Painted Ladies – Watercolors of Friendship
January 9 – February 27, 2020
Painted Ladies – Watercolors of Friendship was held Jan. 9, 2020 – Feb. 27, 2020, at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, OK. The show featured the art of (left to right) Barb Nelson, Glenna Pace, Lou Baggett, and the late Jean Rich. Art was available to purchase.
Watercolors and friendships
By Lou Baggett
It was the Duncan Art Guild that brought the Painted Ladies together, but friendships blossomed and kept the Ladies together.
We often ask ourselves what brought us together – how did we meet – when did we first start painting together. Our memories are cloudy on the exact reasons we got started painting together, because it seems our friendships and painting time was always just so easy.
In 2008, DAG art show was held in the hospital education room. As the Art Show Coordinator, I worked with Glenna Pace, who was president, and Jean Rich, who was secretary of the DAG, but none of us knew the other well. It was at the show that year that we met Barbara Nelson, who recently married and moved to the Duncan area. Barb entered a small watercolor – an Italian scene – probably painted from her recent honeymoon with Mike.
As an art teacher, I thought it was a nice little painting, nothing to write home about, but showing promise. As a person, I thought Barb was too cute for her britches and since she was new to Duncan, she was going to need a friend. Not knowing her at all, I told her, “You need to paint with me.” Glenna and Jean wanted to join us for lessons in watercolor, and so it started.
In January we started painting together. We met weekly at each other’s houses and started painting at 10 a.m. We would break for a fabulous lunch provided by the house host and then paint some more. Sometimes I provided a “lesson” of sorts to teach different watercolor techniques. Sometimes one of us would supply a particular still-life or item to paint. Often, we all painted the same scene or object and were amazed at the differences in our paintings. This led to taking a photo and cutting it into four pieces and each painting a part of the scene. Sometimes we worked on individual pieces.
But always there was the great camaraderie of painting together.
Besides painting together, we all continued in the art guild. Eventually we were all on the board and put on the 2010 art show at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. It was probably one of the best art shows ever. The Painted Ladies were great – they knew how to throw a party and supply great food and decorations. It was also the last DAG art show that we would do together, although we continued to paint together at each other’s homes.
I’m not sure I can describe the bond that formed or the laughter we shared, but all our painting times were special. It was fun to see the Ladies grow in the art, but the friendship part was the best. Eventually we stopped our weekly painting time, but still got together now and then. Glenna and Jean played golf together. Barb and I liked to try new techniques in watercolor by watching videos and following along. Sometimes we would attend an art workshop together. We were all saddened by Jean’s death in 2017, and together, attended her funeral.
Recently, Barb, Glenna, and I attended a three-day workshop in Dallas. It was like old times. We are still good friends and enjoy each other, but I have to say our art has certainly improved over the years.
Looking back, Barb asked me why I wanted her to paint with me – which was the start of the Painted Ladies. How can I explain it? Was it a “God thang?” I could see her talent, but I felt she needed a friend – someone to push her in her art, encourage her to try new things, and support her through her adjustment to marriage and life in Duncan. That’s what the four of us did for each other. But little did I know when I asked her to paint with me – when we all got together for the first time – that the four of us would mesh in such an awesome way, have such great times, and grow together as friends and artists.