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Gina Benson is an artist in the Dallas area. She is excited to be a member of The COVE and has participated in shows there. You can find her work exhibited in local restaurants, where she often does live painting as well. You can find her paintings all around north Texas. She has had paintings in many of the branches of the Dallas Library, and has had paintings at the Kettle Gallery, the Janette Kennedy Gallery, and the RATTS Gallery. She has participated in charity events in Dallas and Fort Worth with Art Conspiracy and EASL. Additionally she has had some of her works exhibited at the Red Tree Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Many of her pieces are in private collections from California to New York.
Although she loves to use paints, pencils, pens and pastels, Gina also loves to create using her camera and has had some of her work displayed at a show in New York City. Gina also likes to use words to create and had a short story published as part of an anthology and participated in the book launch in London.
Gina has always loved the arts, but a fourth grade art teacher convinced her she was not creative. It has only been in the last 10 years that she began to step out and “do it afraid.” Because of this experience in her own life, Gina strives to encourage others in their creativity hosting a student art shows for Arlington High School Students, teaching classes and speaking at conferences. Gina has also served as a juror for Texas Art Associations Visual Arts Scholastic Exhibit (VASE), a state wide competition for Senior High School Students in Texas.
“My work is a means of expression and a way for me to communicate how I perceive the world around me. So when I say that I’m an artist, that statement alone should be considered adequate.”
Missy is a multifaceted artist from Tulsa, OK who now resides in McKinney, TX. She has experience in photography, poetry, music and theatre. Although she has had a love affair with music and photography since childhood, in the past few years she has become very passionate about expressing herself through her poetry and photography.
She is particularly drawn to black & white images because the absence of color encourages the viewer to look beyond the obvious to explore the subliminal. She often uses her poetry to give her images a voice. Her inspiration mainly comes from her perception of social influences.
Missy wants her work to ignite inspiration for change within the world as well as provide a sense of appreciation for the natural beauty of the Earth.
“I took a figure sculpture class at Glassel Art School. I was so excited working in the third dimension that I gave away my paints and devoted all my time to sculpture, and continue to do so. Sculpture has filled the void in my single life.”
Lor has always enjoyed art. At college, she majored in fine art and minored in industrial design. Even while raising three boys, she found time to make art. She worked with paint and pen & ink until the 1960’s, when she took a sculpting class. Lor found her true calling as a sculptor. She now works in contemporary sculpture because it allows her to work in a variety of media such as bronze, colored acrylic, stone and wood.
“My fiber wall sculptures are made using a technique with the themes of shields, totems and masks. I use the loom for shaping to create dimensionality. Both fine art and craft methods are combined and redefined using earth materials from plants and animals. My current works exploring man-made packaging materials and issues of branding and identity.”
Recently Frances was selected from over 1200 applicants to be among the 33 artists representing contemporary art in the 2017 Texas Biennial (Leslie Moody Castro, curator). Two of Frances’ totems are hanging in the Austin exhibition Sept. 30th-Nov. 11th. She is very pleased to represent the arts community in McKinney at this prestigious event.
Frances Dezzany was born in Chicago and moved to New Jersey where she completed her Bachelor’s degree at Kean University in General Elementary Education and a Master’s degree at Montclair University in Fine Arts. She studied anatomy drawing with Anthony Palumbo at The Art Students League of New York for several years. Her art work has been exhibited in the Newark Art Museum (NJ), Montclair Art Museum (NJ), Delaware Art Museum and the Longview Museum of Fine Arts (TX). Her work has had both national and international exposure. She has taught workshops and has her art work in four books, including two by Nita Leland – “Creative Collage” and “New Creative Collage”. The Society of Layerists in Multi Media is publishing a book this fall, “Unique Insights”, which includes Frances’ work Three Palms.
“Historically we are living in a fantastic time, a modern day renaissance on almost every level. Artistically, new materials and genres are changing the way we look at the world and express ourselves in real time. The North Texas art scene is thriving and growing every day as more artists move into the area, bringing with them new ideas and viewpoints. McKinney’s artistic community is a vibrant part of the North Texas art scene, and The Cove plays a major role in our creative community, featuring a different artist every weekend. I enjoy being a part of it.”
Charles is a poet, playwright, actor, photographer, and philosopher; he is a student of the human condition. He derives his inspiration from experiences, the people, and places that surround him, and the thoughts and emotions that come from interaction. He has absorbed influences and worked in many artistic disciplines. Along his journey from the Baltimore/Washington corridor, to the ‘quiet corner’ of Connecticut, to a ranch in Parker County, Texas, to McKinney, and many points in-between, he has pumped gas, swung a pick and shovel, and managed an independent book store. He has scrubbed pots and pans and written a cookbook; worked in an ice cream factory, on injection molding and in computer manufacturing. He has progressed from stage hand to director, to the lead in a play by Shakespeare, and from film acting to seeing his own works performed live on stage. His current work at The Cove focuses on abstract photography.
