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The White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour —
It's About Process - page 1

Story + Photographs by J R Compton
with help from Anna Palmer

White Rock Lake Tour Member Page   Tour Page Two > > >
Our Tour Stories from 2001   2002   and   2005

ON THIS PAGE: Matt & Sharon Bagley   Rebecca & Ken Boatman   Kathy Boortz   Glo Coalson   Leisa Corbett 
David Duncan   David Hickman   Annie Foster   Chris Lyons   Bill McLean   Marty & Richard Ray   Lynn Rushton

As usual, if you catch us at any misidentifications or other errors, please let us know.

At its best and at its core, the White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour is about process. Each artist is urged not just to show their studio and work but to demonstrate what goes into its creation. It is a teaching and learning experience. Not all the artists seem to understand that concept, but most do, and it's a lot of what separates this tour from the many that have tried to copy it.

WRLAST is the oldest and probably the best and best-known art tour in Dallas. It also has the most artists, which is unfortunate, because there's no way to comfortably visit 42 stops on a tour, even in two days. We dawdled a leisurely pace, socialized with friends, saw both fun and fine art, and managed only twelve visits (ten on the official tour) the first day and nine the second. Maybe at double our speed, we might have been able to complete this gargantuan tour, but I doubt it.

Unfinished Octavio Medellin Sculpture - copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.

Unfinished Octavio Medellin Sculpture
Awaiting Completion in David Hickman's yard

From being on the tour the last two years and talking with visitors, I know that few attempt the whole thing, concentrating on their favorite art forms or artists. I also know — except that the tour parties were great fun, I'm really really really glad I'm not on it anymore. I guess I had to do that to find out what it was like and write about it. I suppose.

Now I'm happier writing about taking the tour, although I would have been at least that much happier if I'd had the time to see all the art and artists I'd marked on my map — whom the contraints of time and space kept me from. 42 is at least twice too many.

For a full list of all the artists on the tour and their contact information, see The White Rock Lake Artists Studiot Tour supporting member page.


Marty & Richard Ray

Marty Ray Showing Process - photo by Anna Palmer

Marty Ray Showing Process - photograph by Anna Palmer

My friend Marty Ray started this tour, so it's appropriate we started our tour at her and husband Richard Ray's beautiful, green, serene and funky back yard studios on Barbaree Boulevard. It's a wide, comfortable and colorful place, with lots of her pots and his paintings, various animals and places to sit and talk.

Like most of Barbaree, it's a little bit of the country in the city, with big trees, big yards and thick woods beyond.

Marty's Inspiration Corner

I've often been impressed with the depth of Marty's work. She's a consummate craftsperson whose work, because of its content, context and depth of expression, qualifies as craft, of course, but also as fine art that sells in better galleries, like Edith Baker, Cidnee Patrick and now Craighead Green.

She has successfully bridged the gap from craft to art, teaching both technique and expression. And, like many artists, has a physical manifestation in a wall or corner of their studio devoted to works that inspire her. I think those spaces are important to artists' process, and I have included them in this story whenever possible.

One of my favorite painters — Richard Ray


Precarious Cat with Richard Ray
painting and Marty Ray pot
on a narrow upper shelf


Matt & Sharon Bagley

Bagley Porch Pumpkins

Bagley Porch Pumpkin Display

Sometimes our visits were as short-sighted as they were short-termed. Not sure why, exactly but we hardly gave the Bagleys the time of day, spending more time on the porch with the pumpkins that looked so amazing against their dark blue house, than with the art inside.

Sharon Bagley

Sharon & Matt Bagley - Great Blue Giblet/Good Year Blimp, Manit/Want It, Musget/Music, Tic Tac/Kitty Cat
Elmo/Elbow, Nunu/Pacifier, Bullshit/BlueFish, and Dolc/Cold

Only now, putting this page together am I getting intrigued with these odd little, verbally rhythmic, visually contrasting Tic Tac/Kitty Cat, Elmo/Elbow images. When I saw them first, I remember turning around and heading immediately out. Now I'd like to spend a little time with them and maybe see more.


Rebecca & Ken Boatman

   Both Boatman's work has to do with manifestations of magic,
but Rebecca's fetish figures look especially so.

