First Friday Fun

Art, artists focus of Aug. 7 event on Main Street



Andy Towle/Roundup -

Glenn Smith shows off one of his newest works, a photo of a creek up in Greer. He was commissioned to shoot the scene, but was so pleased with the results, he used the image for one of the note cards he will have when his work is featured at the Artists of the Rim Gallery in August.


Andy Towle/Roundup -

Angie Cockle, another of August’s featured artists, watches as fellow gallery member, Donn Morris, hangs one of the works she will be displaying.


Matalyn Gardner


Andy Towle/Roundup -

Angie Cockle, left, helps Donn Morris as they exchange one of Cockle's works for a newer piece.

The calendar page has been flipped on July, so can First Friday festivities be far behind?

The next celebration on Old Main is Friday, Aug. 7.

At Down the Street Art Gallery there will be an ice cream social, with all proceeds going to benefit the Payson Art League’s Arts Education Program, which provides art supplies for the area’s schools. As many art programs are being scaled back or cut entirely due to budget constraints, these supplies are even more important.

Studies show that children participating in art programs: see improved academic performance; have higher test scores; develop skills needed by the 21st century workforce, including critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication skills and teamwork; express themselves creatively and have enhanced self-confidence; remain engaged in school and therefore less likely to drop out.

So what would be better than cold ice cream on a warm summer evening with the extra, added benefit of helping the area’s youth? It almost cancels out the calories.

Ice cream will be offered for $1donation per scoop, with toppings for free. Additionally, there will be an unveiling of Storybead Zissler’s ceramic caricature interpretation of her fellow artists at Down the Street Art Gallery, 703 West Main Street, Payson.

The event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 7.

Meanwhile, at the Artists of the Rim Gallery, August’s featured artists will be introduced: Angie Cockle, Sandy Pendleton and Glenn Smith.

Cockle works in scratchboard art. The technique consists of scratching the subject into existence on a clay- and ink-coated hardboard. She uses a blade to scratch the ink away, leaving only the clay, and then applies water-based paint for color.

The process takes hours. She said it usually takes her about three months to complete a large piece. Often her clients will want more than a single piece when they commission work, Cockle said.

She is currently working on two different commissions in addition to preparing for the August event at Artists of the Rim.

“Even in this economy, people will still find money to bring their baby back,” she said. Most of her commission work is of pets, many of which have died. She said she seems to work on an equal number of cats and dogs.

She hopes to have a couple of new pieces for sale, but most of the new work on display will be the commissions, which her clients let her exhibit in shows. Cockle will have three prints and 15 original pieces at the gallery in August, plus a large selection of cards created from her work.

Her next exhibit will probably be the Payson Art League’s fall show and sale.

Glenn Smith said this is about the fourth time his work has been featured in the gallery. The photographer will have several new pieces on display, including a shot of a creek in Greer, Ariz., which he was commissioned to do.

“A client wanted it for sentimental reasons and it came out pretty good,” he said. In fact the work pleased him so much he had note cards made with the image.

Smith will have the Greer note cards and others available at the gallery, plus about two dozen photos. He custom mats and frames his work and is available to do the same for other artists and anyone interested in giving one of their photos a special treatment.

For instance he had one client who had a photo and a poem to inspire her through a battle with cancer. Another client came to him with a photo taken by their son. When the son saw the finished product, with its custom mat and frame, he didn’t even recognize it as his work it looked so good, Smith said.

Smith has his photos printed by a New York firm, Adorama.

“They do excellent work. They have a technique that gives the photos a kind of metallic sheen and it really makes them vibrant. I really like it and so do my clients.”

Smith said the benefits he gets from his work include the opportunity to meet new people. “I really am pleased when people enjoy the work.”

He said he doesn’t make a living at it, but it gives him a great deal of joy.

Smith’s next exhibit may be in the Northern Gila County Fair in September.

Artists sometimes describe breakthroughs in their work as “happy accidents”. The reality is that new developments in artwork come from patience, perseverance and the faith that eventually you will find the combination of techniques that make a work uniquely yours, said glass artist Sandy Pendleton.

She has a new line of work she calls her “Earth Inspirations” series. These new pieces are full of textures and are unusual in the way they dramatically reflect light even in a dimly lit room.

“I like to experiment with different techniques,” Pendleton said.

“Some of my experiments are not very successful, but I always learn something. Often I set something aside, and months later realize I have an interesting way to use it after all. I am very excited about my Earth Inspiration series. They have iridescence to them and a lot of little textured surfaces that allow the light to bounce around. They change with the light over the course of a day and become almost glamorous in the evening. It really gives them life.”

Pendleton works from her home studio in Pinetop.


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