“I thrive on the challenges and satisfaction of finding extraordinary beauty in the ordinary and expressing it through my paintings. My hallmark has always been an emphasis on spontaneity, expression and intuitive creativity. My touch is direct and personal, skilled and intimate — expressing endless exploration of beauty and nature with a wide range of techniques. I respond to what I see with a sense of wonder that keeps my work inspired, timeless and always fresh.”
Known for her powerful and intense color work, Pernie Fallon’s pastel and oil paintings of are vivid and lively. But on closer examination, there are qualities that are not so obvious on the surface. Fallon’s paintings transcend the beauty of place with unexpected emotion, movement, and life.
Pernie is from Pampa in the Texas Panhandle and resides in McKinney, Texas. She holds a BFA in metalsmithing from Arizona State University and a Masters of Science in Art and Technology from the University of North Texas. While doing graduate work at the University of Texas-Dallas, she became interested in the legacy of early Texas artist Frank Reaugh (1860-1945). Connecting with Reaugh’s last living student, then 93-year-old Lucretia Donnell Coke, Pernie learned exactly how Reaugh taught pastel painting to his students. Fallon considers herself to be a third generation student of Reaugh. She passes on the legacy, teaching her young Liberty High School art students the way Reaugh taught the young Lucretia.
Pernie paints almost daily in her studio, or outside when weather permits. Each summer, she makes a trip to her favorite locations in the great Southwest to paint and photograph, gathering reference material for future studio paintings. She exhibits annually at The Cove and The Martin Place in McKinney, Texas. She participates in national juried shows as well as local art events, mainly Music in Motion, the McKinney Art Studio Tour, Unique by Nature and Arts in Bloom. Pernie is a member of the Arts & Music Guild of McKinney, the Pastel Society of the South West, the Frank Reaugh Club, and the Outdoor Painters Society.
“I am so happy to now have the opportunity to do what I have loved for my entire life – art. I feel like art, whether in a painting, jewelry, or home design, can enhance everyone’s life in some way. I hope my art will allow others to see a little more beauty and color in the world.”
Cindy grew up in Rome, New York and later moved to Florida and went to the University of Central Florida where she received a Master’s Degree in Business. After working in corporate Marketing, she needed a more flexible schedule to accommodate her three children and a husband that frequently traveled. She started painting murals, faux finishes and furniture, where she could also use her creative abilities. Working with the Make A Wish Foundation on a Parade of Homes design, was a high point for her. She also taught classes in faux finishing and decorative design.
Now she is focusing on painting canvases, designing jewelry and painting furniture. For her canvas art, she uses acrylics, oils and resin. While exploring her “style”, she prefers abstracts, semi-realism and mixed media. Texture is also important in her designs and she often uses her decorative painting background in her work.
For her jewelry, she works with wire, metal, semi-precious gems, natural stones, and glass. You will also see some of those metals and stones incorporated into her mixed media paintings!
Again, using her decorative painting background, Cindy is also bringing new life to furniture for some of her clients. She enjoys the fact that a piece can be rejuvenated with paint instead of being discarded for something new.
Sandy and Alex Forbes
Alex Forbes spent years in exploration from the Amazon River to Northern Canada. With photos from his trusty Nikon Camera and log book sketches, he frequently finds inspiration from that time for his current paintings. His art reflects his love of the wilderness environment. He works with pastels, oils and acrylics. He loves the earthy gritty feel he gets when blending pastels. Oils offer the creamy blendability. Acrylics offer the advantage of quick drying. Alex creates subdued landscapes of rocks, lakes, streams and breaking waves. By infusing them with color, shadows, light, and depth, he brings his paintings to life.
Alex worked his way through Case Western Reserve University doing pen and ink illustrations for publications and books. After graduation, he worked as a geophysicist for a mining company. Following graduate school at Kansas University, he took a position with Merck & Company in medical research. Since retiring, Alex has found time to rekindle his love of the rugged outdoors through his photos and drawing skills in his paintings. Alex was honored when one of his paintings was accepted into the 31st Texas and Neighbors Art Exhibition.
Sandy Hinton-Forbes, a Dallas native, was raised in an arts-rich environment. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she worked in sales for AT&T. Sandy later worked in Real Estate sales where she especially enjoyed working with sellers, advising them on staging their homes for sale. This awakened her interest in color and design. After retiring, Sandy followed her heart to color, design, and art through landscape painting. Studying art for five years using acrylics, she developed an impressionistic, semi-realistic style. She then moved to oils where she now finds herself moving to the semi-abstract style. She strives through her art to engage the viewer, compelling them to want to stop and reflect.
“The best art, in my opinion, inspires people and gives them a reason to talk to each other. My hope for any art that I create is to bring a little more spark and joy into someone’s day.”
Creating art is fun for me and laughing with colleagues who are also working on art seems to melt away all the problems of the world during that time. My medium of choice now is print-making because I love the variety of expression that can be shown through print-making. I connect well with abstract and nature visuals and that shows in the work I’ve done in the last few years.