I like looking at Rebecca's work. The forms, colors and textures remind me of the African and other tribal forms and fetishes I photograph at Joel Cooner Gallery, like there's magic in there sticking out all over. At Big As Night, Too, Rebecca explained some of the more visual aspects of her work.

I saw nails stuck in encrusted forms that remind me of voodoo dolls that are not overly female. She said the nails were symbolic of contracts and made those women strong. I look and don't see eyes or noses or faces or legs or feet on those figures, only hands and maybe one breast. I wonder about that.

This seems a step up from an inspiration corner,
incorporating her own work as well as others.


Inspiration Ceiling? - photo by J R Compton.

Inspiration Ceiling? in Rebecca's studio


Bottle Tree for catching dreams or capturing evil spirits,
like the chairs falling out of the sky, below,
constructed by Ken Boatman


Ken Boatman's Chairs
Materializing Down from the Sky


Bill McLean

Bill McLean

Neither Bill McLean nor Leisa Corbett were official stops on the tour, but both were present, and we met them within minutes of each other. Bill was walking into the Boatman's back yard (above) when when we were walking out, and Leisa (below) was set up next door. She had red — instead of multi-colored — balloons out front, a big banner and a path marked to her studio behind the house.

In this endeavor, she had WRLAST co-founder Marty Ray's blessing. Leisa didn't pay the fee, so she wasn't on the map/brochure, but she lives along the very popular street and, according to Marty, there was nothing to stop her from opening her studio that same day.

Like Anna and me, Bill was looking at art in the neighborhood. Unlike us, he lives there. I took time to talk with him because he's a dear friend whom I like as much for his gentle ways and fine painting as for his notorious past. Which I asked him about once again, since Anna didn't know his story.

I knew and liked him before, but some years ago, he frightened a lot of people at the Fort Worth Art Museum when it was still called that. With a leaky black water pistol on a night when the FWAM had invited artists to discuss the plight of being an artist. They'd advertised for contributions (not just cash, for a change) from artists. They wanted participation. But Bill's performance art was not on their agenda.

When Bill took out his squirt gun that had unfortunately leaked all its water in an informal though not impromptu Performance Art piece, people ran for cover. He was arrested, and the museum wanted him charged with a felony and locked away, but after hearing his story, the Grand Jury would only charge him with a misdemeanor.

The museum forbade him to ever come back, but he's visited since.

I'm hoping Bill and other artists on Barbaree who want to participate but don't want to pay fees or appear on official maps and web pages, will simply put out some balloons, mark a path, and show their work.

A less formalized Barbaree-only art tour could be an easy walk that would waste less gas and a lot fewer emissions and have the flavor of a community, instead of great long trek. A parking lot at one or both ends, a scooter trolley. Everybody would get to see all the stops on such a self-contained tour.


Leisa Corbett

these are not by Leisa


This is Leisa and her shoes. Her art was
behind glass and very difficult to photograph.


Glo & Britt Coalson

Glo Coalson - Serenity, bronze, $3,200

I keep being amazed at all the mediums Glo Coalson is adept in. When I saw her parrot painting in the tour promotional package I was once again taken aback. What, she can do that, too? How can anybody be that talented?

Glo Teaching By Doing


Raku Pigeons

When Glo realized how close raku colors were to the wild variety of colorations on real pigeons, a minor industry was born. At first, each piece was built up from coiled clay, but that was time-intensive. Now they're cast, but carefully crafted and just as beautiful — and popular. A solid commercial line lends artists who discover them a little financial freedom, smatters of time to reach into more mediums and dimension.

Wire Sculptures


Two Dogs


Indian original sculpture for metal casting?


Once I get in the mood to photograph art,
I see it everywhere I look.


Chris Lyons

Old Fart with hat

Chris Lyons' studio is a must-visit for me. At every WRLASTour. I feel comfortable in there. All that wood, and the subtle humor. And not just the Old Fart (his title) above. Little touches like the almost normal stack of sculptural materials cantilever leaning impossibly while maintaining perfect balance. In a studio dotted with little and large points of interest. A studio that may be a work of art in itself. Always the little surprises.

Besides, it's on Barbaree.

