Art Connections Gallery, Bastrop, TX
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Creating unique, memorable pieces of art with steel. Yard art, home décor, wind chimes, and much more.
I grew up in the small town of Minot, North Dakota. In grade school I got my first taste of art, drawing, watercolors and pastels from Sister Antoinette, one of my first inspirational teachers. Early on she saw I was not going to be one of the scholastic super stars, but I showed a knack for mechanical things, and she pushed me to develop those skills.
In junior high I got into oils and acrylics. My teacher was Sister Gertrude, a fantastic painter. I think she has some of her work in the Vatican. She taught us about the color wheel, putting colors together, and the history of art. Hmm...I thought, ‘Why do I need to know this?’ She had us go to the ‘shoebox,’ pull out a picture or bring one from home and paint it; she guided us along the way. Mine never looked just like the picture; she said, ‘Everybody’s mind does not see the same thing; there are many ways to interpret what you see.’ (So I got to stay!) She just kept encouraging us to go for it and it would be fine.
Well, I guess what I saw was the same as a lady from Spain: she bought one of my paintings at the school art show.
I took a printing class from Mr. Francis. It came natural to me because you do everything upside down and backwards, and then when you put it on the press, it reads correctly. The good old foot powered printing press---those were the days!
A couple of years later I went to paint, and--- nothing! The brain would not tell the hand where it should go, so, I got into photography, wood working and welding. The welding fascinated me the most, taking steel and molding it into just about anything! At first I made a lot of mistakes, some things just fell apart. The welds looked terrible, I had no clue what I was doing, but I kept asking questions and practicing, and now, after 35 years, I’m okay at it.
Now let’s get to the reason I’m here. To this point I have not spoken a word about my work being art or me being an artist because Mr. Webster defines ‘art’ as appealing, attractive objects and an ‘artist’ as a person skilled in the arts, and I’m sure I do not fit that criteria, but let me share a few things welding has taught me:
•Commitment – before you strike that arc, you commit to a vision or an idea, good or bad. You commit to doing all the calculating, measuring, angles, all things necessary so both ends meet in the middle. (If that teacher would have just put down the chalk, turned around and used real objects to explain all those formulas, this would be a lot easier.) Okay, let’s weld it! Now it’s permanent.
•Patience – I love to weld but I hate to see welds so I take the time to grind, polish, and coat. This is not glamorous, but you must take the time to do this, or your commitment is lost. After it’s all done, you stand back, look, and think, ‘What the hell was I drinking when I came up with this idea, not one of my best, and on to the next vision!’
•Perseverance – You take all these visions and ideas to every place possible for people to see, and you watch as they pass by, glance at you and say ‘nice.’ Your ego, confidence, it’s falling fast then you notice a couple standing back looking in your direction, (You think, is my zipper down?) as they approach you turn to check, (No, it’s up.) They ask, ‘Did you create this art? This is exactly what we’ve been looking for.’ They pay you and off they go happy as can be. For a minute you think to yourself, ‘I am one of the best artist’s the world has ever seen.’
“Thanks to all who made it possible.”
January 2016: Placed 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in Professional 3 D Art Category at the Brazos Valley Art League 2016 Judged Show
January 2015: Placed 1st place in the Professional 3 D Art category at the Brazos Valley Art League 2015 Judged Show
A self taught artist, I’ve tried many forms of art, oils, acrylic, watercolor, stain glass, printing, nothing really inspired me. Then I tried to create art through welding, it fascinated me more than anything had; taking steel, a rigid material and molding it into something as delicate as a flower. The possibilities are endless! It still fascinates me today!
A few things welding taught me;
• Commitment – before you strike that arc, you commit to a vision. You commit to taking all the steps necessary to create the vision. Now it’s time to weld!
• Patience – I love to weld but I hate to see welds so I take the time to grind, polish, and grind some more, it’s not glamorous, but it is necessary.
As I create new art, I continue to be inspired to try new techniques, and explore new possibilities.