Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kay Polk Classes Starting in January


Renowned Dallas portrait painter, Kay Polk, is seeking several more students for her class starting in Portraiture on Jan 17th, 2013, in her home studio (classes are small and limited) from 10 - 2pm.  Cost is $500 for 5 classes plus model fee. 

For more information, email Kay at, or call 214-234-0435.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Ann Kraft Walker

Ann Kraft Walker of The Woodlands, Texas, is this month's Spotlight Artist. If you would like to be in the spotlight, please email Anna at to submit your information. 

Interview with Spotlight Artist for September/October, Annie Walker:

Artist Ann Kraft Walker

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art? I started playing around with paints in the late 90s. I was interested in folk art for years...( ugh! ) and had no training at all.  I attended the PSoA conference for the first time seven years ago and that began to open my eyes to real art ( instead of folk art ). I was off to a very slow start, as we were raising three children. Art stayed on the back burner until five years ago when our youngest left for college.

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in? I paint in oil, as well as drawing with charcoal.  So far I focus on portraits and still life, but would like to add landscape to the mix soon I hope. I have taken workshops from Clayton Beck, Casey Baugh, and Rob Liberace.

3) What do you try to express in your work? I try to express sensitivity to beauty in my work. 

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences? Casey Baugh has been the biggest influence so far.

"Psalm 149:3" by Ann Kraft Walker
5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?  For inspiration, the most important thing I do is pray!!  As well as LOTS of museum visits and lots of art books!

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now? Ten years from now I hope to still be painting as much as I can, enjoying the never ending pursuit of learning to paint.

7) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?  I don't think I consciously set goals, it's more like I have lists and lists of ideas for paintings I'm dying to do. I wish I didn't have to sleep!

8) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist?  I am so ecstatically happy being an artist!!! Wow, what a BLESSING!!! Sometimes I wish I had started much earlier, and had serious art education, but, I don't regret the years that my number one job and joy was just being a mommy!!

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share? Living in Northern Germany for almost three years in the early 90s was the greatest opportunity for extensive travel and exposure to the great museums.

10) Best piece of advice for other artists?  ...the process is the real joy!!!


I was Texas born in 1955.  In 1977 I received a BFA in Art History at The University of Texas at Austin (a major I could accomplish without any math requirements). Later I moved to Germany for several years which provided the opportunity for extensive travel and many museum visits where my love for art deepened.  At The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, I distinctly remember the desire to learn to paint washing over me.  However, I was busy raising three children and did not take up a paintbrush until my mid-forties.  What a privilege to begin the never ending pursuit of learning to paint.  Any shred of talent I possess is a gift from God and a reflection of His grace.

I am a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America, The International Guild of Realism and American Women Artists. 

Awards and Exhibitions:
"Kate" by Ann Kraft Walker

  • 2012 Featured in Galeria Artelibre
  • 2012 International Artist Magazine, Challenge No. 72 - Finalist
  • 2012 Southwest Art Magazine Artistic Excellence Competition - Finalist
  • 2012 Drawing featured in Strokes of Genius 42012 Exhibited - International Guild of Realism 7th Annual International Juried Exhibition
  • 2012 Exhibited - 27th Annual Bosque Art Classic
  • 2012 Oil Painters of America Summer Online Showcase - First Place
  • 2012  The Artist Magazine, 29th Annual Art Competition - Finalist - ( Two Paintings )
  • 2012 Exhibited - Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibit
  • 2012 Exhibited - The Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery
  • 2012 Raymar Art's 6th Annual Competition, January - Finalist
  • 2012 BoldBrush FAV 15% : February, March, May, June, July
  • 2012 Exhibited - CSOPA  Faces Of Winter
  • 2012 Exhibited - Scottsdale Artist School Best and Brightest
  • 2011 American China Oil Painters Artist League - Exhibition of Contemporary American and Chinese Realism.- Finalist
  • 2011 Richeson 75 Small Works  - Finalist
  • 2011 Richeson 75 Animals Birds and Wildlife - Finalist
  • 2011 Richeson 75 Portrait and Figure - Finalist
  • 2011 Southwest Art Magazine, Artistic Excellence Competition - Finalist
  • 2011 The Artist Magazine, 28th Annual Art Competition,- Finalist
  • 2011 Intenational Artist Magazine, Challenge No.64 - Finalist
  • 2011 BoldBrush FAV 15% : June, July, October, December,
  • 2010 Lone Start Art Guild Show - Best of Show, Mayor's Choice, First Place, Second Place
  • 2010 Woodlands Art League Spring Show - Best of Show
  • 2010 Woodlands Art League Fall Show - Best of Show
  • 2009 Woodlands Art League Spring Show - Best of Show
  • 2009 Woodlands Art League Fall Show - Best of Show, First Place, Third Place

