Autumn in Rim Country means many things. One of the most popular is the annual ARToberFEST presented by the Payson Art League. It always offers up a bounty of beauty to savor.
The 2010 ARToberFEST will showcase the work of 23 artists, most from around the Rim Country. The big show and sale is Friday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 24 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino Event Center.
The show opens with an artists’ reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 22, with the primary exhibit open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 23 and Sunday, Oct. 24.
The Payson Art League has selected Angela Cockle as the featured artist of this year’s show.
Cockle has traveled much of the world, always keeping her artist eye focused keenly on wildlife, while seeking just the right animal, the right pose and the right emotion to capture.
An artist who works in multiple mediums, Cockle specializes in scratchboard, blending the precision of drawing, detail of engraving and hues of painting into a single piece of artwork.
She is well known for her pet portraits, fulfilling her client’s wishes by capturing the soul and emotion of their beloved pet.
About the featured artist
As a little girl growing up in London’s East End, Angela Cockle liked to draw sunshine, palm trees, the ocean and a beach.
Cockle uses knife-like tools that must be kept very sharp. The technique blends the precision of drawing, the detail of engraving and she may add paint to the scratchboard.
“I wanted to be an artist when I was 3 and my mum said, that’s not a good idea, you need to work in an office when you grow up,” Cockle said.
Throughout school she was encouraged by her teachers to keep drawing, but nobody went into art those days, Cockle said. There was no money in the profession.
When she left school at age 15 (the normal age to leave school then) she got a “boring office job” in London’s wealthy West End.
Angela married her around-the-corner sweetheart Mick in 1966. The couple had two sons, Paul and Darren. When her son Paul was 7, the family moved to New Zealand.
The halfway stop was Los Angeles and the couple thought the United States was nice, but too expensive.
Cockle learned a new trade, upholstery, and continued raising her family.
Meanwhile, her sister moved to Phoenix and became a U.S. citizen.
In 1974, the Cockles decided they wanted to immigrate to the United States. The process took three years.
“Getting into this country is very difficult if you do it legally,” Cockle said.
Mick went to work for Shamrock Foods and Angela was snapped up by custom boat manufacturer Sea Ray.
When she retired from Sea Ray at age 40, she decided to go back to school for art.
“My husband didn’t even know I could draw,” she said.
She finished the Art Institute of Minnesota’s two-year correspondence course in 18 months. She tried watercolors, but found she liked pen and ink — the reverse of the scratchboard she does now.
Even after selling a couple of watercolors she still did not consider herself an artist, “but I really was,” she said.
When her sister left Phoenix for a Rim Country cabin, Angela and Mick visited at Christmastime 1996.
“Driving up I said to my husband, ‘Why would anyone want to live in a place like this? They’d have to be out of their head,’” Cockle said.
The next day it snowed and the Cockles decided to take a walk.
They stopped at an older, empty cabin. It was flooded, so Mick went in and turned the water off.
Mick came back and asked his wife, “How would you feel about owning a cabin up here?”
“I think I’d like it,” she said.
They bought the cabin where Mick had turned off the water and moved from the Valley several months later.
Next, Cockle took a couple of workshops with Rock Newcomb and scratchboard grabbed her interest.
“I thought, this is what I want to do, because in England hundreds of years ago, some artists would take a piece of metal, paint it black and scrape off a picture,” she said. “I loved the idea.”
The commissioned pet portraits soon followed.
The artists juried into the annual show work in all mediums, including photo-graphy, jewelry, sculpture, oils, acrylics, watercolors, glass and fabric.
New artists showing
The 2010 ARToberFEST will include five artists that have never showed with Payson Art League before: Matalyn Gardner, Sharon Kennedy, Susan Frost Palmer, Kerry Thompson and Larry Trotter.
Gardner is a photographer. She spent her career in government, and says her most fascinating job involved government and public relations work with Dallas Water Utilities, something that fed into a life interest in writing. After early retirement, that writing interest led to working as a journalist, and then photography. Since moving to her home by the East Verde River, her passion has been photographing rich landscapes, wildlife and colorful events throughout the Rim Country and Arizona.
Kennedy is a jewelry artist. She was raised in Douglas where her love of rocks and stones developed from youthful adventures as a daughter of rockhound parents. That love has developed into making jewelry and it now satisfies her need to play with rocks.
“I take pride in the quality of my workmanship,” Kennedy said. Pieces include necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants, watches, and other beaded objects. Most items are crafted from combinations of semi-precious gemstones, freshwater pearls, crystal, and interesting glass beads. The finishings are sterling silver and copper.
Watercolor, oil artists
Frost Palmer works in watercolors and acrylics. She only recently began painting and said she is really enjoying it.
“I love colors and shapes and the act of combining them together to make an interesting abstract. I love flowers and landscapes as well, and am learning how to capture their beauty onto canvas and paper,” Frost Palmer said. She is an Arizona native and makes her home in Christopher Creek.
Thompson works in oils. Born and raised in St. Louis, he started painting at age 15. Encouraged by art teachers, along the way, he decided to major in art at Arizona State University. He received his BPA in art in 1975.
While at ASU, Thompson concentrated on painting, drawing, photography and ceramics.
He believes that even though his formal education was a major step in his development as an artist, life experiences are what define him as an artist.
Trotter works in watercolors, stained glass and acrylics. As a young boy, raised in Kansas, Trotter said he always had a love for arts and crafts.
In 1978, after a stint in the Navy, he settled in Southern California and started a stained glass business in the historical gold mining town of Julian, Calif., northeast of San Diego.
For 25 years, he created custom stained glass and functional art. In 2000, he and his wife moved to Pine, where he continues to pursue his love of landscape art through acrylics and watercolors.
The Payson Art League is a nonprofit organization and the sole purpose of its programs is broadening awareness and appreciation of the arts in Rim Country. In support of this, a piece of art created by each artist is donated to the PAL Education Fund and displayed for raffle. The money collected through the sale of the raffle tickets — approximately $2,000 annually — is used to purchase art supplies for area schools and children’s organizations, along with books. Members also provide hands-on art experiences in the Rim Country’s elementary schools.