The Art of Collecting

In our Millennium Series this month we spotlight three diverse collections from the Lone Star State. One is housed on the 100-year-old Macy Ranch in West Texas, where cattle still roam the range and coyotes howl in the night. The collectors have amassed an impressive array of traditional western art including works by the Cowboy Artists of America. We also explore two city collections: The Mari and James A. Michener Collection of Twentieth-Century American Art is on permanent exhibition at the University of Texas’ Blanton Museum of Art in Austin. It includes works by Texas artists Melissa Miller, Jerry Bywaters, and David Bates. In San Antonio we view an international collection with a strong southwestern theme. Finally, we include our annual story for new collectors on how to start your collection for under $1,000.

Start Your Collection For Under $1,000
Buying your first painting or sculpture can be an intimidating prospect. You wonder if you’re getting a good buy, if your judgment about its quality is accurate, and if you’re still going to like the piece in five years. As an inspiration to new collectors, our annual “Art Under $1,000” article provides tips on how to begin collecting with confidence and illustrates that high-quality original fine art is affordable on almost any budget. Once you make your first purchase and hang a beautiful landscape painting in your living room or place a sleek bronze cat in your garden you’ll discover that collecting art is a wonderful adventure that is endlessly rewarding.

Jacobus Baas, Fishing Off the Lava Flow, oil, 14 x 18, $1,000. painting, southwest art.
Jacobus Baas, Fishing Off the Lava Flow, oil, 14 x 18, $1,000.

Jacobus Baas
“When I painted this piece, it was one of those typical Hawaii days when the wind blows clouds over the ocean.”

Jacobus Baas [b1945] is originally from Holland but moved to the United States when he was 14. He is inspired by early California plein-air painters like William Wendt. “Seeing the great outdoors and being able to transform that into a painting is an incredibly wonderful experience,” he says. Baas is a member of the California Art Club and the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. In July he received the People’s Choice award at the annual LPAPA exhibit in Laguna Beach. Baas is represented by Dean Day Gallery, Houston, TX; Esther Wells Collection, Laguna Beach, CA; and Gallerie Amsterdam, Carmel, CA.

Nancy J. Young, Choir Practice, mixed media, 23 x 29, $700. mixed, southwet art.
Nancy J. Young, Choir Practice, mixed media, 23 x 29, $700.

Nancy J. Young
New Mexico
Young [b1939] earned a degree in geology from the University of Arizona, eventually discovering an interest in petroglyphs that turned into a lifelong fascination. For the past 30 years she has been seeking out petroglyphs and incorporating these images into her artwork. Since 1975 Young has placed in more than 40 regional, national, and international juried art exhibits. She has exhibited at the New Mexico Governor’s Gallery, and her works are in the permanent collections of such companies as AT&T and American Express. Young is represented by Weems Galleries, Albuquerque, NM; Toh-Atin Gallery, Durango, CO; es posible, Carefree, AZ; La Fuente, Sedona, AZ; and Gallery A, Taos, NM.

Sparky Lebold, The Vase, acrylic, 10 x 8, $600. painting, southwest art.
Sparky Lebold, The Vase, acrylic, 10 x 8, $600.

“In pieces such as Choir Practice, my idea is for viewers to bring their own experiences to the work, making a connection between the ancient and the modern. That finishes the work.”

Sparky Lebold
“I base my still lifes on descriptive words. For The Vase, my word was “security,” so the orange hugs the vase closely, seeking safety.”

Lebold [b1960] graduated in 1986 from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, CA, where he studied with artists including Dan McCaw. His works are in the permanent collection of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Last year he was named by The Artist’s Magazine as one of the 50 best landscape painters of 1999. He is represented by Lynne White’s Shriver Gallery, Taos, NM, and Gallery at Rich Designs, Colorado Springs, CO.