In my day job, I own a leadership development and management effectiveness training and coaching company. My clients include companies from transportation and food manufacturing as well as smaller service and consulting companies. My family includes my husband, two married children and three grandsons. We are lucky to get to travel to see them in northern California frequently.
“Seeing comes before the word; but experience shades how we see. These two qualities are where the paradox lies. How can one experience anything without sensory input? If the experience shades what is seen then how do seeing and experience work concurrently to produce an aesthetic experience?
It is proposed that a model exists in Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity.’ In the Quantum world, particles behave according to how they are treated and express both wave and particle function. Here, energy and matter are one and the same. In this world matter can become energy and energy can become matter based on the relative position of the observer. This reflects the dichotomy of the aesthetic experience in terms of form and sense where both exist concurrently and yet can be analyzed and experienced separately.
Seeing produces experiences and in turn experience tempers what one sees. These events create a language of beauty through data gathered through sensory input channels. This language will reflect political, social, ideological, philosophical or religious vales that are incorporated into the art of a culture.
My photography serves both as the observer and the observed. In the still point of the moment, I capture an image that brings order to reality and the combined aesthetic experience of sense and form are blended into a sensation of beauty. The picture allows the observers to use their imaginations, to have an aesthetic experience beyond the literal, formal level of known facts and instead be transported to the realm of enjoyment resulting from new experiences occurring each time the piece is viewed.”
Guy’s keen eye and sensitivity for his subject are what make his photographs speak from the heart. His work tends to be thematic where groups of photographs work in concert to tell a story. While each photograph in the group is capable of standing on its own, together they convey a greater meaning as they interact with one another.
Giersch has exhibited widely over the last 20 years — most recently, in the High and Dry Show in Lubbock, Texas, the Taos Art Museum in Taos, New Mexico, Dallas’ Dead Photographer’s Society, the Martin Place and the Cove in McKinney, TX.
His photographs are in the Library of Congress as part of a Historic American Building Survey of two ranches in the Texas Panhandle. His Guatemala series hang in the United Way offices in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Why do I paint? Drawn to the earth and beauty that surrounds us, I want to take people to places that they may never be able to see. Each painting is to be a vessel for the viewer to get away in their own mind for a few moments. My goal is to create a place of emotional serenity for each individual viewer.”
Drawing on a childhood dream of being an artist, Tammy Gilchrest picked up a paintbrush in 2014 reigniting her love for art. Within a year, her natural talent earned her a mentorship under a Bulgarian master painter, Keazim Issinov. That mentorship took her back in time to a way of learning that is all but lost. It not only taught her the technical knowledge of painting, but also wisdom and respect for the craft. The discovery of her passion for painting changed her path leading to a career change of becoming a full time oil painter.
Gilchrest started exploring many different styles. Drawn to the mood and mystery in Tonalism, she paints in more of a lyrical style bridging the gap between the draw of mystery and the love of color. Her goal is to transport people into the painting by creating a place of emotional experience for the viewer. Her muse is the Spirit within.
“My goal is to make people laugh out loud, or at the very least to make them smile. I often create intuitively when inspiration strikes, and my goal is to strive for less ‘hoity toidy’ in art and more fun! I’m thinking that’s how life should be as well!”
Kim grew up moving from country to country, and as a child, her source of entertainment was paint-by-number coloring sheets, although she didn’t always follow the numbers. Kim is a classically trained artist. She attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, the University of Colorado in Boulder and the Institute of Art, Lacoste, France. Previously known for her intricate fresco style murals, Kim now focuses her creativity on whimsically themed oil paintings and new techniques for portraiture. She also has a particular love for creating three-dimensional works using papier mache. Kim delights herself in the many opportunities to be a participant in local charities, especially the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Her new studio-gallery is located at 115 W. Virginia. In McKinney her work is also at LAST Art Gallery, Diggin’ It, The Cove, and Hugs Cafe.
Maria Bush Hampton
“My love of art started when I was very young. I am lucky enough to have a creative mother who is very artistic, whose endless array of ideas enhanced my projects. I like incorporating emotional and textural connections to my art pieces to add more life, and sometimes humor, to my work. I want my artwork to touch people with more than a single sense, and make it irresistible not to touch.”
Maria began studying art from a young age. She earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree from the University of Northern Colorado, with emphasis in both Life Drawing and Sculpting. She went on to study sculpture at The Loveland Art Academy (Loveland, CO). After moving to the Dallas area, Maria became involved in local art societies, winning awards for her work in exhibitions. In addition to showing at The Cove, Maria’s work is shown at Last Gallery and McKinney Art Studio. She is a member-artist of the McKinney Art Studio Tour.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in art. Faces have always been fascinating to me. The great painters of the past have been my inspiration, and I have studied their work, along with that of many excellent contemporary artists, for years. Now, by the grace of God, I am doing the thing that I love: painting people.”