"But Now I See" by Ann Kraft Walker

"Cooper Mack" by Ann Kraft Walker

"John Lightfoot" by Ann Kraft Walker

"Cinderella" by Ann Kraft Walker

"The Visitor" by Ann Kraft Walker

"Undaunted" by Ann Kraft Walker
Contact Info:
Ann Kraft Walker
Website: (coming soon!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Member News - Fall 2012

Connie Erikson - Upcoming Exhibition

         “ Caddo Lake – A Texas Treasure”

 “Sun Warmed Treetops”
16 x 20 inch oil by Connie Erickson
Opens October 20th
Weiler House Fine Art Gallery Fort Worth

The exhibit features works in oil and pastel by artist Connie Erickson. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Nature Conservancy. The exhibit will run until November 17th.

Weiler House Fine Art Gallery is located at 3126 Handley Drive in Fort Worth.

For Further information please contact

Connie Erickson is soon moving to Illinois, so this may be a last chance to purchase  a
Painting of a place she lived from 2004 – 2008: her beloved Caddo Lake. Her home was on Pine Island Pond pictured in this painting.  Please join Connie in a celebration of her time in Texas.  She would love to see the many friends she has made while she lived here.

Susan Hotard - Recent Honors

Susan had two paintings accepted into the Richeson 75 Figure/ Portrait Competition, one of which was awarded 1st Place for Oils.

Susan also had one painting accepted into Audubon Artist Inc. in New York, and currently has 3 paintings in the Times-Picayune Show at Garden District Gallery in New Orleans.

Ann Kraft Walker - Recent Honors

Ann Kraft Walker had quite an amazing year! Here are some of the highlights:
  • Finalist -  ACOPAL   " Psalm 149:3 "  
  • Finalist -  Raymar Art Contest - January    " A Velvet Gaze "
  • Exhibited - The Salon International  " My Bird " and " But Now I See "
  • Exhibited -  OPA National Juried Exhibit  " Cinderella "
  • Finalist - The Artist's Magazine 29th Annual Competition  " But Now I See '' and " The Visitor " 
  • Exhibited - International Guild of Realism  " But Now I See " and " The Visitor " 
  • Exhibited - 27th Annual Bosque Art Classic  " My Bird "
  • Finalist - Southwest Art Artistic Excellence  " The Visitor " 
  • First Place - OPA Online Showcase  " Never Fails "
  • Finalist - International Artist Magazine Challenge # 72  " But Now I See " 
  • Strokes of Genius 4  " John Lightfoot "
"Never Fails," 12x14", oil, by Ann Kraft Walker 
"Psalm 149:3", by Ann Kraft Walker
Kay Polk - Teaching Again

Submitted by Dallas artist, Kay Polk:
Dallas-based Kay Polk has started teaching classes in her home studio. Her classes are limited to 5-6 people in a class.  If anyone is interested, they should email Kay at:  Her class is currently full but she will be starting more classes.  They are for students working in oil and pastel with either general or portraiture focus.  

Gay Paratore - Between Texas and Maine

Submitted by Santa Fe artist, Gay Paratore
"We got back from spending our summer in Maine to get ready for my one woman show at the Butler Longhorn Museum in League City, Texas (see photo). The next week I entered the Watercolor Art Society of Houston Membership Show and won a merchandise award and the invitation for the show had my art work featured as I had won first place last year. They are having a watercolor portrait competition  coming up soon, looking forward to that. I was in three shows in Maine and just before we left I was awarded 1st place at the Beaumont International Show. This has been a good year for me; I'm not using a cane anymore and was able to hike the trails in Acadia Park again. I will be teaching classes there for Schoodic Arts for All again next year; this will be my fourth year to do so. Ya'll come! Nearly 100 workshops the first two weeks in August!  Maine is really beautiful! If your down this way the National Society of Artists is having their National Show at Butler; I luckily got all three of my works accepted! I hope everyone has a great holiday season. Gay Paratore

Krystal Brown - Liberace Demo Recap

Submitted by Spring, TX artist, Krystal Brown:
I was able to attend the demo last week by Rob Liberace at the Woodlands Art League and it was amazing! He posed the model and painted for 3/20 minutes sessions.  During the breaks he would answer specific questions if anyone approached him to ask.  It was time well spent.  I’ve ordered books he’s recommended and have been referring back to the notes I took that night.  One of the best parts of the evening was meeting fellow artists in the area and setting goals.  I look forward to attending more of these type of events and the Art of the Portrait Annual Conference next spring in Atlanta! I’m finishing up a portrait commission and hope to update my painting blog sometime soon.  

