August 2-30 sees the return of popular, well-known pastel artist Virmarie DePoyster from Little Rock. DePoyster will hang Curiosities in the Merkle and Price Galleries August 2-30, and Scroggins will hang her work in the Lobby Gallery the same dates. The artist reception will be August 12, 6-8pm. DePoyster will also teach a pastel workshop appropriate for skill levels (beginners-advanced) September 9-10.
DePoyster said, “After spending my childhood in Puerto Rico, my teen years in El Dorado taught me to love many new things: freshly made Spudnuts on a Saturday morning, shady Southern porches on hot summer days, and the treasures displayed in antique curio cabinets. One summer afternoon, a dear elderly friend and I sat on his front porch on Jefferson Street as we often did, trying to solve the problems of the world. He was in the midst of a story about finding oil when he suddenly said to me, ‘There’s something I want to show you!’ He swung open the creaky screen door and slowly made his way over to a curio cabinet. It was tall and ornate, a furniture masterpiece prominently positioned in his Southern-style living room.
“Something remarkable happened as he showed me the collections displayed within the cabinet with child-like enthusiasm; everyday items took on sacred significance, becoming placeholders for his life’s story. These tokens– ink quills, watches, Australian pennies, toothpick holders, oil-inspired memorabilia– commemorated his past and its intersection with the present and marked the high, as well as the low points, in his life. This antique curio cabinet held symbols of the most significant moments of my dear friend’s life and I was honored to witness his recollection of them.”
She continued, “Thirty years later, everyday quirky objects catch my eye, become my storyboard, and weave their way into my paintings. My intention is not to replicate these objects in my paintings but to use their colors, patterns, and shapes to recall turning moments in my life. These curiosities are the placeholders of my story.”
Born on the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, DePoyster moved to El Dorado, Arkansas, when she was 15 years old. At the University of Arkansas, she studied Apparel Merchandising and Design. In 2004, she enrolled in classes at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School, and quickly fell in love with the bright pigments of soft pastels. A teacher at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School, and an artist in the Arkansas Arts Council Artists in Education program, she developed and implemented a therapeutic art program teaching at-risk youth in Conway and Russellville how to heal through artistic expression. In 2012, she began providing art therapy to children and adolescents in acute care at The Bridgeway.
Lee Scroggins’ watercolor paintings offer a fresh look at common vistas. After retiring and moving to the country, she began painting with the Pre-Boomer Bloomers at SAAC. Lee served on the SAAC Visual Arts Committee for two years and was chair her third year.
“My journey to learn how to watercolor began at SAAC’s open studio about a year after I’d moved to southern Arkansas from Las Vegas, Nevada, so that I could be close to family and live in the country in my retirement years. It’s a journey I’ve been on ever since,” Scroggins said. “To me, the way the paint moves in the water and the various effects that can be achieved are magical. It’s an ongoing exploration. Often, as I paint, I’ll think, ‘I wonder what would happen if… (I did this or that)?’, and then I’ll try it out. My education in art has consisted of the open studio, attending various workshops and classes offered locally, books, videos, the internet, and the generous sharing of tips and expertise by some wonderful local artists.”
She added, “While living in Nevada, I was an active member of the Nevada Camera Club. Many of my paintings start with going on a treasure hunt with my camera, alert and open to possibilities that present themselves, and making several photos of the same scene or subject from various angles and settings as my vision of a potential painting emerges. Others start with a vision in my head or a quick sketch.”
Ccroggins continued, “At this stage I don’t have a ‘style’ I stick to. I’m having way too much fun playing watercolors and trying out different techniques, processes, paints, and color combinations. The possibilities are endless.”