David attended the Dallas Art Institute in the early ’70s, when the curriculum focused on commercial art. Upon graduation he became the art director of a novelty company, and later owned a print company in downtown McKinney. In 2009 David picked up his pencils and brushes and began painting again, focusing on commissioned portraits and figurative painting in both pastels and oils. He has successfully entered his work in several exhibits and competitions. David is a Unique by Nature Juried Art Competition Prize Winner. In 2014 his oil painting, Music in Motion, was selected to become part of the McKinney Performing Arts Center’s Permanent Public Art Collection. David is an active member of the Arts and Music Guild and exhibits at The Cove (McKinney).
“Thematically my art focuses on constants across time: hope, love, belonging and loss. The process of choosing the appropriate substrate for an idea, drawing, carving, inking, layering, and hand printing combine science and human expression brilliantly. I hope my work will inspire and engage the imagination.”
Lynne is co-founder and acting president of the North Texas Printmakers Guild. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Drawing at the University of North Texas Denton. Lynne is an independent artist, lecturer, educator, national workshop facilitator, and exhibit curator at the Heard Natural Science Museum. Her printmaking studio is located in the Historic District of McKinney TX. Lynne has taught and led many workshops both locally and nationally. Her work is displayed in galleries in St. Jo TX, Ouray Trails and Tales Ouray CO, as well as Orisons Gallery in McKinney TX. Lynne is also a Unique by Nature Juried Art Competition Prize Winner, and her art is part of the permanent public art collection of the McKinney Performing Arts Center.
“It’s such a blessing to be able to combine two of my favorite things–art and animals–and create something very meaningful. Our pets provide unconditional love and become cherished members of the family A custom portrait in oil, pastel, or colored pencil can be a wonderful way to remember them. My goal in creating pet portraits is to bring smiles of joy to the proud owner who receive them. Delivering a completed painting is as much fun for me as it is for them.
Theresa Strange Johnston
“I am drawn to Mexican Folk Art. Every picture has a story that reflects the rich history of Latin American culture.”
Theresa Strange Johnston has dabbled in painting most of her adult life. During the last four years, she has become more serious about her work, particularly as she is drawn to and inspired by Mexican Folk Art. She also loves paintings of women — strong, happy, sad, funny, quirky — she loves them all.
“My quest is to capture the ‘awe’ of creation through painting, and so to inspire others. My experience is that scenes of beauty and grandeur awaken our senses and bring peace into our stressful lives.”
Upon attaining a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical College of Georgia, Teresa studied human anatomy, therapeutic use of art, painting, weaving, pottery, leather working, and printmaking. She has practiced for many years as an Occupational Therapist (OT) and has treated patients with brain injuries, heart problems and autism. At this stage of her life she is working to combine her knowledge as an OT and her life experience to create works of art that bring healing to mind and body. Her paintings follow the impressionistic or abstract style using brushes and palette knife or mixed media. Teresa is a part of the Arts and Music Guild’s 1-2-1 Program and member of the Oil Painters of America and Visual Arts Guild of Frisco.
“My art is rooted in curiosity and fascination of the individuality found in nature. Journaling with prayer influences common themes including: renewing of life, healing, hope, peace and vision for the future. I also embrace character traits exhibited through nature like loyalty, trust, rest and order.”
I create after spending time outside or reviewing photos. I take lots of photos, develop, number, and re-compose the group of individual shots into a single painting that embraces the essence of the memory. I create with acrylic paint because of the versatility of applications and fast dry-time. When I journal or take notes, creative ideas surface. My notes are full of little sketches and many of these become paintings.
When we invite beauty into our lives, it helps us to set aside stress and reconnect with our core values and hopes for life. We gain a perspective by having art to rest our minds even when we have missed both the sunrise and sunset.
“I have always been obsessed with creating images that are as unique as possible, then interpreting the images, supported by numerous photos to compose new images. These new images are then used to digitally create color compositions and surreal works.”
Leo was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he attended Worcester Academy and studied at the Worcester Art Museum. Leo majored in art at Rollins College in Florida. In 2001, Leo and his wife Pam retired and moved to Wellfleet on Cape Cod. Leo joined the Provincetown Art Association. He exhibited at many of their juried and member shows as well as in local galleries in Provincetown and Wellfleet. In 2006, Leo and Pam moved to Florida. There he exhibited at Fernandina Arts and Gallery Association, Alliance for the Art in Fort Meyers and the Naples Art Museum. Leo works almost exclusively in oils. He also does work in digital media and works on his compositions initially on a computer. Most of his subjects are not posed or set up, but instead come from his day to day observations or from his dreams.
“I want my art to capture your sense of sight as well as touch.”
Born in Havana, Cuba and growing up in North New Jersey has given Mercy a very colorful perspective that comes across in her art. She has a well-rounded and artistic view of the world. She has traveled extensively and has made it a point to visit the local art museums and galleries. Her favorite piece of art is thousand year old cave art in Australia’s Outback. Her paintings are Abstract Acrylics and she especially loves using medium to enhance the final product. Lately, she has been applying her taste for the different by painting on round wood.
