By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. — The Stillwater Art Guild is meeting at 7-9 p.m. Monday in the Sheerar Center for a watercolor demonstration by Ed Hoag, a former Stillwater resident now retired in Las Vegas, Nev. The guild is marking its 50th year of community art programs with a break for refreshments at 8 p.m.
Vonda Evans, a long-time Stillwater resident now living in Tulsa, helped form the guild in 1963.
“As a young mother, it was a great association with other artists for inspiration and encouragement,” Evans said.
She said the guild gave many “Sunday painters” a venue for showing their work.
“I enjoyed it so much — I wanted to improve my skills and I took advantage of all the workshops and demonstrations,” she said.
Evans explored many areas of art but became fascinated with colored pencils which involve layering colors to convert a drawing into a painting with both a soft and subtle or a brilliant and bold look.
“Preserving a moment in eternity through the artist’s pencil or the camera’s lens is a personal gift an artist can give to the world,” Evans said.
From joining the Stillwater Art Guild, Evans branched out and developed her talent to where she displays and sells her work with many commission opportunities. She has learned from many artists including Hoag who served as president of the Stillwater Art Guild in the 1970s.
Evans said Hoag’s work in landscape painting benefits from his formal occupation as a landscape architect which included teaching at Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University. His skills in sketching and presentations created success in the landscape architecture design office. Hoag credits workshops from other artists as a way he grew into developing his watercolor painting techniques.
“Ed Hoag is a wonderful artist — and as a landscape architect, he really knows the anatomy of rocks and trees which translates beautifully in his paintings,” Evans said.
Hoag’s art has been represented by galleries in Texas, Colorado and Nevada. His style emphasizes the effects of light upon his subject and varies from representational to impressionistic, depending on his mood.
For the artist or patron, the Stillwater Art Guild is dedicated to stimulating community interest in the visual arts. Through half a century, the group has offered a wide variety of activities for professional and amateur artists, as well as patrons of the arts. The group meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in September to November and January to April. Meetings are held in the auditorium of the Sheerar Cultural and Heritage Center, Seventh Avenue and Duncan Street, but some workshops are held other places like the Stillwater Multi Arts Center. Each meeting features a demonstration by a notable artist. Members ask questions and interact with the artists as they create a piece. On Monday night, Hoag plans to demonstrate watercolor techniques with a scene from the Grand Canyon. Demonstrations through the years have showcased many different media including oil, acrylic and pastel painting to airbrushing, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, fabric and computer generated art. Guest teachers have included celebrated artists like Ben Harjo, Mike Larsen and Tim Jessell. Two fine art shows, one judged and one non-judged, are showcased each year. Members can also exhibit their art at commercial and public places in Stillwater.
Jack Allred said one of the art guild shows changed his life. He attended an art exhibit in the early 1970s which rekindled his interest in art.
“I was set on fire,” Allred said.
He had taken art lessons for a short time as a child and even studied in junior high school with Grace Hamilton who painted the large mural in the old post office. But, he didn’t pick up a paint brush again until his mid-30s.
“The Stillwater Art Guild changed my life,” Allred said.
He said the workshops were a good way to see how other people do things and helped him get involved in showing his work. Several members have their own art studios including Earline Strom, David Horton, Jim Franklin and Lou Moore Hale. Some members are represented in galleries within the state and California, New Mexico and Arkansas.
“We have all ages — from 10 to 84,” said guild president Roxanne Parrow, “and, all occupations” with members having working day jobs as attorneys, veterinarians, accountants, professors and business owners in Stillwater and small towns and large cities statewide all the way to Alva.
Membership is $35 for an individual, spouse or family and $15 for students. Visitors can attend free for the first time with a $5 fee for subsequent visits. For more information, come to a meeting or visit www.stillwaterartguild.org.