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Cheryl D. McClure, Freedom through Abstraction

Cheryl McClure has always enjoyed the advantages abstract painting allows.  Instead of being bound by the confines plein air landscape painting imposes, she is much happier letting the memory and feel of a place inform the direction her abstract paintings ultimately take.  She is interested in the formal elements of surface, color relationships, and the design aspects of a painted surface rather than just rendering her version of reality.  By following this path, Cheryl has truly found freedom through abstraction.

Cheryl McClure painting
Farther Than the Eye Can See 1, 2001, a/c, 30 x 24 inches
Beginnings:

In 1945, Cheryl D. McClure was born in the small town of Hugo, Oklahoma, located just across the Red River from Paris, Texas.  As opposed to many children who become artists, she did not spend all her spare time drawing or even showing much interest in art as a young child.   However, when art did start to interest her, she remembered that from a very early age, she was oddly more interested in the shapes and colors that formed the subject of an artwork, than the actual subject itself.

At the age of 8, she decided that she would like to try her hand at painting, so her father signed her up for the only art class in town.  He bought her the required artist materials, and she joined the class.  To her utter disappointment, she discovered that the only painting taught in this class was how to paint my number.

Painting by Cheryl McClure
Collioure1, 2004, a/c, 36 x 48 inches
Finding One’s Passion:

In her early 20’s she moved to Longview, Texas and started to involve herself as a volunteer at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts.  She also started attending lectures and demonstrations sponsored by the East Texas Fine Arts Association.  Cheryl said of this period that she learned a great deal about art and artists, and this interaction inspired her to attend a watercolor class associated with ETFAA.  She found watercolor tedious because to do it well required a lot of compositional preplanning, but it also showed her the importance of negative space.

A Cheryl McClure painting
Facade 13, 2005, a/c, 36 x 48 inches
Developing a Studio Practice:

On her own, she explored working in other mediums like charcoal and pastel.  The medium she ultimately gravitated to was acrylic.  This medium allowed her to quickly layer and texture the paint on a support without having to wait the long periods between applications, that oil paint would often require.  This allowed her to be more gestural and spontaneous with her paint application, an approach better suited to her preferred studio practice.

Diptych by Cheryl McClure
Wonderous Place 1&2, 2001, a/c, 29.75 x 63.75 inches

When Cheryl paints with acrylic on canvas, she does so quickly, allowing her feelings to be expressed with determined gestural strokes.  After reaching a point of indecision, she will stop and spend time studying where the painting stands and determining what is needed next to advance it towards completion.  She then repeats this process until the elements of color, texture, and their relationships harmonize.

Artist working at the Mississippi Art Colony, c.2000
Cheryl painting at the Mississippi Art Colony, Utica, MC, c.2000
Discovering Encaustic:

In 2005, she discovered Encaustic.  Cheryl was excited by how quickly a layer of wax would cool and harden, allowing her to quickly apply another translucent wax layer of color and add texture.  Although it was not as freeing as using acrylic pigments, it provided another medium that was sympathetic to her preferred working method. This became another compatible medium for her to use in her quest to find freedom through abstraction.

Encaustic by Cheryl McClure
Patina 2, 2007, Encaustic on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches

She became well known as an artist and arts patron in Longview, ultimately living there for 41 years.  As her reputation grew, she developed long-term relationships with 5 galleries around the country.  In addition to an extensive exhibition history, she is asked to teach painting workshops and her work is often used to illustrate books.

Greeting Guests at an exhibition opening
Cheryl greeting guests to the opening of her solo show at West End Gallery, in Winston Salem, NC, 2005
Accomplishments:

I asked Cheryl what things she was most proud of in her artistic career to date.  She quickly listed three things:

Book Cover showing Cheryl's work
The updated version of “The New Creative Artist, A Guide to Developing Your Creative Spirit,” 2006 by Nita Leland showing Cheryl’s artwork on the cover
    1. One of the books that was most influential on her as an artist was, A Fine Artist’s guide to Expanding Your Creativity.  She was thrilled when one of her paintings was chosen to be on the cover of its updated edition titled, The New Creative Artist, Revised, Expanded Edition, a Guide to Developing your Creative Spirit.
    2. The Poet Theodore Worozbyt asked Cheryl to collaborate on a book of his poetry titled Smaller Than Death, published by Knut House Press in 2015.  In addition to the book’s cover, 15 of her graphic wax resin paintings were illustrated in color.  They were from a series of paintings she did titled Johnson Creek Field Notes, inspired by walking along a creek that runs through her property.
    3. In 2011, she was a finalist for the Hunting Art Prize, an annual event to award $50,000 to a Texas artist for excellence in drawing and painting.
painting by Cheryl McClure
Little Pieces of Land 31, 2009, a/c, 40 x 30 inches

For the past 12 years, she has lived on a farm located just outside New London, a little town Southeast of Tyler, Texas.  Her three room second floor studio has a room set up for painting and a dedicated well-ventilated room set up for her to work in Encaustic when she wants a change.  She works most every day either producing or thinking about producing her next adventure into her world of abstraction.

