The Garrison family from Russellville will exhibit a variety of artwork in the Merkle and Price Galleries October 1-31, with an opening artist reception on Saturday, September 30, 6-7:30pm.
This artistic family includes Bill Garrison, his wife Gloria, their son Steven, their daughter Diana, and Diana’s fiance, Daniel Mark Cassity.
Bill, who previously exhibited in the Merkle and Price Galleries in 2015, will show new large oil paintings, featuring Arkansas landscapes. Bill’s labels are marked with GPS locations. Gloria works in both oil and watercolor and will display primarily watercolor florals and landscapes. Steve’s work combines his math, woodworking, and artistic skill; his unique wood sculptures will be on display. Diana will bring a touch of whimsy to the exhibit with her illustrations in a variety of media, including colored pencil and watercolor. Daniel will show his thought-provoking still lifes and painterly landscapes.
Being an artist is a continuous learning process. I think I have learned more from the process of plein air painting than from any other source. Painting on location outdoors forces me to paint more quickly and intuitively because of the constantly changing lighting conditions. When I paint in the studio I like to work from studies I have done on location. If I paint using photographs as a reference, it is my goal to make the painting look as if it were painted on location. I have learned that it takes more than merely duplicating a photograph to make a good painting. Simplification of the subject and selective emphasis of certain elements of the painting are essential. Composition of the subject plays a major role in producing a good painting. The realistic quality of my paintings is enhanced by the exaggeration of atmospheric perspective giving the two dimensional painting a three dimensional appearance.
Living amid the beautiful landscapes of Arkansas, Garrison finds inspiration for his paintings literally in his own back yard. He doesn’t have to travel very far to search out a clear water creek, waterfall, pond or lake that will become the subject of his next painting. The majority of Bill’s paintings include water even if it is only a puddle reflecting the awesome fall colors of the trees behind it.
Garrison retired as a licensed Nuclear Power Plant Operator after 23 years at Arkansas Nuclear One and is seriously pursuing a second career as an artist. He and his wife Gloria, also an artist, share a studio which they built along with their home in Russellville. Bill is an avid plein air painter where much of his time is spent on a creek bank, lake shore, open field or just out in the woods of Arkansas painting on location. He said, “Most of what is in this exhibit are studio paintings done from on location studies and photographs. The experience of plein air painting has allowed me the capability to achieve the quality of studio paintings I produce today.”
His paintings hang in many prestigious corporate collections including the UAMS Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hospitals and medical facilities in Fort Smith, Hot Springs and Fayetteville, the Fort Smith Convention Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Arkansas Tech University’s Williamson Hall in Russellville, Arkansas; Tyson Food Headquarters in Fayetteville, Arkansas; the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas; Merrill Lynch Corporate offices, and the Arkansas Court of Appeals Justice Building, both in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Bill’s work has received many awards in local as well as in international competitions. He has consistently placed in the top 100 category for landscapes in the Art Renewal Center’s International Salon Competition. He has placed in the top 100 of the Arts for the Parks Competition. Awards include “Best of Show” in the 2003-2004 Fine Arts of Arkansas Competition and Exhibit at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Best in Oil” in Artists of Northwest Arkansas 2006 Exhibit. “Best of Show” in Illinois River Salon 2013 which included exhibit at Crystal Bridges.
Bill learned the basics of oil painting in his high school years from a professional artist in Texarkana. After a career in a non-art related field he furthered his studies in painting with workshops from artists whose work inspires him, most notably, with Richard Schmid. Over the years Bill has developed a style of his own and shares what he has learned with other artists through teaching workshops.
Bill said, “Painting plein air (outdoors on location) is the best teacher of all and is the most enjoyable form of painting. I lose all sense of time and become oblivious to hardships such as weather and insects when standing in front of a beautiful scene in nature with a paintbrush in my hand.”
Bill’s current work can be seen on his Facebook page, Bill Garrison Fine Art, and his work can also be seen on his website, suddenlink.net/billandgloria/index.htm.
I love what I do. I choose to portray the beauty of this world, not the ugly. I prefer intimate subjects rather than the vastness. My subjects are often ones whose beauty is generally unnoticed. This world is beautiful, and I try to call attention to it.
Watercolor is my medium of choice due to the convenience. It is easy to pick up and put down without worrying about paint drying in your brushes. Having three children, I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to my art in previous years.
Gloria has the gift of capturing those wonderful warm moments and perfect glimpses that one would like to remember forever, with a style imbued with nostalgia. Her love of the technique of water color is evident in the exciting flow of color and form over the paper, achieving effects that range from realism into the abstract.
Although she is well known for her watercolors, Gloria has recently worked in oil and acrylic as well.
Gloria attended Arkansas Tech University and has studied with such contemporary artists as Milford Zornes, Irving Shapiro, Frank Web, Don Andrews, Bill Herring, Jeanie Dobie, Gerald Brommer, and Cheng-Khee Chee and many others.
Her style continues to evolve as she reaches greater heights with each new painting. Her works have been exhibited at the Arkansas Art Center, Fort Smith Art Center, Arkansas River Valley Art Center and in various traveling shows throughout the state. She is a signature member of Mid-Southern Watercolor Society and Artists of Northwest Arkansas. Her paintings have been selected in the prestigious Watercolor USA Annual Exhibit in 2001 and 2009. She is signature member of Watercolor Honor Society.
