Tag Archives: Texas Artist

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.

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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.

Otis Huband: A Consummate Artist

Otis Huband is a consummate artist in every sense of the word.  When engaged in conversation, he is very sociable and will talk about art in most any form, however, he is far more interested in producing art than talking about it. Otis’ mother vividly remembered when her son returned from his first day of kindergarten and announced that he was going to be an artist. Otis said she thought it was very cute at the time, but, when he had not changed his mind as a teenager, she worried that Otis would have a hard time making a living.
The artists Otis Huband standing in front of one of his paintings.
Otis Huband in his studio

Now at 87 years of age, he has still not changed his mind, nor has he lost his Virginia accent despite spending most of his life in Texas. Otis confirms his decision, To this day, I have never pursued any other course in my life. Nor was I ever tempted to do so. Nothing to me was ever as interesting or nebulous as art.

 

This image shows the entire painting whose detail was used as the main image.
Gilbert’s Garden, c.1960, o/c, 56 x 40 in.
EDUCATION & EDUCATOR:

Otis transferred from the California College of Arts & Crafts, located in Oakland, to the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1958 to finish his requirements for a BFA. During this time, he became proficient in all the traditional fine arts media. He loved being a student and said of the experience, I know that I learned more from my fellow students than from our well-intentioned and likable instructors. I would say that being in an environment five days a week with a congenial and, for the most part, serious group of seekers made a profound impression on me.

This is an image of an Otis Huband collage painting where newspapers were used showing the day before stock market closings.
A Closure, c.1989, 1989, mixed-media, 49 x 40 in.

In 1961, Otis received his MFA, also from Virginia Commonwealth University, and shortly thereafter traveled with his new bride, Anne, to Italy where he studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti, Perugia for a year. When funds ran low, they returned to the US, settling in Houston, Texas, where Anne was offered a job teaching math. In 1967, Otis became an Art Instructor at the Houston Museum School of Fine Arts (now Glassell School). He left the Museum School in 1971 determined to focus on his own work.

During the 70’s I wanted to find a unique voice uninfluenced by current styles or fashions. Something based on universal aesthetic principals that apply to all painting, both ancient and contemporary. 

Otis retired from teaching in 1982 after working as an art instructor at the Art League of Houston for 11 years.

A painting of an abstracted figure in a landscape filled with foliage.
Soft Rapollo 2, 2000, o/c, 52 x 37 in.

Six years before Otis retired from teaching, he had become so frustrated with the commercial side of the art world, he stopped making any effort to show his work in art galleries. Instead, he opted to focus on painting and sold his work privately.

During this period, he was invited to have solo shows in non-commercial settings in Houston such as the University of Houston and the Health Science Center in 1985, the Goethe Institute in 1889, and the Museum of Printing History in 1993. He did not show his work again in a commercial gallery until art dealer and collector William Reaves offered him a retrospective at his new Houston gallery in 2010 when Otis was in his late 70’s. Valley House Gallery in Dallas began representing Otis in 2014 and produced a monograph on his work in 2019.

A still life in which the artist used the device of an oval composition in a rectangle.
Weeping Woman with Smoking Leg, c.1970, o/c, 40 x 56 in.
STUDIO PRACTICE:

Otis’ studio practice begins each morning by creating a series of small collages, before he starts to paint. The act of assembling the collages allows him to …make the transition from cognitive thinking to perceptual impulses, in other words, to bypass thinking in favor of impulsive feeling. The collages that result, made from any two- dimensional material that has been touched or altered by human interaction, are not studies for paintings. Otis states the collages, establish an emotional relationship to the materiality of being, seeing, and feeling, and they adjust his mindset for approaching the canvas that awaits him.

A patterned tangle of figures and decorative fabrics.
Interior with Figures, 1996, o/c, 48 x 36 in.

Although his early work was painted with brushes, his later works are composed primarily with oil stick. He loves the freedom oil stick provides as it allows continuous lines to be created without having to interrupt an inspired passage by reloading a brush.

This recent painting shows Huband's use of oil stick to create his current signature style of flat two dimensional areas of patterned space.
Mystical Circus, 2017, o/c 70 x 40 in.

For Otis, the hardest thing is placing the first mark on a pure white canvas. Once that first gestural line or shape is established, sometimes without even looking at the canvas as it is applied, he can then explore all the possibilities it suggests. As the painting evolves, each mark informs the next, figures, or parts of figures often emerge to become elements of an abstracted whole.

For me, painting is like an archaeological excavation.  Unexpected treasures are sometimes found, truths revealed, and aesthetic vistas open up exciting possibilities.  Banalities disappear.  One almost becomes a conduit for aesthetic states which are not always under the complete control of the artist.  That is the mystery and the fascination of art.  It is mystical!

