Wandering through the White Rock Lake artists' studios put me face to face with so many great artists and so much great art in a variety of style and media.
Richard Ray's enormous collection of paintings was a joy to view. He paints scenes familiar to Dallas residents and uses vivid colors and Impressionist-style brush work to bring them to life and give them new energy.
Elsewhere on the tour, a painting of a tree branch that was both earthy and mystical kept me coming back and wishing I had more in my wallet than I did. Other works moved me but didn't beg to come home with me, so I didn't have to wrestle with my budget or my conscience.
I enjoyed talking to Chris Lyons about an abstract stone sculpture he'd made, hearing how he was inspired by the stone, how he came up with the composition, and how he built the sculpture, which was a dynamic piece constructed from long oblong forms with unexpected angles. It appeared to defy gravity and I loved the tension and the lines of it.
We took a break mid afternoon for lunch and Granola Grrrl's friend H treated us to tacos at a Mexican Taqueria where we pretended we could read and understand Spanish. Luckily, it's not too hard to say, "Dos taco carnitas" and respond "Maize" when asked what kind of tortilla you want used on the shell. We said "No, gracias" when we thought the waitress was asking us if we wanted dessert, but the look of surprise on her face showed we'd guessed wrong about what she was saying. I hope we weren't rude. I'm haunted by the thought that she asked us whether we enjoyed our meal.
I studied Spanish for two years in high school and remember almost nothing. I then studied French for two years in college and so much of that remains imprinted in my memory. It always surprises me. The worst thing is that when I try to use a few Spanish phrases, I combine them with my latent French vocabulary and speak some ugly hybrid language called Spench (or is it Franish?). So embarrassing.
After lunch we returned to the studio tour and I made some purchases. This tile by Angela Gallis instantly won me over. It was just perfect. (Ignore the bright blue highlight at the top, which appears on the scan, not on the art itself.)
Likewise, when I saw this mixed media work by Andrea Davis, I knew it would be going home in my suitcase. The colored metal plate the work is mounted on is so vivid, and the piece itself layered with paint and images. When you turn it side to side, "hidden" stars appear.
I also immediately connected with the word "Open." It's a brave word. A daring word. It takes courage to be open to life, open to people, open to love, open to change. Doing so leaves us open to criticism, open to judgment, open to pain. However, I believe writers and artists have no choice but to embrace openness. It feeds our spirits and inspires our work and tutors us in the universal language of our shared humanity.
I also bought some ceramic chopstick holders made by Betsy Doan. They're an enticing mix of blues and green glaze over a leaf motif. What do I need chopstick holders for? Well I put them in my studio to rest my wet brushes on when I'm painting.
All in all, a lot of art for not a lot of money and great souvenirs of my visit to Dallas and my time with Granola Grrrl.