Glenna Goodacre
Texas/ New Mexico
Goodacre [b1939] graduated from Colorado College and studied at the Art Students’ League in New York. She has been a fellow of the National Sculpture Society since 1981 and has won numerous awards for her work. Goodacre is perhaps best known for

Glenna Goodacre, Robin, bronze, H10, edition 50, $510. sculpture, southwest art.

Glenna Goodacre, Robin, bronze, H10, edition 50, $510.

her Washington, DC, memorial honoring women who served in Vietnam and for her portrait of Sacagawea, which is featured on the U.S. Mint’s new gold dollar coin. She is represented by Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head Island, SC; Altermann Galleries, Dallas, TX; Knox Galleries, Vail, Denver, and Beaver Creek, CO; Nedra Matteucci Galleries, Santa Fe, NM; and Nedra Matteucci Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM.

“Robin is a quick profile head study I did in water-based clay. It is very low relief, almost a drawing in clay. I did it as a demonstration years ago at the Scottsdale Artists’ School.”

Rene Wiley
“I am primarily interested in relationships between people, mostly children lost in their
own world.”

Wiley [b1958] graduated in 1983 with a bachelor of arts degree from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. She began painting again seriously a decade later, first taking a class with Taos, NM, painter Ray Vinella. Over the following years she enrolled in workshops with painters John Asaro, Kim English, William Kalwick, and Kevin Macpherson.  Wiley is represented by Karen Mitchell Frank Gallery, Dallas, TX, and Archway Gallery, Houston, TX.

Rene Wiley, Best Friends, oil, 14 x 11, $750. painting, southwest art.
Rene Wiley, Best Friends, oil, 14 x 11, $750.

Bonnie Paruch

Mostly self-taught, Paruch [b1955] has honed her painting skills by taking classes with artists such as Kevin Macpherson, Charles Movalli, and Phil Austin. The Wisconsin native often finds inspiration in the rolling landscapes near her home. In 1999, her painting Sweet Gentle Light was included in The Best of Flower Painting II published by North Light Books. She also won the Best Color award at the 1999 Charitable Arts Plein Air Tucson event. In addition, her works have been recognized by The Artist’s Magazine and the Pastel Society of America. Paruch is represented by Long Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; Edgewood Orchard Galleries, Fish Creek, WI; and Wade Gallery of Taos, NM.

“Where the Heart Is is a picture of a location I’ve driven past many times. I was drawn to it because it says something to me about the loneliness and hard work of rural life.”

Bonnie Paruch, Where the Heart Is, oil, 11 x 14, $700. painting, southwest art.
Bonnie Paruch, Where the Heart Is, oil, 11 x 14, $700.

Albert Hopkins
New Mexico
“I feel strongly that my best works require the least amount of effort and convey a feeling of spontaneity.”

A native of New Jersey, Hopkins [b1947] studied art at the New York Art Students’ League and the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art. He has lived in the West and painted full time since 1979, and he refines his skills by studying artists whose work he admires. His subject matter is varied, but he is particularly drawn to the western landscape—he is attracted to the honesty in the realm of the natural world. Hopkins is a plein-air painter, focusing on light, color, and form. He has participated in art shows throughout New Mexico and Colorado, attracting collectors nationwide. Hopkins is represented by Lynne White’s Shriver Gallery, Taos, NM.

Albert Hopkins, Autumn in Westcliff, oil, 12 x 14, $875.
Albert Hopkins, Autumn in Westcliff, oil, 12 x 14, $875.

Robin Fahey Cameron
“I painted Tomales Bay on a hazy day last spring. The sun was low and the landscape glowed with a luminescent pink light.”

Robin Fahey Cameron owns William Lester Gallery in Point Reyes Station, CA. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays she closes the gallery and clients can find her engrossed in a beautiful landscape with her easel and oils. The scene depicted in Tomales Bay is near the gallery. She was standing on the mainland looking west to the Point Reyes National Seashore. “We live in paradise out here,” Cameron says. The artist, who has a degree in fine art from the University of Minnesota, is influenced by the French Impressionists. Cameron is represented by William Lester Gallery.