This is an example of Huband's more three dimensional representational style..
Variation of Three, 1974, o/c, 50 x 40 in.

In Otis’ earlier work, the figure would often be the subject, rendered in a representational three-dimensional style, whereas the abstracted figuration that emerges in his later work is distinguished by two-dimensional shapes and patterns that play off the other elements in his paintings.

My paintings are flat and not illusionistic. An honest celebration of a flat surface which is characteristic of most modern art which celebrates paint itself and the flat surface to which it adheres.

A red still life of indeterminate objects.
Refusing Not to Say No, 1982, o/c, 50 x 50 in.
THEN & NOW:

In 2021, Otis will have been a professional artist for 60 years. During his career, he has participated in over 60 group, and 30 one-person exhibitions. In addition to showing in galleries across the country, Otis has had one-person exhibitions at the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center in Virginia, the Oak Ridge Art Center in Tennessee, Wisconsin State College, the University of Houston, and Palazzo Ferretti in Cortona, Italy

Another example of his collage paintings using paper bags, news paper and other found two dimensional objects.
Contact The 1st of 5 Poems, c.1989, mixed-media on canvas, 40 x 36 in.

When asked what makes a painting successful, he replied, The major requirement of a successful painting to me is that it be saturated with the vulnerabilities and frailties of humanity. The exact opposite of “cool” indifference. I want my fingerprints all over it. It is my testimony to passing through this world in this time and being involved with it in a deeply personal way.

I wanted to return to the pure art impulse that I experienced as a child in kindergarten. The honest independence of a child! I still work towards this goal.

*****

See all Otis Huband works currently available on FAE.

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

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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.

Dallas Painter William Elliott (1909-2001)

FAE is pleased to offer works from the estate of William Elliott, one of Dallas’ most respected watercolor artists.

William Elliott was born April 4, 1909 in Sedalia, Missouri. After his family moved to Dallas, in 1928 he graduated from Dallas’ Sunset High School, and then enrolled at John Tarleton College in Stephenville, Texas where he received a degree in architecture. Upon returning home, in 1931, he enrolled in Olin Travis’ Art Institute of Dallas. He had no money for tuition so, like Everett Spruce before him, he cleaned the classrooms at the end of each day in exchange for lessons. He took classes for three years at Travis’ Art Institute cultivating friendships with other Dallas artists which he maintained throughout his career.

Artist: William Elliott, Self Portrait, 1940
Self Portrait, 1940

After Leaving the Institute, he took on his first full time job as a commercial artist, creating artwork for the Interstate Theater chain. He was provided a studio by Interstate in the Melba Theater Building. When he was not working on a project for Interstate, he would look out his window for passersby that he might be able to do convince to sit for him. He learned this technique for finding inexpensive sitters while at the Art Institute. While in the depths of the depression, most people were willing to sit for whatever Elliott was able to pay.

Artist: William Elliott, "Elections" (Dallas) watercolor on paper
“Elections” (Dallas) watercolor on paper

During this time, Elliott frequently worked in the field alongside his friends Reid Crowell, William Lester, Reveau Bassett, and Otis Dozier. They sketched and painted at locations throughout Dallas, and the surrounding rural areas together. Although he was friends with many of the Dallas Regionalist artists, he was not considered a Regionalist by the group because he made his living as a commercial artist. Amusingly, over the next 10 years, he exhibited his work alongside theirs during the Texas State Fair in Dallas’ competitive Allied Arts Exhibitions held in the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, and at the Carnegie Library in Fort Worth.

Artist: William Elliott, "Hunter and His Prey" watercolor on paper
“Hunter and His Prey” watercolor on paper

During World War II, Elliott served as a staff artist with the U. S. Army Air Corps. Elliott returned to Dallas after the war and opened his own studio. He built a successful business serving the advertising and commercial artwork needs of numerous corporate clients.

Artist: William Elliott, "Dusk" watercolor on paper
“Dusk” watercolor on paper

Because he had been so successful as a commercial artist, in the mid-1960’s he retired so he could devote himself full time to his first love – watercolor. To further his skill set, he went to the Art Students League in NYC to study with Robert Angelock and to Woodstock to study with Stefan Lokos.