Gene Dillard - Unique Project in Plano

Submitted by Plano, TX artist, Gene Dillard

During the month of December, a special exhibit will be held at the Plano Art Centre featuring artists from the Rail Station Studios and Gallery. The exhibit will spotlight works-in-progress for the “Downtown Fact-to-Face” project by Rail Station Studio portrait creators Gene Dillard and Gaby Pruitt.

The “Downtown Fact-to-Face” works-in-progress are part of a developing exhibit created by Gene and Gaby to portray a profile of personalities who make up the character of Historic Downtown Plano. Subjects include individuals ranging from city officials to shop owners and notable individuals who occupy the historic sector of Plano. A total of approximately 25 painted and photographic portraits will make up the final collection.

The “Downtown Fact-to-Face” project is a year-long endeavor that supports the efforts of the Historic Downtown Plano Association to promote the unique character of downtown. And the designated charity of the Association, The Assistance Center Collin County will be the beneficiary of the project when the collection of portraits are made available for sale at a special exhibit in the Spring.

The December exhibit will primarily feature figurative and portrait works by the studio artists, but will also include other genres.  Works included will be by Gene  and Gaby as well as participating artists Don Dillard, Don Mullins, Michael Holter and Joanna Littlefield; members of the Portrait Society of America.

Rail Station Studios and Gallery is located in Historic Downtown Plano at
1013 15th Place, Plano 75075

Alix Dunn - New Work

Submitted by Houston artist, Alix Dunn:
Canal Street Gallery of Houston, Texas presents new work by Alix Dunn, "The Texas Bottomlands."

"The Texas Bottomlands" - 48x72" - oil on canvas - by Alix Dunn 
The painting won first place in the summer 2011 H.A.S. show.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Unveiling: Lilibeth Andre

Lilibeth Andre Art and Design invites you to the unveiling of "The Lady of the Turquoise Pendant," a Young Adult Novel with illustrations by Lilibeth Andre.

When: Friday, October 19 - 6:30-9:30
Where: Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts
 1900 Kane Street Houston, TX 77007
RSVP to: (832) 660-7517 or 

For more info on the upcoming artist open house, please click here:

Upcoming Event: Rob Liberace Demo and Reception

Dear Texas Portrait Society Members,

If you are in the Houston area, you will NOT want to miss out on this amazing event! The Woodlands Art League is hosting Robert Liberace for a workshop, and they have extended an invitation to Portrait Society members to attend an artist's reception, Thursday evening, October 11.

While I have been trying to get a Houston meet-and-greet going, I've simply been too tied down to do so this fall. But this is the next best thing! If you live in or around Houston, here is your chance to mingle with other talented portrait artists, chat with Rob Liberace, and watch him do an amazing painting demo! Details below.

Robert Liberace at Woodlands Art League 

Gallery - Market Street

Meet the Artist Reception

Thursday, October 11

6:30 pm Refreshments 

7pm Demo

9595 Six Pines Drive, Suite 1200

The Woodlands Texas, 77382

Contact: Kim Abbati 281-380-1131

I wish I could join you there! If you do get a chance to attend, please feel free to send me pictures so I can share on this blog! Thanks, all!
- Anna

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Janene Pratt

Artist Janene Pratt
Janene Pratt, of Bryan, Texas, is this month's Spotlight Artist. If you would like to be in the spotlight, please email Anna at to submit your information. (My apologies for not having a July Spotlight Artist - the summer got away from me!) :-)

Noteworthy news: Janene's drawing, "Pastry Class," will be featured in the drawing book: Strokes of Genius (5th edition), to be published by North Light Books in 2013.

Interview with Spotlight Artist for July/August, Janene Pratt:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art? I have  ALWAYS been interested in art. I became serious in High School and was placed in an advanced painting course.  It wasn’t really a course where I learned anything but I loved painting and my professor encouraged me to major in Art.  In College I tried to pursue my artistic passion but was caught in the middle of the “do your own thing”  era.  Many of the courses were about contemporary art and expression and I hated them.   I longed to find classical courses but they were few and far between. 