“I am an Artist. I’ve been driven to create from a young age – it is deeply woven into my being. Sharing the beauty of life, the land and our contribution to the pages of human history is important to me. I like depicting a moment in time that future generations will look back on and get a sense of who we were and what we liked to do in this time period on earth. Of course – I am only one small cog and believe strongly in supporting and nurturing other artists on their journey of telling the story from their unique perspective. Like the “Rat Pack” of their day, the Impressionists understood the value of surrounding themselves with others with a similar mission. This is an energizing time in my home-town of McKinney, Texas, where we are striving to emphasize the importance of the arts in our community, and I am thrilled to see it happening in other cities as well!”
As a child, the renderings of authors and illustrators, such as Richard Scarry and Dr. Seuss, encouraged an innate desire to draw and create art. This passion drives me to explore diverse mediums and art forms through continual study and practice.
After studying the Impressionists intensely, I found their struggles and desires most relatable. In reflection, my current work focuses on capturing moments that speak to my soul – the vulnerability of a performer’s debut, the thrill of an impromptu performance or an extraordinary sunset – while experimenting with brushwork, and the boundaries of my medium’s accepted limits.
“When painting, I strive to capture the contrast of light and shadows, color, poise, uniqueness and the texture of each subject. Nothing compares to painting a subject in its natural environment, capturing the magic and serenity of full morning light, or the sultry charm hidden in the shadows. My intent is to capture the viewer’s curiosity and imagination as the painting comes alive on the paper.”
Barbara is the owner of Dragonfly Studio Creations Gallery and Studio in Dallas, Texas. She exhibits her artwork nationally and internationally. Barbara is an international award winning watercolor artist and pastel artist. She is a graduate of the North Texas Business Council for Art –Leadership Art Institute, a juried member of The Artists Of Texas, and a Signature Member of The Pastel Society of America. Other affiliations include Contemporary Fine Artist International, The Visual Art Guild of Frisco, Texas Visual Art Association, Plano Art Association, Irving Art Association, Southwestern Watercolor Society, Pastel Society Of The Southwest, International Guild Of Realism, and CAC of Dallas. Barbara’s artwork is represented by Xanadu Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“When we look up, we see a kaleidoscope of colors and forever fleeting patterns. Let the sky be your muse and watch how it brings creativity to life.”
James Mason was born in Virginia, and moved to Frisco, Texas from Springfield, Illinois 9 years ago. He is the co-owner of Dragonfly Studio Creations where his wife Barbara J. Mason is the owner. James has enjoyed taking photographs most of his adult life. Recently he has chosen to create an aspiring professional quality of work. His photographs are images taken from life experiences and international travels. James is always looking for cloud patterns, majestic sunsets and sky scapes that are quite prevalent here in Texas.
“The world is our toy box. Paintings are snapshots of play-in-progress.”
People are looking for a large, uncharted planet out in the Oört cloud. Many can recite NFL stats, or optimal planting times. People care, and study, and continue. They are curious about things, and many of them take pride in making or growing or organizing things. This human urge to find or create personal meaning everywhere is the focus of Richard’s paintings and constructions.
“When I start a painting, I have a vague idea of what I want, but I let the canvas and brushes lead me to the finished product. I see beauty in small mundane objects such as a grain of sand, rain drops or a bird’s nest that others might pass by and not notice. I want to bring this respect of our world to others in a way that they might not have imagined or seen before.”
Kathleen considers herself a self-taught artist. She turns to nature for inspiration. Her work includes photography, oil painting, acrylic painting, mixed media, and wood sculpting. In 2015, her husband established Kamme Art Gallery in Sanger, TX as a permanent place for Kathleen to show her art. Her work is also displayed at Pomegranate Underground in Lewisville, TX. She was a lecturer at Sanger High School, and currently mentors interns from there. She has shown her work in juried shows and exhibitions all over the nation.
“There is a certain authenticity in photography. No matter where a photograph ends up it begins in truth. Light passes through a lens, is recorded onto a plane and an image is born. Despite what life we as artists may bring to an image, it’s origin is always truth. When I am armed with a camera I do my best to honor the integrity of my subjects.”
Originally from California, Wendolin is an award-winning photographer specializing in portrait and fine art photography. Her work has been described as fresh, creative, moody and authentic.
Wendolin’s interest in photography was apparent from a very young age, but it really took off in her teens after she built her first makeshift studio and began to experiment with various lighting techniques. Seeing and controlling light has remained at the core of her work throughout the years as she continually refines her craft. “Outdoor light, window light or studio strobes… all light is good light!” she claims, “ It might not be ideal for what you are shooting at the time…. but pay attention because I guarantee you it is perfect for something another time.”
Her body of work reflects her zest for life and her ability to intuitively connect with her subjects highlighting their beauty and revealing their true essence.