*****

Other Artist Blog Posts:

An image of the artist ELLEN SODERQUIST & Drawing the Nude
Detail image of an Otis Huband painting, there is a sculpture of a nude female torso in the center of the interior of a studioOTIS HUBAND: A Consummate Artist
Landscape of a farm house and a windmill by William ElliottDallas Painter WILLIAM ELLIOTT (1909-2001)
photo of a young Valton Tyler smoking a cigarette in the printroom at SMUThree Important Early Paintings by VALTON TYLER
Photo of the printmaker working in his studioYUKIO FUKAZAWA: Master Printmaker
A mixed-media work on paper by M. J. LeeM. J. LEE Estate Gifts to the Amon Carter Museum
An early painting of a male deer standing in the foreground of a deep rugged landscapeEarly Career Paintings by JIM STOKER: The Eternal Naturalist
a brush, pen and ink landscape drawing by Everett SpruceDrawings from the Estate of EVERETT FRANKLIN SPRUCE: Texas’ Most Celebrated Modernist
Watercolor and collage of an abstracted landscape by M. LeeMARJORIE JOHNSON LEE, An American Modernist
Photograph of John Albok with his cameraIntroduction to the photographs of JOHN ALBOK, Part II: the Photographic Archives Collection

 

To see all available FAE Collector Blog Posts, jump to the Collector Blog Table of Contents.

To see all available FAE Design Blog Posts,  jump to the Design Blog Table of Contents.

Sign up with FAE to receive our newsletter, and never miss a new blog post or update! 

Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

For comments about this blog or suggestions for a future post, contact Madeleine at mbogan@fineartestates.com.

 

The FAE Collector Blog Table of Contents

The FAE Collector Blog provides easy access to more in-depth information about the Collections and Artists that appear on the FAE Website.  The FAE Collector Blog Table of Contents consists of:

  1. Most Recent Post
  2. Collections
  3. Artists

1. Most Recent Post:

Artist standing in her studioCHERYL D. McCLURE, Freedom through Abstraction

 

2. Collections:

Katherine Brimberry and Mark Smith standing behind etching pressFlatbed Press: A Texas Fine Art Institution
Andy and Beckie Reisberg stand in the main exhibition space at Phonographic Archives GalleryThe Photographic Archives Collection of Andy and Becky Reisberg
Regionalist landscape watercolor by Charles T. BowlingThe Dorothy and Mat Garland Collection

 

 

3. Artists:

Artist standing in her studioECHERYL D. McCLURE, Freedom through Abstraction
An image of the artistELLEN SODERQUIST & Drawing the Nude
Detail image of an Otis Huband painting, there is a sculpture of a nude female torso in the center of the interior of a studioOTIS HUBAND: A Consummate Artist
Landscape of a farm house and a windmill by William ElliottDallas Painter WILLIAM ELLIOTT (1909-2001)
photo of a young Valton Tyler smoking a cigarette in the printroom at SMUThree Important Early Paintings by VALTON TYLER
Photo of the printmaker working in his studioYUKIO FUKAZAWA: Master Printmaker
A mixed-media work on paper by M. J. LeeM. J. LEE Estate Gifts to the Amon Carter Museum
An early painting of a male deer standing in the foreground of a deep rugged landscapeEarly Career Paintings by JIM STOKER: The Eternal Naturalist
a brush, pen and ink landscape drawing by Everett SpruceDrawings from the Estate of EVERETT FRANKLIN SPRUCE: Texas’ Most Celebrated Modernist
Watercolor and collage of an abstracted landscape by M. LeeMARJORIE JOHNSON LEE, An American Modernist
Photograph of John Albok with his cameraIntroduction to the photographs of JOHN ALBOK, Part II: the Photographic Archives Collection

 

*****

To see all available FAE Design Blog Posts,  jump to the Design Blog Table of Contents.

Sign up with FAE to receive our newsletter, and never miss a new blog post or update! 

Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

For comments about this blog or suggestions for a future post, contact Madeleine at mbogan@fineartestates.com.

Flatbed Press: A Texas Fine Art Institution

It would be accurate to say that Austin-based Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking is one of Texas’ most respected Fine Art Institutions.  Its antecedent, Flatbed Press was founded in 1989 when artist/educators Katherine Brimberry and Mark Lesly Smith partnered to open a Fine Art Press in a small warehouse on West 3rd Street, just west of downtown.  Following the model of the famed Dallas-based Peregrine Press, their dream was to make the printmaking arts available to emerging artists, especially those who lived/worked in Texas.

