NEWPORT — The Delta Visual Arts Show in Newport continues to attract artists from the River Valley & Ozark Edition coverage area. This year, 15 local artists will travel to downtown Newport on Feb. 22 to participate in the show, which is now in its sixth year and is sponsored by the Blue Bridge Center for the Delta Arts.
The show will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a reception held from 4-6. This year’s show will feature approximately 180 artists from five states and 60 Arkansas communities. The artists are primarily those who grew up in the Delta, live in or have lived in the Delta, or who produce Delta-themed work.
Mary Ann Stafford of Maumelle is among the local artists in the upcoming show; this marks the third year she has participated. She is primarily a pastel artist but also does colored-pencil drawings. She will demonstrate colored-pencil drawings in her booth at the art show.
Stafford has strong roots to the Arkansas Delta — she began her teaching career at Pine Bluff High School in 1965, when she started the art program at the school. She also taught English and humanities for 16 years and was the assistant principal there from 1985 to 1990. She retired from the Arkansas Department of Education in 1993.
“I will be exhibiting some of my pastel paintings and my colored-pencil drawings,” she said. “The medium of pastel has long been my favorite, but I started doing colored-pencil drawings about three years ago. I love doing these because they take up little room — [I] moved into a condo in 2012 — and because so much detail is possible with them.
“They can actually look like oil paintings if you use a certain technique. The only problem is that they take an inordinate amount of time. I sometimes eliminate some of the time involved by underpainting with watercolors. I work mainly from photos or still-life subjects that I have set up and photographed.”
Stafford is a member of the Arkansas League of Artists and the Conway League of Artists and is a founding member of the Arkansas Pastel Society. She holds signature membership in the Pastel Society of the Southwest and of the Mid-Southern Watercolorists.
“As a former art educator,” Stafford said, “I also enjoy teaching colored-pencil techniques, as well as drawing and pastel classes locally.”
Following is a look at the other local artists who are participating in the Delta Visual Arts Show.
• Ron Almond of Maumelle will bring several of his landscapes, all done in oils, as well as at least one abstract painting that he has created using acrylics.
“This will be my third year to participate, but I’ve actually been to the show four times,” he said. “The first time I attended was as a spectator with other members of TheArtGroup of Maumelle. It has always been a good show for us.”
Almond is still a member of TheArtGroup, which formerly met in Maumelle but has moved to a new location in west Little Rock. He is retired after 32 years with the U.S. government and the Arkansas National Guard.
• Louise Harris of Maumelle will bring several paintings to the show again this year.
“It’s always a good show for me,” she said. “I have customers
who call on me there. I’m thrilled to be going back.
“I will have a variety of oil paintings, mainly landscapes, as well as some western art, which is new for me.”
Harris is an oil painter and a member of TheArtGroup of Maumelle and of the Arkansas League of Artists.
• Ellen Hobgood of Heber Springs will participate in show for the first time this year. She heard about it from a fellow artist.
“I’ll be bringing a little bit of everything,” she said. “I’ll have some of my Santa Claus paintings, some landscapes and some unexpected things. My work is a little different.”
Hobgood said she is basically a self-taught artist but has taken some lessons from fellow artists. She works in acrylics.
She owns and operates the Ellen Hobgood Gallery in Heber Springs. Her fellow artist and friend, Debby Hinson of Little Rock, assists Hobgood at the gallery.
• Jaclyn Holland of Heber Springs will exhibit paintings and decorative Mason jars at the show. This is her third time to participate in the show.
“I’ll also be showing some of my grandparents’ works,” she said, noting that her grandparents, Charles and Wilma Powell of Heber Springs, have created hand-painted saws and birdhouses.
“I am excited about the show,” Holland said. “It’s really a neat show.”
Holland graduated from Arkansas State University-Beebe, where she studied graphic design.
• Steve Jones of Conway plans to return to the Delta Visual Arts Show for a second time this year.
A wood-turner, Jones will display French rolling pins, platters, doorstops and turkey calls.
“Last year was my first time to attend,” he said. “It was a good experience. I sold a few things, and I am going back this year.”
Jones said he began working with wood 48 years ago, starting in Cub Scouts, building Pinewood Derby cars. He is certified by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Arkansas and is the building and sites coordinator for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
• Sharon Linder of Vilonia is another first-time exhibitor at the Delta Visual Arts Show. She will exhibit jewelry.
Linder graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in apparel studies from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She said she started doing beading in 1995 “after getting alcohol poisoning while out partying with friends.
“It is a talent God gave me to keep me from trying to kill myself (literally through binge drinking and then driving while drunk),” she said. “From broken to reborn, from lost to found, God gave me this talent to make jewelry.”