“Growing up in Spain I was able to visit great museums of art such as The Prado Museum in Madrid. That is where my passion for art and my dream of becoming an artist began. My goal is that each piece of art I create will speak to the viewer in a unique way. Art is my passion.”
“I work as my own photographer and model to create characters that address social issues in a humorous, impacting and sometimes troubling way.”
Though my journey of life begun in Kenya, in 1978, my early years, were mostly spent in Southern Sudan.
My parents, both missionaries in Sudan, loved the arts and constantly encouraged my siblings and me to pursue theater, music and painting.
After immigrating to the U.S, I decided to follow in their footsteps and study ‘Bible and Cross-Cultural Missions’. Truth be told, I just didn’t have what it took to be a man of the cloth. So I decided to jump on a different bandwagon…Collin College.
There I pursued my passion, starting with Photography 101. I was hooked to Portraiture.
My professors pushed, challenged & encouraged me, not just to create images, but also to incorporate my world-view and life experiences into them. That was the beginning of my self-portraits.
My goal as an artist, is to create work that challenges the viewer’s mindset, inspiring a different course of action, and therefore, making them more thoughtful and caring people.
“It’s such a joy to have art be my business after a career in the tech industry. Expressions in painting, assemblage, paper art, mosaics, photography and writing make life complete and happy. In my first painting series, Modern Dog, I am thrilled to be pulling together a point of view that is colorful, inspiring and heartfelt.”
Leslee grew up in Portland, Oregon where she graduated with a BS in Business Administration. After she flipped the tassel from one side to another, she got in her convertible VW and drove to sunny California, having grown weary of the gray and wet Pacific Northwest. For 17 years she worked in the tech industry, mostly for Hewlett Packard, and then moved on to the fledgling Word-of-Mouth Marketing world. This role included immersion in advertising, social media and branding strategies, working with companies in the Fortune 1000. Somewhere in there she got married and had three children. One day she looked in the mirror and wondered when she’d get around to pursuing her true passion of becoming an artist and designer? Energized by this realization, she started her studies at Mission Renaissance Fine Art Studio. This three year process provided her with a thorough grounding in fine art skills. She also took classes at the Interior Designer’s Institute + UCLA Extension. When an unexpected move from Southern California to McKinney happened in 2015, she began in earnest to pursue her goal of making art her business. She enjoys sharing her creative talents to inspire others through work with The Samaritan Inn and Dwell with Dignity. She also has a studio at Orisons Art Gallery in downtown McKinney.
Owner of StageWorthyArts, Melissa started the company so she and other artists could take ‘what they do’ and make it more available to those who need it. With a knack for creating the unexpected,
Melissa relies on her craftiness to take on one-of-a-kind projects and connect with the people around her.
For the past 7 years, the majority of her projects have been inspired by the theatre community and she’s found the theatre to be the ideal space to apply what she does. Working as both a designer and a Teaching Artist helps Melissa to partner with other youth serving organizations, schools, ‘out-of-school time’ groups and other artists who share a passion for nurturing creativity in youth while providing a place for them to feel they belong.
“Even the most common trees that stand around us everyday hide exceptional beauty somewhere inside. My job is to uncover it and give that special wood a second life as a piece of art.”
J.B.’s work celebrates the natural beauty of wood by the use of simple lines and elegant curves creating vessels which bring together grain, color, and form. He works almost exclusively with domestic timber which has come down naturally or was taken down for other reasons. Most of J.B.’s pieces are worked to completion while the wood is still green, then the magic happens as moisture is allowed to escape and the natural wood movement gives the piece it’s final form and texture. His hollow forms offer a three dimensional view into the hidden interior beauty of a tree and allow the viewer an intimate visual and textural experience with the material.
“It’s challenging when you’re dealing with the real world of nature and its colors, its moods, and its drama. Painting is like a journey– always discovering something new and exciting. I always want to push myself as far as I can go as a professional artist.”
As a youth Jim loved drawing and painting, but his love for sports became a priority while playing football at Waco High School and then at TCU. It was not until many years later, on a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, that painting became the most important part of his life. He has been creating art for galleries and private collectors since 1987 and is an active member of the Oil Painters of America and Artists of Texas. Jim is an impressionistic painter using the impasto technique with strong brush strokes and rich harmonious color to capture the textures and quality of light in his paintings.
“It’s the most natural thing in the world for me to pick up a brush and become a conduit of expression. How it delights me when something I’ve painted or a title I’ve chosen speaks to or comforts someone. Painting has helped me to learn, to heal and to grow. Painting is my voice. It is the way I speak to the world and the way the world speaks to me. I suppose that’s why my paintings are so vibrant.”
Elsie is self-taught and continuously learning and experimenting with color, composition and medium. Her paintings are open, honest and authentic. Each piece is unique as it tells the stories of dreams, fears, loves and losses. Her colorful, energetic art is an expression of both her mind and her heart, and tell stories of life. Born in Buffalo, NY Elsie has also lived in Denver, CO, Huntsville, AL, Vancouver, British Columbia, New Orleans, LA, Hattiesburg, MS and Atlanta, GA. She now resides in McKinney, TX where she shows and sells her work throughout the city.
