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Meet Andria (Andie) Burchett

Owner & Founder of Beech Tree Studio

Fine Art in Colored Pencil

When Andie’s husband, Steve, planted a small beech tree in the front yard of

their new Geneva home several years ago, neither had any idea that it would

someday branch into something far greater than just a lovely tree.

Fifteen years later, Beech Tree Studio, has blossomed into an art school staple in

the Fox Valley area and beyond. Andie teaches not only at her home studio in

Geneva, but also in downtown Geneva on Third Street. She has teachers

instructing from their home-based studios in Elgin, Streamwood and

Montgomery. Sessions are 5-weeks long interspersed with various specialty

workshops throughout the year such as portraiture or Christmas card design.

“Working with colored pencils takes patience – it’s not a fast process,” Andie says

who has used them exclusively since 1990 and is a signature member of the

Colored Pencil Society of America. “As a teacher, I find it so rewarding to work

with someone first starting out and see them express amazement at the quality of

their finished piece – that joy and surprise never gets old for me!”

Andie’s students – all adults -- seem to fall into a few common categories. They

are individuals who always wanted to explore drawing but because of family or

professional constraints couldn’t previously find the time. Still others actually

have degrees in fine art and embrace the discipline of weekly classes to complete

their projects. And finally, there are those who are simply, literally drawn to learn

more about working with colored pencils.

“Drawing with colored pencils is not searching to match a color to just one

pencil,” Andie explains. “It’s more complicated than that. I compare the process

to looking into a stream – where its layers become clearer the longer you look –

from leaves at the top to rocks at the bottom. Layering and blending colors

effectively are what creates visual depth and realism in the final piece.”

Andie’s inviting studios offer artists comfortable chairs positioned at clean work

tables with individual lighting and electric sharpeners per student. Hot and cold

beverages along with soft background music add to the welcoming atmosphere.

And since classes are three hours in length, students often bring treats to share.

Although Andie orchestrates smaller art shows for her students throughout the

year at various locations, the highlight is her annual year-end art celebration held

each November at Chapelstreet Church in Geneva. It showcases student artwork

from all her studios. Open to the public, live music, catered food, and a separate

Christmas section spotlights the students’ designs from the Christmas card

workshop where students will see their framed artwork displayed next to its

printed Christmas card for the first time. Christmas card sales have benefitted

local charities selected by Andie and her family.,

“Each week, I enjoy watching the connections my students make on so many

levels,” Andie sums up. “From learning new techniques that expand how they

approach their latest projects, to the laughter, fun and friendships formed – it’s

gratifying to see how the art experience lifts spirits and enriches our lives.”

For more information about Beech Tree Studios, visit:


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