An image of Flatbed's first location.
West 3rd Street Studio

Katherine and Mark equipped their space with everything they needed to produce prints in the traditional relief, planographic, and intaglio techniques and provided a gallery space for exhibitions of prints.  Since both had full-time teaching positions, they spent most of their spare time teaching interested artists the art of printmaking, and then editioned the works they produced.  They also pursued publishing projects, did contract printing for those artists who were experienced, and allowed artists to rent the presses when available.  They quickly became known for their collaborative skills and were sought out by those artists who seriously wanted to see how their vision would translate into the medium.

This image shows the interior of the first Flatbed press Room.
Press room at the 3rd Street warehouse location

We need More Space: First Move

This is an exterior view of the MLK site Flatbed moved to.
Flatbed Press’ second location at 2830 E. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin

They realized that their West 3rd Street space did not allow for growth, so in 1999, they moved their operation to an 18,000+ square foot warehouse in East Austin on Martin Luther King Blvd.  To commit fully to the project, both Katherine and Mark gave up their teaching positions to run Flatbed full time.  They wanted to make their new home more than a press and gallery, so they subleased the space they did not need to artists and other creatives.

Image of hallway in the MLK bldg.
Looking down the hall to the press room in the MLK building
An image of the press room with two people sending behind a table proofing prints
Ann Conner and Katherine Brimberry reviewing Ann’s Prints in the press room

In the years that followed, Flatbed became the most highly respected press in Texas.  A partial list of the Texas artist luminaries the press has either published or printed for includes: Terry Allen, Luis Jiménez, Mary McCleary, Melissa Miller, Andrea Rosenberg, John Alexander, Keith Carter, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Billy Hassell, Sharon Kopriva, Bert Long, Linda Ridgeway, Julie Speed, David Everett, and James Surls.  In addition to their standing as a fine art press, their building became the epicenter of the burgeoning East Austin arts scene.

image of Flatbed press owners Mark Smith, Katherine Brimberry, and Lois Jiménez stand at the press
Mark, Katherine, and Lois Jiménez stand at the press

Co-founder Mark Smith left the business in 2012 to pursue his own art.  However, because of his ongoing friendship with Katherine, Mark collaborated with her on an anniversary book about the press titled Flatbed Press at 25, published by the University of Texas Press in 2016.

image of the cover of the Flatbed Press book published by UT Press
Published by University of Texas Press

Losing their lease: Second Move

As often happens when artists move into an area, it becomes gentrified, rents soar, and either the artist is hit with lease renewals they cannot afford or the landlord decides to not renew at all so they can repurpose their buildings.  In this case, in 2019, Flatbed fell victim to the latter scenario.

image of the front entrance to the current Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking
Entrance to the Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking, 3701 Drossett Drive, Suite 190, Austin
Image of the Flatbed sign on the side of the building.
Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking, side view

At this point, most people who had reached a normal retirement age and were faced with losing their lease would have closed their business.  But instead, Katherine decided that what she had built was more important and needed to continue.  She moved the Press to a new 6,000 square foot space, renamed it Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking.

Image of the community press room in the new building
The Community Press Room

In addition to what they have always been doing, Katherine made the business more community oriented with print making classes and 24-hour membership access.  She also designed a new gallery into the space, so Flatbed is able to host both traditional and experimental print-based exhibitions.

The flat file storage room in the new building.
Flatbed’s flat-file room
The new gallery space during an artist talk
Gallery talk at the new exhibition space

Katherine the Great:

Katherine standing behind a press in the press room of the first building
Katherine standing next to a 3rd Street Flatbed press

What has made Flatbed such a successful institution are the people who have managed it.  In Katherine’s case, because of her teaching background, calm demeanor, and depth of knowledge, she excels at collaborating with artists.  After working together on a project, artist Betty Ward called her an extreme facilitator, then added, Working with Kathy was almost like, working with yourself.

Katherine examining a proof print as it is being pulled off the plate.
Katherine pulling a proof off the printing matrix

Regarding her role, Katherine says, The main objective of a publishing press is to help artists who may not be familiar with printmaking.  Our role is to help them create work in the fine art print medium by being technical collaborators.  All the mark-making and decision-making is their own, with our technical assistance.  There is a long tradition of this type of collaboration in the printmaking world.  If the artist approves and the type of technique allows it, we are able to create small editions of hand-printed multiples.

Katherine pulling a proof off a large intaglio plate
Collaborating with artist Lance Letscher

The prints she helps publish vary in style, technique, subject, and size, but are all the unique creations of the artists by their own hands.  Some of the techniques derive from the 17th century, and some involve the latest digital resources.  The artist’s experience in the shop is often an experimental blend of old and new printmaking processes.  Each project is artist-driven; the shop’s motto is- What would happen if . . .?