“I make mud look GOOD! I am hooked on ceramics. I produce some utilitarian pieces, but really enjoy working with what mother nature offers: mud, leaves and sticks, and fire! I love the challenge of commissioned work, especially outdoor installations. I really enjoy the unpredictability of the Raku firing process. My work is organic and earthy, topped with my heart and soul.”
Kerry Randol-Johnston graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree. After moving to McKinney, she studied decorative painting with Fern Henry, canvas painting with Annie Royer, then ceramics with Sona Knox. Currently her work is displayed at the LAST Gallery and the McKinney Art Studio, as well as at The Cove. She works from her home studio – Three Dog Studio – and is a Resident Artist at the McKinney Art Studio.
“I try to create visually stimulating images in whatever medium I am working: painting, photography, printmaking. We spend most of our lives communicating and thinking verbally. More attention needs to be given to influences that can be transmitted only visually or tactilely. Much ‘information’ about the world cannot be expressed by strings of words or other symbols.”
Sam Rogers (aka, James Samuel Rogers) grew up on a farm in Nacogdoches County, Texas and accquired all of his formal education in the public schools and universities of Texas. Along the way he received degrees in mathematics and biology. After graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin, he joined the biology faculty of the University of New Orleans (UNO), where he remained for thirty-three years. (He and his wife, Jerry, raised two daughters, Susan and Kristen, in New Orleans, a very interesting, and sometimes unsettling, experience.) Over the years, having never really decided what he wanted to do when he grew up, he developed a desire to pursue creative efforts in some area other than science. This eventually led to a noncredit class in drawing at UNO and classes in drawing, painting and photography at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts (a non-degree-granting institution.) He probably would still be pursuing these interests in New Orleans but for the intervntion of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which sent him and his wife back to Texas. After residing in Nacogdoches for a few years, they moved to McKinney to be near their daughters (who had come to North Texas for college and remained) and their two grandsons. Sam eventually discovered the Art House in McKinney and began studying acrylic painting with K.D. Hafley, which he continues to do. He later began learning the art of printmaking with Lynne Hubner, and continues that as well. More recently, he joined The Arts and Music Guild and The Cove, both in McKinney. He has enjoyed and profitted from the frequent contact with other artists who work in a variety of media.
“From an early age, my teacher and mentor, Gustav Likan, instilled in me the desire to create beauty through color and form, regardless of the subject matter. I grew up in a musical and artistic family, and have always thrived on the synergy of creative collaboration. When I paint to live music, I am a conduit for the expression of sound through color and form.”
Anne began her art studies when she was six, attending the adult classes of Gustav Likan at the Art School at Laguna Gloria in Austin, Texas. Mr. Likan’s daring work as a colorist influenced her greatly, and he mentored her until his death in 1998. Anne’s work also reflects the influence of traditional Japanese art and aesthetics which she encountered during an extended stay in Japan. Anne earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Austin College and three Master’s Degrees from Yale University: Religion and the Visual Arts, East Asian Studies, and the History of Art. She has taught studio art for 30 years, mentoring and preparing students for higher education and career opportunities in the visual arts. Anne volunteers as the Director of the Arts and Music Guild.
Fred "Jazz" Ruland
“I spontaneously create art to open the mind. Each composition is unique and is able to be view in four different ways. My objective is to open the viewer’s imagination, leading the my audience’s minds to roam through my images.”
Fred “Jazz” Ruland began his art career at the age of 5. He was always doodling with pencil and paper, eventually drawing comics and cartoons. He was heavily influenced by Dr. Seuss, Popeye, Dennis the Menace, and classic monsters such as Frankenstein and Dracula. Twentieth century artists such as Salvador Dali, Picasso and MC Escher influenced him. In 1986, Jazz acquired an Amiga computer that allowed him to create art digitally. In 1990 he entered his digitally created pieces in an art show in Los Angeles and won the award for “Most Unique” artwork. He works in several media, including pen and ink, colored pencil, acrylic, watercolor, airbrush and digital. Originally from Queens, New York, and Los Angeles, California, Jazz moved to McKinney in 2005. He is currently working with an original band called “Small Tribe” as a singer, lead guitar player and songwriter.
Don Simmons Jr.
“Taking up photography as a hobbyist came quite naturally to me. My Grandfather and my father were both avid photographers, and my grandfather actually had a working darkroom for a number of years.”