Artist: William Elliott, "Snow Covered Cedars" watercolor on paper
“Snow Covered Cedars” watercolor on paper

Over the next 30 years, he became one of Dallas’ best known and most accomplished watercolor artists. His paintings draw on observations from trips through Spain, Portugal, Colorado, Maine, and along the Texas Gulf Coast. He was a long-term member of the Southwestern Watercolor Society, and during his career, exhibited in over 100 juried art exhibitions, winning over forty awards. His works can be found in the collections of Diamond Shamrock Corporation, Southwestern Bell Telephone, John Deere Corporation, and numerous other corporate and private collections.

Artist: William Elliott, "Autumn Splendor" watercolor on paper
“Autumn Splendor” watercolor on paper

*****

See all available works by William Elliott.

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.

Marjorie Johnson Lee

AN AMERICAN MODERNIST

On May 31, 1911, Marjorie Evelin Johnson was born in Upland, Texas, a small town that no longer exists, in Upton County.  Her father, a country doctor who worked for Humble Oil, constantly moved his family around West Texas to wherever Humble oil workers needed his services.  Most likely from the stress of being in almost constant motion, Marjorie’s parents divorced in 1924 and her grandmother moved the family to Fort Worth where they lived in rental housing until 1938.  Marjorie graduated Paschal High School in 1925 and that next year, at age 15, started working for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company.  That same year, pursuing her childhood interest in drawing, Marjorie started studying art with Fort Worth artist, Mrs. G.W. Greathouse.

Image of Marjorie Johnson Lee at the Art Students League
Marjorie at the Art Students League
Marjorie E. (Johnson) Lee (1911-1997)

In 1934, while still working with the phone company, Marjorie decided to attended Texas Christian University.  After taking classes at TCU for two years, she dropped out when Blanche McVeigh, a respected artist and printmaker who was a principal of the Fort Worth School of Fine Arts along with Evaline Sellors and Wade Jolly, was impressed enough with her artistic talent to invite her to enroll in their school.  Under Jolly’s tutelage, she became a skilled landscape watercolorist.  In the late 30’s and early 40’s she exhibited often with other prominent Fort Worth artists like Bror Utter and Veronica Helfensteller.  As with many serious artists in the Dallas and Fort area during that time, she traveled to Colorado Springs to take classes at the Colorado Art Center in 1942.

In the latter part of 42, to do her part, Marjorie joined the WAVES and was sent to Norman Oklahoma for training in radio communication and celestial navigation.  In 1943, she was assigned to Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida for the next three years where she taught young airmen these skills and painted and drew whenever she had time off.

Image of an abstracted floral still life
Flowers, 1971 Oil on Canvas 24 x 20 inches

After WWII, she moved to New York City to attend the Art Students League under the GI Bill.  In 1947, to be sure she could stay in the city, she took a job with New York Telephone and continued to take classes at the League through 48.

She vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard in 1950 and chose to capture her impressions of the island in pastel.  She returned in 52, and this time chose watercolor, possibly more suited to the Island atmosphere.

She continued the artistic life in NYC and in 1950, met and married an experimental filmmaker and educator named Francis Lee.  Marjorie’s artwork documents their vacations and trips out of NYC over the next 14 years with works from Minnewaska, New Rochelle, Carmel, East Hampton, and Woodstock in NY, Colorado, Glacier Park in Montana, and New Jersey.

Image of an abstracted edge of a river with rocks
Rocky Crossing, 1978 Oil on Canvas 18 x 24 inches

After working for the phone company in NYC for 27 years, in 1974, she moved back to Fort Worth.  Although while living in New York, she continued to show in important Texas and regional shows, retirement provided the opportunity to focus on her art.  She started exhibiting with the Evelyn Siegel Gallery in Fort Worth and entering competitive shows all over Texas. 

About the time Marjorie entered the Art Students League in NYC, she fell in love with color and was won over by Modernist art.  During her vacations she filled drawing books with plein-air, almost fauve like, pastels and watercolors of ebullient trees, fast flowing rivers, and assemblages of hyper-colored rocks.  Upon her return to the city, her favorite pastels and watercolors would often evolve into studies for oil paintings.

image of an abstracted still life
Untitled (Still Life) Pastel and Cut Paper Collage on Paper 20 x 26 inches

After she returned to live in Fort Worth, she started creating brightly colored collages, cut from home-made and commercial colored papers, repurposed watercolors, and often combined with watercolor washes, ink, and sometimes pastel.  They were always bright in color and evolved over time from representational to totally non-objective.

Image of an non representational collage
Swim Through the Sea of Light, Little Swimmer, 1979 Cut Paper Collage on Paper 20 x 14 inches

Marjorie gave up entering competitive shows in 1984 and her last one-person show was held at Evelyn Siegal Gallery in 1994.  She died in a Fort Worth nursing home on February 1, 1997.

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See all available works by Marjorie Johnson Lee.

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