San Antonio Sabbatical

Studio Art Tour: Seeing Art San Antonio

Posted on: November 10, 2010

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Yesterday morning I went on a Studio Art Tour arranged by Donna Simon of Seeing Art San Antonio (she was the speaker at my Newcomers of San Antonio luncheon last week).  Donna provides twice monthly Studio Art Tours ($35) to artists’ studios and art galleries and Private Art Tours (prices range from $45 per person to $325 total).  I have a creative side and at various points during my life I was involved with writing, dance, art, and music.  Although I like to dabble in art, it’s not a strength of mine — it’s just an interest.  So, I prefer to see the artwork that others create.  This 2½-hour Studio Art Tour was perfect for me.

The scheduled artist visits yesterday were Diana Kersey (9:45 a.m.) and Cornelia White Swann at the Joan Grona Gallery (11:15 a.m.).  After I registered for the tour, Donna provided directions to both locations (Studio Art Tour participants provide their own transportation; Private Art Tour participants are provided with transportation).   We met up at Diana Kersey‘s house with garage studio for our first stop (there were seven participants on this tour plus Donna and the artist).  Diana specializes in pottery and architectural ceramics (e.g., kitchen backsplashes).  She discovered her enjoyment of art in college at which time she was focused on playing basketball and took art classes because they easily fit her sport schedule.  Originally she focused on drawing, then her interest changed to ceramics.  Referring to the relationship between handling a basketball and handling clay at a potter’s wheel, a quick-witted tour participant quipped, “Well, throwing is throwing” and we had a good laugh.  Diana was very welcoming and had shelves of her assorted pottery on display for sale.  She explained the process of creating her pieces, showed us some of her tools and supplies, and even provided a brief demonstration.  She prepared a small ornate clay pot with protruding bird beaks while we watched; this pot is now ready to be fired in the kiln and colored with glazes.  Diana has a great passion for her work and her unique style makes her interesting to observe in action.  Diana has completed several projects and is currently working on a big Public Art Commission project for the City of San Antonio which involves designing, building, and installing artwork as part of a drainage project near Brackenridge Park.

The second stop on this particular Studio Art Tour was to the Joan Grona Gallery in the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center to see “The Beautiful Corner” painting exhibition by Cornelia White Swann (we saw a variety of other artists’ works on display as well).  Our group was warmly greeted by Joan who provided us with a biography, artist statement, and postcard about Cornelia White Swann‘s exhibit and described the artwork attractively hung on the gallery walls.  There were only about ten paintings on paper in this exhibit, but they were eye-catching and used soft earthtones — lots of yellows and browns; one painting had a splash of pink.  I liked the watercolor look of them (they were done with acrylic paint).  “The Beautiful Corner” had a feeling of calmness.

For the last fifteen minutes, the group was treated to a bonus tour of the studio of our group leader, artist Donna Simon.  Her studio is located in the Blue Star and, since we were right there, we requested to see it.  Donna was kind to oblige and took us to her workspace and showed us many of her paintings.  She discussed what inspired some pieces (e.g., loss of her parents, picturesque scenes of the Riverwalk, etc.).  Her collection of paintings reflected a variety of images and colors.  Donna is a retired art teacher and founding board member of SAY Sí, a local arts organization for youth.  She has a deep love of art that shows in her work and in her community involvement.

My Seeing Art San Antonio flyer states: “Informative, insightful and inspirational, Seeing Art San Antonio is time well spent.”  I agree wholeheartedly.  I really enjoyed this Studio Art Tour (of course I took photos) and would like to do more of them.  San Antonio has a strong contemporary arts community which I will miss when I leave.

After the tour ended, I picked up lunch (a hamburger meal at Wendy’s) and went to my clinic practicum.

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