Local artist continues Artport showing
Mary Virginia Hill and her mother Jerry Wray have participated in every installment of Artport – from the first in 1990 to the 15th installment opening April 2.
Wray was 60 years old when she participated in her first Artport and still continues at the age of 89. Even though she and her daughter work separately, most often in their own studios; they’ve encouraged one another along the way and enjoyed the surprise of seeing each other’s developments in each show.
“I never know what mom is going to do,” Hill said. “She has all kinds of imagery in her repertoire, and she can call on it at any time. We have fun seeing each other’s interpretation of the theme for the show.”
Wray recalls her daughter watching her paint.
“Mary used to go out with me when she was 2 years old and watch me paint outside.
“She has always been interested in art.
It’s been fun to share this experience with her,” Wray said.
Hill remembers the first time she saw this concept of art in an airport was in Albuquerque, N. M.; so she was thrilled when Artport brought the concept to Shreveport and invited her to participate that first year in 1990.
“I knew the impact it had on me in Albuquerque, so I was excited for others to experience it here. I have had fun with the shows especially the 2012 Artport show when I sold my painting to a corporation in New Jersey,” Hill said.
Each Artport is themed to provide direction or challenge to the artists in the show. It’s like a prompt given a writer.
Hill remembers a particularly challenging theme, “A Song in My Art.”
“We were to draw a song name and use it for our painting. I selected ‘Losing My Religion,’ which was a song I had never heard and wasn’t sure I would enjoy painting. It was very challenging, but I finished a piece and was happy with it.”
Wray said when Artport originated it wasn’t themed and everyone simply submitted what they wanted.
“I’m glad to have the themes now. It makes the show more synchronized and I like it that way. I also like that the work is not judged once you get into Artport. It leaves you free to express yourself.”
This year’s theme “Flying Colours” focused on paint swatches. Hill said, “Everybody can relate going to the paint store and trying to figure out what color
you want your walls; bringing home all the swatches of tiny colors. We were to take one of the nine colors and use it as the title of our piece. I’ve often wondered how they come up with the names of these colors!
It wasn’t difficult, and I had a good time with it once I got started.
An interesting spin on my piece this year was that I had the canvas stored in my basement studio. We got a lot of rain and it trickled into the studio, and somehow when I went to look for the canvas it had a big rip in it. I thought about leaving it that way and having something more avant garde, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it and started over!” Wray’s Flying Colours painting is one of her “Big Sky” series, and it’s made up of her memories at Lake Bistineau and the summers she spent there. She paints in series, sometimes abstract but mostly landscape.
The two ladies can easily reminisce about Artport shows past and the impact the shows have had on the art community, travelers, organizations and community at large.