As a young person my family lived in Venezuela and we were fortunate enough to be able to travel to many of the countries in Central and South America, so when I went into the military it seemed quite natural for me to continue documenting my travels there. I bought my first camera, a Nikon Nikkormat FT2, in 1970, and began photographing places I visited. It was not until the early 1980s when I took a black and white class in college that I became passionate about photography as an art form. I feel that our surroundings have a lot to offer us visually, but oftentimes we fail to see these wonders because we are too entrenched in our everyday lives to see them. We all need more tranquility in our lives, and as such I photograph subjects that elicit feelings of peace and tranquility for me. These may not be the same things that cause the same feelings in you but that’s OK; this is an exploration of the world around us – and it will tend to affect us all in different ways. I am intrigued with the desert, and I am intrigued with the city; each has its own characteristics that appeal to me on some level. I am extremely intrigued by the beauty of dissolution, or “Urban Decay”. I am impressed by things that are simple, and represent a way of life long since gone. I photograph in black and white much of the time because of the rich tonality these prints can yield if done properly, and I am motivated to continue this journey by contemporary artists like Bruce Barnbaum, John Sexton, and Clyde Butcher to name a few.
For the last several years I have spent a lot of time photographing both the landscape, “Urban Decay”, and people. These are the things that interest me right now. I am one of those that still believes in the awesome power of film, but increasingly am shooting in digital…I just enjoy photography and am apt to use whatever camera is available to do the job…
“My paintings capture the Spanish façades, African rhythms, Taino Indian symbols, and natural beauty of the island where I grew up. I choose a detail of a particular place or thing to paint that will spark memories and cause the viewer to remember more than what they are seeing. If I could only bring the warmth of the tropical sun, the salt air from the sea, the pounding sound of the waves, the cold, foggy nights of the rain forest, the delicious scents of comida criolla (Creole) cooking at the kiosko….and the music, ohh the music…”
Magali’s artistic nature shows through in everything she does. Her meticulous paintings preserve on canvas her inner strength of spirit. There is precision, but also a delicate brushwork in her paintings. Recently she was asked to respond to a poem by Richard Blanco, US Poet Laureate under President Obama for an upcoming book of his poems. Magali is an active member of the Arts and Music Guild, The Cove in McKinney, the Visual Arts League of Allen, Blue House Too, and the McKinney Art Club and has been invited to several juried art shows in Dallas and McKinney. She often donates paintings to charitable organizations like The HeArts of Hope.
St. Peter’s Artist Run Co-Op.
Milessa Murphy Stewart
“I dream while I’m awake and paint in my sleep!”
Milessa’s impressionistic paintings mix a dab of fiction, maybe some facts, a bit of humor and a lot of color to create visible thinking in a world where there is little time to daydream. They are energetic and quirky with clues to a playful story. Driving 80 mph, such is life, when you see one of Milessa’s paintings it will stop you in your tracks. I hope you have your seat belt on! Her art creates visible thinking and encourages imagination!!!
She creates “happy”. Her paintings have a positive effect on people which inevitably makes life more enriching. They will make your soul dance! Happy walls make happy people. Milessa’s glass is not only ½ full, it is FULL! Full of love, full of creativity and full of “BS” (BS, of course meaning…Best of Standards!). Her palette is made up of colorful and buttery oils like the ones used by the Impressionists, Monet and Renoir, but her style is like Van Gogh. She paints in a dreamy, playful and visual style, keeping you entertained for your life and beyond.
“Art for me is more than paint on a canvas. It is community, belief, vulnerability, and self-discovery. Motion captivates me. Whether it’s light playing off someone’s expression as they play the guitar or the abrupt and ruggedly beautiful turning of a cutting horse, both inspire me to capture a moment by throwing myself into the glorious mess that is my studio.”
Jeni, from McKinney, Texas, grew up surrounded by the small town Texas culture and considers it a vital part of her expression as an artist. Immersed in the artist’s community there, she has both taught and shown in the Dallas, Fort Worth area. Educated at the University of North Texas for a BFA in Fine Arts, she worked in the Dallas area for twenty years, creating murals and paintings for clients and commercial interests. Jeni has both out of state and local patrons for her mural painting and counts many people as collectors of her canvas work. She has won numerous prizes and juried competitions, including prestigious National Art Shows.
My first (and most enduring) passion is music and, while I have a BA in Vocal Performance, I also play several instruments, including string bass, woodwinds, and guitar.
I enjoyed a wonderful early career in music, but have always been drawn to architecture and construction (my father and grandfather, both excellent carpenters, instilled a love of tools and problem solving). Even in my earliest years, I conceived and built structures and mechanisms, and loved the challenges of creating something from conception to reality.
For the past three decades, I have worked for design and fabrication companies, taking two-dimensional plans and converting them into three-dimensional realities. And, in the process of transforming raw materials into their final form, I worked and studied with local scenic artists who were masters of their craft.
Working alongside these talented artists led me to want to express myself on smaller pieces of canvas. I’ve taken various art classes and explored different techniques and mediums. Much of my inspiration still comes from music but, as with all artists, there are many other themes that personally resonate with me. I will always think of myself as a vocal artist and musician, but continue to search for my unique artistic voice in visual arts, as well.
So now, I think of myself as an artist with unlimited means of self-expression.
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Theresa Strange Johnston
J B Phipps
Fred “Jazz” Ruland
Milessa Murphy Stewart