"Pastry Class," by Janene Pratt
2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in? My father, mother and sister are/were artists and I learned much from watching them.  When I finally had time to study, I took from some very fine instructors as often as I could.  I only wish I had found them earlier.  These include:  Nelson Shanks, David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Henry Yan and Gregg Kreutz.   I draw a lot and use charcoal and conte.  I have recently taken up pastels.  But mostly, I use oils.

3) What do you try to express in your work? I love the chiaroscuro style of Rembrandt.  So, I guess the answer would be capturing the light.  I paint and draw from life,  90 % of the time.  I also do a great deal of narrative paintings.  People seem to love them.

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences? They are the same as my teachers mentioned and of course Rembrandt and Caravaggio. 

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?  I look everywhere:  books, movies ,photos and other artist’s work.  I am a photographer too and love to take photos.  Trips to Europe, Ireland, Russia and Mexico bring new inspiration.

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now? I may be barely moving but I hope to be painting.
"Study of a Back" by Janene Pratt

7) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?  Yes,  I have really tried to work on something different each year.  One year it may be value, the next color, then edges and so on.  I try to paint or draw every day if possible and love having the opportunity to do so with live models.   I try to take at least one to two courses every year.

8) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist?  If I had to look at it that way, I would be starving. I am lucky to have other means of making ends meet.  Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently? No …Just wish I could have started “really" painting much earlier.

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share? I found myself going blind and have recently been given new sight through means of a corneal transplant.  Its great to see again.  Talk about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.  I am extremely blessed to have new sight.
"The Urban Planner" - 20x16
charcoal on paper
 by Janene Pratt

10) Best piece of advice for other artists?  Work hard and remember to not take criticism personally.  I have learned that my work is not “me”.  If you like it …great!  It is something I do, not who I am.

"The Poet," by Janene Pratt

Contact Info:
Janene Pratt

Friday, June 29, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Lilibeth Andre

Lilibeth Andre of Houston, TX, is this month's Spotlight Artist. If you would like to be "in the spotlight", please email Anna at to submit your information.

Artist Lilibeth Andre
Interview with our June Spotlight Artist, Lilbeth Andre:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art?
I was always interested in art. My father did drawings and caricatures, my mother was always designing new things, and my grandparents on both sides were also creative: architecture, painting, arts and crafts, and music. I remember being in pre-k, climbing on top of my dad’s drafting table, playing with his mannequin and beginning to draw figures. By the time I got to first grade in Catholic school, I did a representational crayon representation of the Virgin Mary on blue paper. My mother saved it and years later as an adult I was impressed with my sense of scale and anatomy. 

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in?
I studied every art class I could sign up for all through school but my first painting classes were in college when I studied architectural art and painting. I’ve used watercolor, oil, colored pencils, enamel, acrylics, ink, and pastels. For the last 12 years I’ve used water-soluble oils. I also sketch in charcoal, grahite and conté. I usually use the medium that I feel best applies to the project or what is specifically required. I also received technical training at the drafting table which I later converted to CAD and computer graphics work.
3) What do you try to express in your work?
Since I work full-time I use my art to find peace and solace in the beauty of nature around me. I also like to do figure drawing, especially to represent my Mexican roots in landscapes and figures. With my portraits and figures I like to represent strength and character with internal peace. I also like a little bit of drama. I like to find that in people as I bring out their features and likeness.

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences?

The work of the Mexican muralists was inspirational in their representation of social causes and cultural focus. I liked the forceful expression of their work. I also like the work of Sargent and Zorn.  A professional mentor has been my artist friend Jim Rabby from Santa Fe. He is an artist who paid his way through school with his paintings to earn a degree in economics. He brings a total business perspective to how he runs his business.

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work? I don’t lack for inspiration.

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work? I don’t lack for inspiration.
My challenge is to make the time to paint more. I get inspired from everything around me or find inspiration easily. Because I tend to receive too much information from my surroundings, I can get overwhelmed with excessive stimulation. One example is being in a shopping mall or a museum. I begin to get so many ideas and inspiration that I overload my hard drive and have to find a quiet place to settle my thoughts.

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now?
I would like to be retired and working as an artist full-time with time to create art for myself and for my commissions. I will strive to be more free and relaxed in my stroke.

8) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?
Definitely. Working full-time I have always set goals for myself. This helps me better manage my time and my learning. Because I stopped painting during my married life, especially when I had kids, to keep toxics away from the home environment, I have felt I needed to catch-up for the years I wasn’t painting. Now I think I didn’t really need to take an all or nothing approach during those years but I feel comfortable that I’ve taken good advantage of my time since then. When I get an idea for a project, I am energized and want to work non-stop. I start strong and I take my time towards the end with the final phase.

9) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently?
Perhaps if I’d had the concept of being a professional artist early in my life I would have seen art as a career instead of a gift that was nice to have. Besides my architect grandfather, no one chose “art” as a career. Besides, having old-fashioned Mexican parents, they always thought I’d grow up to be married off to become a “kept woman” as it was in their time. Little did they know I would be the longest working of their children. With two careers to boot. 

10) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
I would have loved to be the new Shirley McLaine but I was too shy.

11) Best piece of advice for other artists?
Paint what you want to paint. Don't talk about it, just do it.

Here are some portrait examples:

Contact info: 
Lilibeth André
Art & Design

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Texas Pride - Congrats to James Tennison!

Congratulations to Fort Worth artist, James Tennison! James won an Honor Award for his painting, "Margueritte" (40x27", oil) in the Portrait Society of America's International Competition.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 5 Meet-and-Greet with Kay Polk

We had a GREAT turnout on May 5 for the Kay Polk demo and member get-together in Dallas! There were just over 30 people in attendance, some even coming from as far as Austin, the Woodlands, and San Antonio. Kay's demo was fantastic; our model was a WWII veteran named Jim (so much character!), and Kay did a wonderful job explaining her process, and generously sharing her knowledge. Afterwards, members had a chance to view and critique each others' work. The fellowship and mingling continued as several stayed to have dinner and drinks at a nearby restaurant.

THANK YOU to everyone who attended (we had over 30 people!), and a HUGE thanks to the lovely Kay Polk for giving of her time and talents.

For those of you who have asked about an event happening in Houston, I have good news! Our next meet-and-greet will be in The Woodlands, some time this fall.

Meanwhile, please let your ambassador know (email Anna at if you plan on attending the Art of the Portrait conference next week in Philadelphia. We have tentatively planned for a Texas members breakfast on Friday, May 25. More details to come.

A shot of attending artists in the studio, at the Society of Figurative Arts, owned by Michael Mentler (standing in doorway). 

Kay's finished demo.

A group shot, including state ambassador Anna Rose Bain (in turquoise) and Kay Polk (next to Anna, in yellow)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Upcoming Meet-and-Greet!

What: Meet-and-Greet for Texas Members of the Portrait Society of America 

When: Saturday, May 5

Time: 2:00-5:00 p.m. (please plan on arriving a little early so that we can start the demo as soon as possible!)
         Dinner at a nearby restaurant to follow (location TBD)

            3306 Wiley Post, Studio 104 Dallas, TX

Featuring a demo in oil by Kay Polk

Please RSVP by May 1 to

What to bring: Bring your portfolio and one or two recent pieces or works in progress for critique. Non-members welcome!

"Sunny" by Kay Polk, Oil

Friday, April 20, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Kay Polk

Kay Polk of Dallas, TX, is this month's Spotlight Artist. Kay will be giving a portrait demo in oil at our upcoming Meet-and-Greet here in Dallas on May 5. If you would like to be "in the spotlight," please email Anna at to submit your information.

Kay Polk is an award winning portrait artist with more than thirty years of experience in portraiture and fine art.  Working out of her home studio in  Dallas, TX,  Ms. Polk is nationally known for her charming portraits of children and signature art style in the mediums of oil, pastel and charcoal.  Professional accomplishments include achieving signature status in Knickerbocker Artists NY,   The Pastel Society of America  NY,  and  The American Portrait Society.   Ms. Polk is also a past president of the Pastel Society of the Southwest and for a number of years,  had her own teaching Atelier in Dallas and Houston.  