Stan Rogers

Stan Rogers, Pansies, oil, 10 x 18, $700. painting, southwest art.
Stan Rogers, Pansies, oil, 10 x 18, $700.

A California native, Rogers [b1973] started his art education at California State University at Long Beach. After five years, he left to attend Watts Art Instruction (now Watts Atelier of the Arts) in San Diego. For two and a half years he studied figure drawing exclusively before deciding to pursue painting and drawing on his own. “I’m taking things pretty slow,” he says. “I want to experiment a lot and get a solid background in painting.” Rogers, whose favorite artists include Richard Schmid, Nancy Guzik, and Xiaogang Zho, says figures are his favorite subject matter, followed by still lifes. He is represented by Settlers West Galleries in Tucson, AZ.

“I had seen some paintings of pansies by Richard Schmid, and I wanted to try it myself. They’re a lot of fun to paint because there’s a lot of room to play around with them.”

Carolyn Dunford, Red Flower, oil, 10 x 10, $825. painting, southwest art.
Carolyn Dunford, Red Flower, oil, 10 x 10, $825.

Carolyn Dunford
“At some point each painting becomes less about flowers and glass and more about my fascination with the subtleties of color and light in the flowers and glass.”

Dunford [b1959] received a degree in design and photography from the University of Massachusetts. She did paste-up and layout work for a time but later found herself in careers ranging from computer programmer to conference planner. After she moved to Seattle in 1989, though, she realized that, as she puts it, “art was what I had to do.” This year Dunford won the purchase award in an exhibit at the Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR. Her work is represented by Jack Dennis’ Wyoming Gallery, Jackson, WY; Munson Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, and Chatham, MA; and The Fountainhead, Seattle, WA.

Teri Jonas, Big Blue, pastel, 13 x 13, private collection, $775. painting, southwest art.
Teri Jonas, Big Blue, pastel, 13 x 13, private collection, $775.

Teri Jonas
Teri Jonas has been painting since 1973 and has taken workshops in watercolor with Chen Chi and in pastel with Albert Handell. Jonas has won awards at numerous fairs and festivals across the country and has participated in shows such as Fiesta at Laguna Gloria in Austin, the Southwest Arts Festival in Albuquerque, and the San Antonio Art League Annual. Her work is represented by Smith-Klein Gallery, Boulder, CO; Creative  Expressions, Taos, NM; Wally Workman Gallery, Austin, TX; and Elements, Bloomington, IN.

“I’ve seen lots of mountains in all kinds of weather. Sometimes they just look so blue that’s what I was trying to capture in this piece.”

Kristin Cammermeyer
“This piece deals with the suburbanization of a rural area. I’m trying to capture how I feel about random structures in a natural environment.”

Kristin Cammermeyer [b1974] grew up in Virginia and painted Stainsby Court on a recent return visit. The work is one of a series of 20 pieces that explore the theme of alienation. “In this particular work I was trying to achieve a sense of being eerily alone,” Cammermeyer says. She looks to Edward Hopper for inspiration. Cammermeyer graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1997. “I want to make art that is socially responsible,” Cammermeyer says. She is represented by Roby-King Gallery, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo, and Port Ludlow, WA.

10 Tips for Beginning Collectors

Here’s some advice from the gallery dealers who represent the artists in this article:

1. Buy what you like.
2. Get to know your dealer.
3. Put down a deposit if you see a piece you like otherwise it may not be there tomorrow.
4. Research artists’ credentials—their education, awards they’ve won, major shows they’ve participated in, etc.
5. Don’t buy art as an investment.
6. Buy because a piece speaks to you, not because someone tells you the artist is “hot.”
7. Visit as many galleries as you can to find ones where you feel comfortable.
8. Remember that original fine art is affordable—prints are not the only option for budget minded collectors.
9. Attend gallery openings to meet artists whose work interests you.
10. Use the Internet as a tool to learn about art and artists.

Featured in October 2000