic outlets.

Local artist and yoga instructor Sherri Jones combines the two activities into one class at Wildflower Art Studio in downtown Denton.

“With the yoga [classes], I use painting as a meditation that allows people to visualize and put good things in [to their practice],” Jones said. “If you have something that is either neutral or really good for you, then you tend to move in a healthy, positive direction.”

Jones said she has been creating art her whole life. Her hobbies as a child included writing and playing music, as well as drawing. As she was raising her three children in Paradise, Texas, where she still lives today — she encouraged the arts while still allowing her kids to be creative and pursue their own interests.

“I was really, and still am, all about people connecting with what really matters to them and really tried to live that as a parent,” Jones said. “We were always creating something. We lived in the country and nature was a huge part of our life and a huge part of my art now.”

As an adult, she started a music ministry for children at her church. While designing sets for the ministry’s musical performances, she realized she liked making the sets more than she liked making music.

“I’m not a performer,” Jones said. “I’m not a ‘let’s follow the music on the page’ kind of girl.”

Once her children grew up, Jones studied art and later became a high school art teacher in the Bridgeport Independent School District.

“I’ve been painting professionally for 10 years, but my mission has remained the same – to help people know they’re very valuable,” Jones said. “In my classroom, I felt like art was a place that people learn to trust themselves and know that they matter.”

About seven years ago, Jones started to study yoga to help manage her autoimmune disease. The different yoga postures, breathing techniques and mindset practices are things Jones said she loves sharing during classes. She believes people can take what they learn and use them any time they need.

“Yoga has been tremendous in healing my body,” Jones said. “The word yoga means ‘union of body, mind and soul,’ and a big part of [my healing] was learning to listen to my body […] it heals you from the inside out.”

Jones’ oldest daughter, Emile Stewart, is the owner of Wildflower Art Studio. Stewart taught art at Northwest High School and Byron Nelson High School while teaching calligraphy and watercolor workshops from her dining room table on the side.

Eventually, the demand for Stewart’s classes became so high, she started selling workshop kits on Amazon. They eventually made it to a list of top sellers, which allowed her to open her studio.

“[As a child], I remember a lot of time spent in nature, which certainly inspired the name of my studio,” Stewart said. “We lived on lots of acreage of hills and wildflowers and spent a lot of time experiencing the wonder nature brings.”

In 2022, the studio was remodeled with a larger space that could accommodate yoga mats, as there was a high demand for yoga workshops among regular clients. Once there was available space, Jones combined her ability to teach both art and yoga to create new workshops at Wildflower.

“I am really inspired by my mom’s ability to connect art with yoga,” Stewart said. “I can teach art all day, but I cannot even imagine teaching yoga.”

In January, Jones taught Wildflower’s first watercolor and yoga class of its kind. Shelley Christner, Denton resident and small business owner of Home Again, attended the workshop after finding it through one of Wildflower’s Instagram posts.

“Yoga resets the mind, body and spirit to unleash creative expression,” Christner said. “It was such a peaceful and enjoyable practice.”

Jones’ next workshop will be a yoga class with a copper wall-hanging workshop on Feb. 18.

“I think any time you teach something, you learn so much,” Jones said. “I feel that when my motive is to benefit the person in the class […] I benefit greatly.”

Featured Image Sherri Jones does a yoga set next to her watercolor paintings in her home studio on Feb. 5, 2023. Photo by Makayla Brown

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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