story by: ellen thompson
page design by: stacy mantle
In preparation for this year's Havre Art Association show, Havre High School student Dan Marino painted with coffee, Vince Woodwick put down his pens in favor of paints and Kris Shaw worked with feathers. This year's theme is abstract or experimental art.
“I don't paint, so whenever I picked a paint brush up it was experimental,” Woodwick said.
The theme display is one of the show's optional features that can be the most fun for the artists, Havre Art Association President Becky Ross said. It sits in the foyer of Van Orsdel United Methodist Church, and the artists, if they want to, contribute to it. In the past, association members have created artwork on the theme of the Bear Paw Mountains, copying the masters, and clowns.
“It's just for the discovery of doing that and challenging yourself,” Ross said.
This is the Art Association's 35th annual show. It will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Local artist Don Greytak is featured and will speak each day at 2 p.m. about his farm scene-inspired drawings.
In addition to the theme, the show's few basic rules help keep the atmosphere collegial and challenging, Ross said. Artists can only display original works, not prints; the work they display must be recent; and artists must accompany their work.
The requirement of new work only, no more than one to two years old, is an important one, Ross said. It keeps the association members working and it allows visitors to see works they may not have seen before.
“I love the art association,” member Patty Greytak said. Greytak, Don Greytak's sister-in-law, lives near the Canadian border 40 miles from Havre. The art association gives her a community of artists she can interact with, she said.
Greytak and her husband ranch, so even though she's far from other artists, she lives close to her subject, landscapes and wildlife.
“It goes hand in hand,” she said of ranching, family life and artwork.
Woodwick retired from railroad work in Nebraska and returned to Havre three years ago. He has done pen and calligraphy work for years and joined the Havre Art Association as soon as he returned to Havre, he said.
Woodwick also helped form the Artitudes Gallery in the Atrium Mall.
The gallery and the Havre Art Association aren't related, but there's obvious crossover, apparent this week as some of the Artitudes walls were plundered to fill the space at the Methodist church.
Without the Havre Art Association, Mary Nault said she never would have exhibited her work, mostly watercolor pieces. Now she helps run the Artitudes gallery and exhibits at least twice a year with the association.
Nault has loved artwork from a young age, when she used to try to squeeze in artwork between chores on her family's farm. Now a retired school teacher, she devotes most of her time to her hobby and looks for inspiration around her.
Nault's theme piece will be “Guardian of the Range” a buffalo she made using rice paper to simulate the animal's mane. Nault said she was inspired by a scraggly animal in Loma who's hair is matted.
She's done another series of car grills that she said she started after passing through Chester during an antique car sale. She took photos of the grills and began painting them using rice and alcohol to create a different texture.
She's glad to have the encouragement of her friends at the association, as well as the gallery.
“It got our stuff out of the closet where people can see it,” she said.
Member Kris Shaw is also happy with this year's theme. She described the process she used for her entry, laying down feathers and painting over them and then removing the feathers to leave an impression.
That's not all she did. Her work required “a few other things, painting, rearranging, and it turns into” and there Shaw trailed off. It turned into creations she calls both abstract and experimental.
Woodwick said there will be more than artwork to entice visitors.
“There should be some good treats there and lots of great art work,” Woodwick said. “I'm even going to bake cookies. They said experimental, so I took that to heart.”