She said it was during her time at college that she “fell in love with vintage and forgotten items.
“This was when Brkn2Reborn started to develop,” she said. “It wasn’t until 2010 when I actually started to develop more of my style and desire for different techniques and mediums.”
She calls her line of jewelry Brkn2Reborn, and her business is named Candid Goddess Designs.
“I take pieces [of jewelry] that are broken and missing to recreate unique pieces,” she said.
• Aline McCracken of Concord will make her fourth trip to Newport for the art show.
“I am so excited,” she said. “My painting Shaped by the Wind is on the poster. I am high as a kite about it. Oh, wow.”
McCracken said the painting is part of a series depicting scenes along Route 66. It represents what she saw one early morning near McLean, Texas, as she traveled the old road with two of her friends in her PT Cruiser.
“I’m taking that painting, along with some new drawings of guineas, some new collages and some new sculptures that are large chess pieces,” she said.
McCracken has degrees in art from the Memphis College of Art and Old Miss. She is a retired art teacher, having taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate school.
• Haley Proctor of Enola will attend the Delta Visual Arts Show for the first time this year.
“My mom has a friend who has been going for a long time, and he told me about it,” Proctor said. “He’s helping me. I am really excited about it.”
Proctor is a painter and works in acrylics on canvas. She will display some of her paintings that feature Native Americans and some drawings of horses and sunsets.
“I’ve always been able to draw, and that led to my learning to paint,” she said.
• Floyd Reynolds of Heber Springs is another newcomer to the show, but he is not new to the art world.
He began sculpting as a student in 1966 at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.
“I was real involved in aluminum and bronze casting,” he said.
In 1969, he transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute, where he was in an honors program for sculptors. He returned to Little Rock in 1973.
Over the years, his work has been shown, and is still shown, at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in Little Rock and has twice been included in the Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center.
Now retired, Reynolds said, he has some new work that he will exhibit in Newport.
“I have some [pencil] drawings,” he said. “The No. 1 drawing ends up as the No. 20 drawing,” he said, explaining that as the viewer flips through the drawings, they may all look alike, but upon closer inspection,each is slightly different.
“Some people have gotten excited about these drawings,” he said. “I am real excited about bringing them to this show.”
• Tammey Ring and her daughter Iana Sinkutch, both of Heber Springs, will display some of their works they market as Bliss and Whimsy Original Artwork.
This marks the third time for Ring to participate in the show at Newport. It is the first time for Sinkutch to participate.
Ring has three other daughters who paint as well — Chloe Sinkutch, Jade Ring and Emma Ring.
• Elisha Alexander Smith of Maumelle is making the trip to Newport for the second time.
“I am creating vibrant new contemporary abstract art,” said Smith, who is a self-taught artist. “I’ll be using oils and acrylics. The painting sizes will range from 6 by 6 inches to 48 by 48 inches. The visitors of last year’s art show really admired my heavily textured paintings, so I plan on bringing new textured art as well.
• Lori Weeks of Maumelle has participated in the Delta Visual Art Show for five years.
“Over the past six years, I have been a full-time artist involved in all types of venues to sell my work, and this show is by far the most productive for me,” Weeks said. “The work that the center has put into this event brings more people to one spot during a one-day event than any other event I have participated in. And the most important message they get across in the marketing efforts, that works, is this is an ‘art sale’ event, so the people come prepared to purchase locally produced fine art and other fine handmade products.
“There is something for everyone to enjoy, and I look forward to participating more and more every year.”
Weeks studied both commercial and fine art at the Art Institute of Dallas and the Memphis College of Art.
• John Wooldridge of Maumelle will participate in the show for the first time this year.
“Ellen Hobgood recommended that I should participate,” he said. “She cited great sales by other artists she knew and the wide array of people who attended.
“I will be displaying a small collection of oil paintings from my Painting Arkansas project. This is an effort to travel the state and paint something from every county.
“In addition to these, I will have some landscapes from Colorado and some still-life work.”
Wooldridge said he also plans to bring many unframed pieces, as well as pieces in acrylic and gouache on mat boards that “allow me to offer lower prices for new collectors or collectors on a budget.”
He is an associate member of Oil Painters of America and a signature member of the Arkansas League of Artists.
Wooldridge, who said he is a self-taught artist, holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas. He worked for NASA for many years and has designed, built and operated systems that are in orbit around Earth and on the surface of Mars. He still works a full-time job as an engineer in the spaceflight industry, including some NASA programs.
For more information on the Delta Visual Arts Show, call (870) 523-1009.