Timeless, a retrospective collection of watercolors by DeLeath Ludwig, hangs in the Lobby Gallery January 6-30. For the past forty years, Dee Ludwig has “played” with watercolor. A resident of El Dorado since 1955, she began painting when she retired from teaching in elementary school in 1979. Primarily self-taught, she was influenced in workshops by artists of the period, including Doug Walton and Linda Doll. Today she sketches in journals almost daily for her own entertainment. This exhibit presents work done over a 35 year period. According to Dee, it is indeed the process, not the product, that is important. “I caress my watercolors and coach them into the image I want them to become. It is a matter of some discipline, but that is completely outweighed by the excitement and joy of seeing them develop most of the time into the blends and focus that I never even imagined,” she said.
So much of life is hectic and ugly. I have found a deeper realization of God and serenity in life through depicting some of the unimaginably beautifully created images around us. Catching a moment or an object of feeling in a way that helps make a lasting impression is a worthy goal. It seems only logical to me that the creative Spirit within us needs expression through some form of art. Making something with the eyes and hands with coordinated movement is the rightful heritage of every person. We were created to join Him in creating…be it music, writing, building, cooking, or any self-expression. If we can write our name or make a pencil mark, we have what we need to live in that inheritance “in His image after His likeness.”
DeLeath Ludwig was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, during the Depression of the 1930’s. Her father was a hardworking retail hardware salesman who had a creative bent and expressed that inclination doing signboard lettering, window decorating, and gunstock carving. Her mother loved to make the homes they rented in Vicksburg and Greenville, Mississippi, better than they found them and was always looking for pretty things to decorate them inside and out. From that background, Dee (as she is usually called) grew up with creativity being the norm.
She married James Ludwig in 1955 after graduating from Southern State College in Magnolia, Arkansas, and moved to El Dorado, where she taught a year and a half at Southside School. They had two sons, Warren and Kris, and she began teaching again in the late 1960’s at Murmil Heights. When she retired after nine and half more years of teaching, her long unfulfilled desire to create art was given a chance for expression. Although she had experimented with oil paints at home, she tried painting with watercolors and found them more expressive of her view of life. The harmony and flow of transparent watercolor was a way of making images similar to the way she addressed life, and she saw that life around her could be replicated in her work.
In her retirement years, sketch journaling is her primary artistic pastime, going out to sketch the town while seated in her car or at a restaurant.