Gloria and her husband, Bill, were selected as the first Artists-In-Residence at Buffalo National River in 1996, and in 1998 at Glacier National Park.
Gloria’s work can be seen in Corporate collections including UAMS Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, Hospitals and medical facilities in Fort Smith including Arkansas Colleges of Health Education, Hot Springs and Fayetteville, Tyson Food Headquarters in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Gloria shares her knowledge and technical expertise with other artists in the form of workshops and demonstrations.
In Steve’s work, you will find things that are a bit different from the usual woodworking projects. He said, “My projects are inspired by nature and things of mathematical curiosity. Many of the techniques I use I have developed myself to get the outcome that I am looking for. When this happens, I write about it to describe it to others so that they can learn about it to – this is what I do for a living. I think of myself as an inventor whose ideas are not patent-able, but valuable in advancing the art of woodwork for other artists.”
Much of my inspiration comes from nature. In particular, I like to zoom in; the tiniest creatures give me the most pleasure — iridescent dragonflies darting over a sparkling pond, or cheery little birds going about their business of collecting food for their young. I tend to think of these subjects as small in scale, grand in scope. To capture this, I typically utilize lyrical, swirling lines and bright colors to express the delight I take in these small creatures. I’m also inspired when I feel tiny — a single entity in a world of wonder — gazing up at a sky full of stars on a crisp night, or watching waves roll in as I dip my toes into the ocean. Again, color and line are my elements of choice to portray such mood and emotion. In keeping with my approach, most of my original works are small as well, as I like the intimacy of finding surprises in a piece I can hold in one hand.
I grew up in rural Arkansas in an artistic environment, with both of my parents being painters. As might be expected, my brothers and I were encouraged to create and make things; I particularly liked sewing and designing my own clothes and accessories. After initially choosing an English education degree — not to mention a false start as an architect — I eventually settled into the study of graphic design at Louisiana Tech University, obtaining a BFA in 1986. From there I worked as a graphic artist in Shreveport — freelancing for small design shops and agencies, and assuming part ownership in an advertising agency.
I cherish my time and experience in the commercial arts field; however, I chose to branch out onto another professional path. In one busy semester, I completed courses for an alternative teaching certificate and have been teaching art to elementary, middle and high school students for the past 15 years. I am currently in my fifth year with Virtual Arkansas where I teach art courses online to public school students across the state. Through VA I was selected to pilot Crystal Bridges’ newly designed online course for high school students: Art Appreciation and American Identity. A second course shortly followed, and I worked as a consultant for Crystal Bridges to develop Art + Process: Creating a Body of Work. In addition to my work with Virtual Arkansas, I now train teachers to use the Crystal Bridges’ courses in their own classrooms and online environments.
Though I often find it difficult to find time for art-making in the midst of my teaching and training obligations, I value that time to create the whimsical little worlds that live within my imagination.
Daniel Mark Cassity
My still lifes represent the fall of controlled light upon a variety of textures. To produce them, I arrange items in a manner that is meant to stimulate the viewer beyond the painted surface: usually intended to imply an event or story, often countering initial humor with lurking sadness or darkness: the result being complexity of content. Most often the underlying pulse of my art is something primal, familiar and broad, which I then focus into something yet unseen by means of my imagination. Therefore, my representational paintings are conceptual – borrowing from any art form – while still drawing from the still life genre’s rich history of direct observation and skill. Viewers are thus invited into my imaginary world – The Kingdom – wherein ordinary and not so ordinary objects comprise settings for metaphorical characters and scenarios: a mainstay of which are origami dragons and troll dolls.
As I work from direct observation, setting up and lighting begins the process, followed by a month or two of painting. The objects are selected for their symbolism as well as aesthetic contribution, and so must pass through intellectual and visceral “filters” in order to participate within a constructed scene. These objects, some of which have a personal connection to me, I continue to collect, or if need be, make. Along with my origami dragons and troll dolls, another visual trademark is my inclusion of colored glass to produce luminous shadows: shadows in general, are a major compositional contributor to my designs.
Born 1965, Cassity grew up in Northeast Louisiana, graduating from Louisiana Tech in 1988, and then spending twenty years in North Carolina after attending postgraduate studies at East Carolina University. He began concentrating on still lifes around 2006, developing his Kingdom concept around 2011. These paintings receive ever-increasing national – and international – attention. A few highlights from his resume include the Society of Illustrators National Scholarship Competition, The Artist’s Magazine’s Annual Art Competitions, Oil Painters of America’s National Exhibitions, the Art Renewal Center’s International Salons, and the International Guild of Realism’s Exhibitions. He also exhibited in the national museum exhibitions American Still Lifes, and the International Guild of Realism’s Masterworks Museum Tour. He has also been promoted in American Art Collector, featured in Southwest Art Magazine, and The Artist’s Magazine’s article “The Kingdom of the Origami Dragon Guy”, highlighted on the cover of Juxtaprose Literary Magazine, and included in Manifest’s International Painting Annual, volume 7.
Nationally and internationally collected, Cassity is also in the permanent collection of the R.W. Norton Museum of Shreveport, and now enjoys and avidly promotes the art market of his residence, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Visit DanielMarkCassity.com for more information
For more information on this exhibit, contact SAAC at 870-862-5474.