Artist's Work Becomes A Place Of Escape

PAYSON ARTS

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"We Are Family, Do They Hear Me When I Cry and They Think They Know Who I Am" are the titles of three pictures in a series depicting African women painted by artist Myra Kraemer.

"I think prejudice is such a horrible thing," she said. "I hope people see the beauty of these women and look at them as individuals before they sit in judgment."

Kraemer knows how it feels to be judged based one single outward factor.

Her dyslexia has not stopped her from becoming a successful artist and businesswoman with her own gallery.

As a child, Kraemer said teachers assumed she was stupid; and in her 20s, her severe dyslexia kept her from obtaining a college degree because she could not pass English.

Art is her meditation and her livelihood.

"When the world gets crazy I can paint and time and the world slip away," Kraemer said.

Indeed, many of the women she paints -- mothers, Western women or Audrey Hepburn -- reflect a meditative quality.

When customers come into Myra's Gallery, she may be found just right of the door, painting.

If it takes a moment for the brown-haired, intensely focused woman to set down her brush and palette and "swim back to the surface of reality," her welcoming smile and knowledge of her gallery's artists and their work is worth the brief pause.

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"They Think They Know Who I Am"

Kraemer said she likes creating paintings in a series because it gives her the opportunity to fully develop the story she imagines for her subjects.

"Reflection" has a cowgirl sitting backwards on a chair.

"It's my life, my art," Kraemer said.

Cowboy boots have a special way of sparking her muse and sharing a story.

In the first watercolor of a pair, cowboy boots sit next to chair -- the man who wore them has just taken them off.

In the second watercolor, the cowboy boots are sitting on the same porch, but this time the boots are placed on the woodpile next to a slightly open window.

The boy who wore them did not want to awaken his mother when he sneaked back in, Kraemer explains.

"When I do a painting I get so excited and I want it to be done so I can see what it looks like," she said.

Kraemer shared her passion for art when she taught students at Pine-Strawberry Elementary School.

"I really do believe art and music should remain in schools because art helps balance the children and gives them another means to express themselves," Kraemer said.

RESUME

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"Boot Trio"

Name: Myra Kraemer

Mediums: Mostly watercolors but a few things appeal to me in pastels.

Advice to beginning artists: Make sure you have taken beginning drawing and learned perspective, composition, placement on the page and light and shadow. If those are not in your work you will not have a successful piece.

Award most proud of: Best of Show at a County Fair held in Pine for a picture of a Native American Woman with pottery and a Blue Ribbon for a portrait called "Jamaica." Nick Wilson was one of the judges so it was a real honor to win.

Motto: Be honest and moral.

Hobby: Country Western dancing with my husband, Ed.

Faves:

Music: Mozart and Patsy Cline

Food: Fruits and veggies

Movies: "Out of Africa" and "Somewhere in Time"

Why Strawberry? I moved to Strawberry 15 years ago for my health and opened my gallery in Pine. My husband accuses me of being married to the gallery.

Points of contact: Myra's Gallery, 3824 N. Highway 87, Pine. Phone: (928) 476-2256.

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