Local Artist Scratches Her Way To Top Of Show Scene

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It's not every artist who, mere days from their next art showing, utter things like, "I don't care what the judges say."

But Angela Cockle really doesn't care.

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Local artist Angela Cockle's scratchboard paintings of cats, dogs, bears, lions and other animals will be on display at this weekend's Payson Art League Fall 2002 Show and Sale.

What will matter most to her during this weekend's Payson Art League Fall 2002 Show and Sale are the everyday people who will view her amazingly realistic scratchboard paintings of cats, dogs, bears, lions and other animals.

"That to me is wonderful," Cockle said. "It's the people that really matter to me. I love that. Not even the money part is as important as how happy people are when they look at my work."

How happy do they get? Well, here's a clue: following the past three shows, Cockle took home three People's Choice Awards one first place, one second place, one third place.

Despite the unimportance Cockle places on art-show juries, the Payson Art League and its bi-annual shows "mean everything to me," she said. "I took lessons from (well-known Rim country watercolorist) Rock Newcomb, and he said, 'Now get out and do the shows.' Well, I started with the Payson Art League, and now I have so many connections."

And those connections, she added, represent "something truly amazing. I have a friend from England who is one of those who goes all around to London and Paris and all the big art galleries. When she came here, she said, 'I have never, ever seen so much talent in a small area like Payson.' Hearing her say that really meant something to me."

As anyone could tell upon hearing Cockle utter one or two syllables, she is a native of London "The east end; the poor side," she explains with a laugh. She started drawing at the age of three, at which time she received much encouragement from her mother. "But as I got older, she started to discourage me," Cockle remembered. "'You can't make any money at that,' she said ... and then, unfortunately, she put me into office work. And I was only 15!"

Not many years later, she wed Mick Cockle (they've been married now for 36 years), had two sons, and followed Mick to Wellington, New Zealand, for a couple of years. Meantime, she saved enough money for a family visit to her sister's home in Phoenix.

"As soon as we got there, we said, 'Ahhhhhhh... This is where we want to be,'" Cockle said.

But eventually, in 1997, the Cockles changed their minds and decided East Verde Park, a few miles north of Payson, was where they wanted to be. And one year later, Cockle's husband showed her an ad he'd found for Newcomb's art workshop.

"After the first set of lessons came to an end, I asked Rock to give me a few more. And he said, 'No, I can't, I'm too busy. Besides, you don't need them. You just get out there and keep working.' That's what I did."

Scratchboard became Cockle's medium of choice, she said, because "I like to draw, and I like old lithographs, which are scratched on metal. I love it because of the detail; I love detail. And it just comes so easily to me."

But again, it's not the work so much as her audience's reaction to the work that gives Cockle the greatest satisfaction.

"Very often, people will bring me pictures of a dog they loved and lost many years ago, and commission me to do a portrait," she says. "When they come to see the work for the first time, and cry, and say things like, 'How did you know my dog had that sparkle in his eyes?' ... That's what I find rewarding."

Talent town

Cockle is one of 36 locally- and nationally-known artists who will display samples of their work in the Payson Art League Fall 2002 Show and Sale.

Also on view for admiration and/or purchase will be the creative output of several Western artists, sculptors, wood carvers, nature photographers, and creators of high-quality designer pottery and fine jewelry.

The juried, mixed media show which is free to the public will begin with an artists' reception Friday, Nov. 1, from 6:30 until 9 p.m. Tickets for this event will be available at the door in exchange for a $5 donation.

The Payson Art League has been sponsoring semi annual art shows for 22 years, and has developed a reputation for exhibiting high quality work by amateur and professional artists alike.

Formed in 1978 by 22 creatively-minded people, the organization at present boasts more than 100 members who toil in a variety of media.

The league's regular meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at St. Phillips Parish Hall. An educational talk and demonstration is given at each meeting, and the public is always welcome to attend.

The art league also sponsors workshops by accomplished artists several times each year, often bringing in well known artists from other parts of the country, and juried shows are held annually during the first weekends of May and November.

"These shows give members and others an opportunity to show and sell their work, presenting the Rim area with an ... opportunity to acquire first quality highly creative, original works of fine art and fine craft," says league member Barb Bourscheidt.

The Payson Art League also supports art education in Rim country schools by providing art materials and classroom experience to elementary students. Funding for this program comes through raffle of members' contributed art work.

For more information about the Payson Art League, call Jan Hodson (928) 474-1094. For further details on the Payson Art League Fall 2002 Show and Sale, call Jack Greenshield (928) 474-9708.

Fall art show, sale this weekend

The Payson Art League Fall 2002 Show and Sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3 in the Tonto-Apache Reservation Activity Center. To get there, follow Highway 87 to the south end of Payson, take the Mazatzal Casino exit, and follow the signs. Admission is free. There will be an artists' reception from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 featuring wine, light desserts and the opportunity to get first pick of the artists' work. A $5.00 donation will be accepted at the door.

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