Artist Kay Polk
At the recent May 2006 Portrait Society of America Annual Conference,  Ms. Polk’s work was chosen as one of twelve top finalists for the 2006 International Portrait Competition, held at the same time as the conference where she was then selected as the Second Place winner for the 2006 Competition. In 2002, Ms Polk was given “Special Honors” for that year’s international Competition.  Kay was honored by the American Society of Portrait Artists in 1998, as one of Ten Finalists chosen for their Annual Portrait Art Festival in Montgomery, Alabama.    Her portrait of  "Virginia", 24"x30" pastel, was awarded Second Prize in that competition.   In May 1999 and again in May 2000, she took home The Best Portfolio of the Year award at The Portrait Society of America’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.   

Ms. Polk is represented by two national portrait brokers: Portraits South Inc, The Portrait Source Inc. and maintains between a one and two year waiting list for her portraits. Her work is available for viewing on an appointment basis or at

Interview with our April Spotlight Artist, Kay Polk:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art?
As a child.  My mother died when I was 6 yrs. old and I had an Aunt that used to care for me. She was an amateur artist and would help me paint and draw anything I liked. It became a life-long love and place of welcome and peace. I studied portrait painting through high school and college, continuing studies with individual professional artists after schooling. My "art" was just a natural part of my life and has brought me great pleasure and satisfaction.

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in?
I studied portraiture with Dallas Portraitist, Ramon Froman in High School, then later at the University of Texas, Austin.  I did special studies with Emily Guthrie Smith PSA Hall of Fame, Ft. Worth, who became my mentor and guide. I've studied with a lot of the wonderful artists in the US, like Dan Greene, Burt Silverman, Ray Kinstler, John Sanden, George Carlson and Kevin Macpherson, and more.  I especially like working with children and family portraits but have done a wide variety of commissioned work of both "the living and dead"!  I also enjoy still life, floral, and landscape but figurative work is my favorite! I work in Oil, Pastel, drawing media and enjoy them all

3) What do you try to express in your work?
The two driving forces in my work are color and light, with a desire to capture the simple beauty in people, places and objects.

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences?
A lot of my own "self-taught" artistic influences came mostly from the Impressionists as their sense of light & color rang true to my loves as well.  Artists such as Cassatt, Sargent, Zorn, Sorolla, Benson, and some of their contemporaries.

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?
 I love to stretch and try new techniques, new ways of applying paint (for me) and what some mixed media presents.  I search the books and museums for different but similar directions in artistic expression and just generally like to balance the commission work, which is 80% of my work, with about 20% of fun & experimental, even though few ever see my experimental work, it is necessary for keeping my "work" fun!

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now?
I think I would like to be experimenting even more, less dependent on portraits and trying for new avenues in art-making!  Still keeping it as fresh as possible.

7) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art?
I do!  I believe in goals. Setting of goals, both simple and short range as well as more complex and long-term, as the reason I've been able to last so long in this career.

8) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently?
I am happy with my choice to become a full-time professional portrait artist and studio artist as well. But it has not been easy.  I especially like the teaching and mentoring segment of my career.  As my professional experience allowed, I enjoyed sharing my knowledge and discoveries with others.  My only regret might have been to spend more time in national, top-ranked art institutions during my younger years. But I have the blessings of children, grandchildren and a diverse it's not all bad the way everything turned out.  I feel very fortunate!

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share?
Anything fun or interesting about me should probably be kept to myself!! :0)

10) Best piece of advice for other artists?
 "The World stands aside for the person who knows where they are going".  Strive to know yourself and where you want to go, then do the work!

Kay shared so many wonderful images for us to see that I decided to put them in a slideshow. Enjoy her beautiful work!

More about Kay:

RECENT ARTICLES AND BOOKS featuring Kay Polk and her work are:

 “Portrait Society of America’s Award Winners Showcase” The Art of the Portrait,  International Artist Magazine,  August/September 2006
The Pastel Artist’s bible, edited by Claire Waite Brown, Quarto Publishing, London, England, 2006.
 "Master Pastellists of the World: United States Showcase"  Pastel Artist’s International Magazine Nov/Dec 99/Jan 2000
"The Artist’s Life" by Carole Katchen,  Artist’s International Magazine, Ap/May2000
"Arbitrary Colors" by Linda Price,   AmericanArtist Magazine  September 1997
Keys to Painting Faces and Figures,  compiled by Rachel Rubin Wolf,  North Light Publication, 1999
Painting with Passion  by Carole Katchen,  North Light Publications,  1994