Prints from the Flatbed Collection:

FAE is pleased to be collaborating with Flatbed and now has prints available from the Flatbed Press collection.   Check back regularly to see what new works have been posed by this Texas fine art institution.

*****

Available Flatbed Press prints on FAE.

Other Related Available Collection Blog Posts:

Andy and Beckie Reisberg stand in the main exhibition space at Phonographic Archives GalleryThe Photographic Archives Collection of Andy and Becky Reisberg
Regionalist landscape watercolor by Charles T. BowlingThe Dorothy and Mat Garland Collection

 

To see all available FAE Collector Blog Posts, jump to the Collector Blog Table of Contents.

To see all available FAE Design Blog Posts,  jump to the Design Blog Table of Contents.

Sign up with FAE to receive our newsletter, and never miss a new blog post or update! 

Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

For comments about this blog or suggestions for a future post, contact Madeleine at mbogan@fineartestates.com.

Three Important Early Paintings by Valton Tyler

In 1969, at the age of 25, the exceptionally talented Visionary painter Valton Ray Tyler painted these three extraordinary and extremely rare to market oil paintings that are now available on FAE.  At the time, although his living conditions had stabilized, he was suffering radical mood swings caused by his life-long fight with Manic Depression, or what is now known as Bipolar Disorder.  All three are different in temperament and foreshadow the direction his work would take over the next 48 years.

Image of early Painting by Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled (Crucifixion) 1969, oil on canvas, 40 x 48 Inches
Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled (Crucifixion) 1969, oil on canvas, 40 x 48 Inches
Image of Painting by Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled 1969 oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 27 3/4 inches
Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled 1969 oil on canvas, 27 3/4 x 27 3/4 inches
Image of early painting by Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled 1970, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches
Valton Ray Tyler (1944-2017), Untitled 1970, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches

In the beginning of 1970, Valton’s life would take a radical swing towards the Manic.  His brother was desperate to try to help Valton find his way and to determine if he really had talent, or if his artwork was just self-devised therapy.  He brought Valton and a portfolio of his drawings to Dallas art dealer, Donald Vogel.  Vogel was impressed enough with Valton’s talent and creativity that he arranged for Valton to use the printmaking department at Southern Methodist University under the watchful eye of Larry Schoelder, who ran the department.  To help keep Valton supplied, Vogel agreed to purchase all of Valton’s plates and paper as long as he wanted to produce prints.  Valton became sort of an artist in residence without portfolio at SMU and worked when classes were not in session, often well into the  night.  During this intense period of productivity, by October of 1971, Valton had started editions on over 50 different intaglio prints.

Image of Valton Tylers etching titled "First Etched Stage"
First Etched Stage, line etching

Valton used themes and working methods in these three earlier paintings that he modified to use in making his black and white intaglio prints.  He used a similar cross hatching technique to give the forms he created volume and, when a figure appeared in his prints, he often elongated their limbs in a sort of hyper-Mannerist style.

Image of Valton Tyler's etching titled "Environment Man," line etching
“Environment Man,” line etching
Image of a detail of "Environment Man" showing elongated limbs as in his earlier paintings
Detail  of Environment Man showing elongated limbs as in his earlier paintings

After Valton’s intensely focused period of printmaking, he started working in oil on stretched canvas.  With these works, unlike his earlier paintings and prints where three-dimensional form was derived from crosshatched strokes,

Image of an early painting by Valton Tyler, "Decameron," oil on canvas, 48 x 70 inches
Valton Tyler, Decameron, oil on canvas, 48 x 70 inches

Valton started to render form by carefully blended smooth shading.  With practice, Valton was able to subtly render a graduated background shade that would work its way across large canvases.  He also started to place his quasi-plant and machine-like organic forms into landscape settings.

Image of the Valton Tyler Painting, "Brace," oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches
Valton Tyler, Brace, oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches

Before Valton passed away, he was honored with a one-person show of his prints and paintings at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas.  Below is the last large painting  Valton painted before his death.  It was donated to the Amon Carter by one of his family members and is currently hanging in a transitional stairwell.

Image of Valton Tyler's last large Painting installed in a stairwell of The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas
Valton Tyler’s last large Painting installed in a stairwell at The Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas

*****

See all available works by Valton Tyler.

To see all available FAE Collector Blog Posts, jump to the Collector Blog Table of Contents.

To see all available FAE Design Blog Posts,  jump to the Design Blog Table of Contents.

Sign up with FAE to receive our newsletter, and never miss a new blog post or update! 

Browse fine artworks available to purchase on FAE.  Follow us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter to stay updated about FAE and new blog posts.

For comments about this blog or suggestions for a future post, contact Madeleine at mbogan@fineartestates.com.