GC: Spreading the gift of art with Victoria Art League

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:16 a.m.

The world would be a dull place sans colorful paintings, photos, sculptures and other works of art.

In the Crossroads area, the Victoria Art League serves as hub for artists to unite and not only display art, but also meet other area artists through classes or other community events.

Entering his second term as VAL president, Bill Bauer took a moment to talk about what the Art League does and what direction he wants to take the league in the next few months.

Q: What is the Victoria Art League?

A: We're just a group of artists who have joined together, who want to create a venue where artists can come together to study and to work. We have classes ongoing pretty much all the time. We have workshops with artists who come in to teach, too. Really, we just want to support the arts in the community, to reach out to the community and create an interest in the visual arts.

Q: As president, what is your role with VAL?

A: My role is just to lead the group and help it as we move forward. I try to keep it going and pretty much do any and everything that needs to be done with the group. One of our goals is to try to restore this historic building, so that has been an ongoing project that I have been working on with the group.

Q: What kind of community programs does the art league offer?

A: The programs that we offer are classes in various mediums. We have oil-painting with Dalhart Windberg in November, Mark Keathley in March, and others coming over the course of the year. We are developing children's classes here, and we would like to have more youth participation in the organization, and maybe youth members, too. We encourage artists to work and in informal groups. There are painting oils, watercolor and pottery. These are goals that we would like to see next year. We want to see people continue to use this as a gathering place to work on the arts and encourage each other and help each other in our work.

Q: What kind of diversity of people is VAL comprised of?

A: It's all ages. There is a great deal of retired people, but we are really trying to encourage various media and styles of art to get as much variety as we can. We have a diversity of interest in the group. We're looking for anyone who is interested in creating and expressing through the arts - that's kinda our criteria. We are really encouraging to get more youth and young people involved in our organization. And that comes with awareness that is one of our biggest challenges.

Q: What is your particular niche of art?

A: My niche has been pottery for a long time and a little bit of clay sculpture, but mainly pottery. Just this year, I took Mark's class and got a couple of paintings out of that. And that was when I started using the art league like I would like other people to start being able to do. I've started coming in on Mondays for the paint-ins and I'm starting to paint again. I'm getting into watercolor, and the last time I was down here, I was painting a little study of my grandson with a fish - just a study, nothing really serious - just trying to get back into it. But my niche has been pottery, and I would like to be more diverse myself and get into some of the other things.

Q: What is your favorite thing about living in the Golden Crescent area?

A: Well, I'll tell you, I don't like the humidity. I came from West Texas and I know what hot is. It's not like here. It's a beautiful area, and a historic town. We're sitting in one of the best examples of that right now. (The Victoria Art League building) is so neat, it just has character oozing out of it. You get here and it can really get you in the mood for creating, just being around this place. I like the trees, the area, I like it for what it has. I just wish it wasn't so humid and hot. I like the small town atmosphere, and the fact there is not a whole lot of traffic.

Q: What kind of personal pieces are you working on?

A: Really, to tell you the truth, I haven't had much time to do anything except a little bit of that painting. One of the reasons we have those paint-in times, and I want to encourage more of them or more people to get involved in them, is because just like myself and probably most everybody else, life gets in the way. It doesn't matter how determined you are that you're going to make time to do your art, if you're at home, there is always something that gets in the way and so the only thing I've done lately is the paint-ins. We have the sessions where you come in on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and you can set that aside for your art. I do produce a little bit throughout the year, but it's not, like I say, I'm not professional. I'm not looking for it to be that way, I'm retired and I want it to be just a retirement thing, not a have-to thing. But my wife will tell you, I am up here very late, or very early in the morning some days.

Q: Who is your favorite artist alive or dead? If you had to chose just one.

A: If I had to choose just one, Norman Rockwell is always just... the way he could freeze a moment in time is always just really... I just loved how he could do that. So, I would say, of the ones I know, he would be the one. Now there are other people, like Walt Disney. As far as what he's done with his life and what he left is just amazing. And again how he could make those characters come to life. I just love watching his animations and stuff, the composition. Of course, I realize he didn't do it all himself. He had teams, but its just amazing what he could do. Talk about being a leader.



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