The Greer Garson Theater,   SMU,  Dallas,  Texas
Texas A&M University System  Hirshfeld-Moore House    Austin,  Texas;
 The Kathryn Heard Craig Museum ,   McKinney,  Texas;
Count  and Countess Nostitz of North Carolina and Austria;
Dr. and Mrs.  Malone Hill     Austtin,  Texas;
Mr and Mrs Sanford Gottesman      Austin,  Texas;
Mr and Mrs Philip Keevil of New York and London;
Mr and Mrs.  William Roche of New York and Ireland;
McStay Investment Counsel  of Dallas,  Texas;
Owens Ranches, Inc. of  Texas and New Mexico ;
………………….to name a few 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fechin / Gaspar Exhibit in Orange, TX

This post submitted by Dallas member, Beth VanDeventer:
The Secret is Out: Fechin / Gaspar Exhibit in Orange TX
...It might be a long drive, but the inspiration is well worth it
I encourage student and professional portrait painters to consider investing in the cost of a couple of tanks of gas to visit the Stark Museum in Orange Texas to view a unique collection of Nicoli Fechin artwork. Tucked away in the remote town of Orange, a stone throw's away from the Louisiana border is a well kept secret. The exhibit titled "From Russia: Fechin and Gaspard in the Southwest" features at least 57 works of the famed Russian, including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures.  The exhibit also features the artist's work box, brushes and several sculpting tools donated from the artist's daughter Eva.  The collection includes 21 phenomenal portraits (in oil) along with 5 completed head studies, including an outstanding drawing of his father.  

"Head of Young Girl"
(Sculpture) in Pine
The Stark Museum offers free admission and free parking.  The day I went there were only a few visitors with a friendly guard who shared with me that guided tours are available if you call ahead.  The museum hours are 10 to 5 daily, Tuesday through Saturday.  This exhibition will be open through June 2, 2012.  Visitors may take photos of artwork, however no flash photography or tripods are allowed.  
"Fechin's Father" (Drawing)
Note: Curator's note indicates
the frame was made by the artist
 Link to Stark Website:

"Nikki Rupert"


"Red Headed Girl"

"Little Girl"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Michael Gillespie

Michael Gillespie
Michael Gillespie of Crandall, TX, is this month's Spotlight Artist. If you would like to be "in the spotlight," please email Anna at to submit your information.
Interview with our March Spotlight Artist, Michael Gillespie:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in Art?  I used to draw a lot when I was in grade school, but I became interested in music in high school, and studied music in college and graduate school. I was in church music for nine years before I decided to study art and become an artist.

2) What is your training, and what medium(s) / subject matter do you work in?  I earned a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at UT-Austin, and have taken workshops with Daniel Greene, Paul Leveille, Ramon Kelly, and others. I have made four trips to Europe and spent time in the great art museums there. I started out doing illustrations and portraits in pastel, and gradually started doing portraits and landscapes in oil.
"Dr. Newbury," by Michael Gillespie
3) What do you try to express in your work? With portraits, I try to show the person at their best. This involves, pose (hopefully characteristic of the individual), facial expression, color, lighting, blending, edges, everything that makes a good realist painting, with the emphasis on the face. In figure painting, I want to emphasize an idea visually, whether the idea is a pretext, an emotion, or just the beauty of the subject and the way it is painted. In landscapes and cityscapes, I want the viewer to feel what I felt when I first saw the scene and decided to paint it.
4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influences? I was influenced for many years by Ray Kinstler’s portrait style, but lately have realized my oil portraits are more like the classical realists. I have recently studied in that tradition with Steve Armes and Ron Cheek.
5) What do you do to gain new inspiration for your work?  I mainly look at good artwork whenever I can, but I also take note of what inspires other artists: literature, poetry, music, and so I have been looking to the other arts for inspiration and ideas.

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now? 

Using the things mentioned above to inspire and create beautiful and compelling paintings.

"Delane," by Michael Gillespie
7) Do you set goals for yourself concerning the making of your art? Not exactly goals, but I usually have in mind the next painting and how it will be my best.

8) Are you happy with your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently?  I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. But on the other hand, I would advise any young person to have a back-up plan, to learn some practical skills, or plan to teach, especially if you have a family who depends on your income. And besides, it’s good to be more well-rounded.

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself that you'd like to share? I teach a class at Dallas Baptist University called “Introduction to Fine Arts”, a survey of all the fine arts except literature. There I really get to use my background in music and visual art.
10) Best piece of advice for other artists? Never stop studying and learning.

Contact Info:

"Richard Blakey," by Michael Gillespie
"Don't Bother Me," by Michael Gillespie