Almost Normal Stack of Sculptural Materials


Chris Lyon's Studio


Lynn Rushton

the artist and a table full
of inexpensive postcards


an especially fine, sculpted tire horse swing


street scene painting

I shot this, because it was in sunlight outside the studio-ish space in the back of the hosue, and I could get some distance. I just clicked before I thought it through. Something about it attracted me.

A street somewhere. A family. Not much discernable tension, but something between them. Visual but uncertain. A small business cart. The American dream. With a radio and jugs of liquid, not sure what, nor much care. Most of the piece's detail is in the foreground, in the cart with the red and white striped top. And the four people. Is the person in the middle part of our scene?

The foreground people are little more than gestures, folds of cloth, strokes of paint. A discussion maybe. Ephemeral, barely even there baby carriage. Warm splotches of paint puddled along the sidewalk — less real the further back it goes. Perspectived parallel lines of cars and shops dis-integrating into a nearly abstract background, offering us a depth of detail. People and texture back there mere smudges that confuse the cart.

Not so much an accomplishment of rich details and meaning. More a colorful sketch that lets us stretch our thinking.


David Hickman

David Hickman, The Connector King, teaches about putting things together

David Hickman is all about process. His giant barn of a studio is crammed with tools and drawings and macquettes of projects planned, in progress and completed. Dawdling through his studio is a learning experience all on its own.

David was a student of Octavio Medellin and is himself a natural teacher. I've watched him hold a room full of the best sculptors in Dallas in absolute thrall, as he lectured extensively on the topic of Fasteners at a Texas Sculpture Association meeting/party in his studio a few years ago. He was the State of Texas' 3-D Artist of the Year, and he has nearly mastered the arcane arts and science of getting through the governmental gauntlet for designing, creating and installing large public works.

He is a gentle man, smart, creative, pleasant, and high energy. He's always working with his hands and figuring things out in his head.

David's Studio back beyond
the yellow keep-out tape


His Fireplace Sculpture as Lava Flow in the
Gallery addition to his and Linda's home

As if all that art scattered around the grounds, in his studio, and in the richly colorful gallery extension of his home weren't enough process, David had invited the addition's architect to answer questions, also.

Our Lady of Guadalupe


Stone Boots


Macquette in Window Cubbyhole


Vivid Tulips


Another Macquette Outside


and Part of David's Ladder Collection


Kathy Boortz

Chicken - found wood, carved wood, metal and feathers (detail)

Everywhere we went on our first day's tour, participants kept telling us and everybody around us to be sure to visit Kathy Boortz. I'm lucky enough to photograph much of her work as she creates it, so I've been in her studio often. It was clean today, neat and somewhat organized.

It's always organized, because she's in there putting this piece into that one and making art of it almost every day, but it's rarely as neat as it was for the tour. So organized it was actually possible to walk around in there without knocking anything down or catching clothing on something.

As I explained the next evening on the last stop of our tour, in her studio it was possible to almost see into and maybe through Kathy's mind, what pieces she's already associating, where she was headed and map her progress through those ideas and into the many pieces she always has going or has just completed.

Transformation to K & P


Kathy Boortz' ersatz gallery - photo by Anna Palmer

Kathy Boortz' ersatz back deck gallery
with a screen of smoke to keep off the
mosquitoes — photo by Anna Palmer


Source Material


When Pigs Fly


Popeye The Turtle — ironically and intelligently
integrated, junk juxtaposed into intriguing visual ideas


A Tiny Chunk of Wood
with Bird-like Features


Kathy's Desk


What Kathy Calls Her "Muse" inside the kitchen
window reflecting the outside of their home


Annie Foster

Ceramic Yard Flowers


Town & Country


Ceramic Tools


Pots - $35 each


It all starts with drawings.


Stairs Leading Away from Her Studio


David Duncan

Scrolly Dragon - $1,600

I met David Duncan a couple years ago when I visited several WRLAST artists to promote the tour. I'd been there before, back when I hit every stop, but I had not previously engaged him as a human being. I liked him when I did the promo visit, and more importantly, I liked his work. I also admired his process and his big barn of a studio in the back in a neighborhood near where I used to live.



At first I thought it might be another dragon,
then I began to wonder whether it more resembled
the two large Standard Collies wandering around
being fluffy and gentle.


See Page Two for the report on Day Two of our
2006 White Rock Lake Artists Studio Tour > > >

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Copyright 2006 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.