Featured photo by Valerie Shelton – Artist Julie Raymer, with her piece titled “Old Koloa Sugar Mill” which won first place at the Old West and Rodeo Art Show in the watercolor category.
By Valerie Shelton, Editor
The sport of rodeo and the western way of life have long been the subjects of artists, drawn to the beauty of the Old West and the horses, cattle and picturesque countryside which convey western themes.
Local artists were able to display such art at the Old West and Rodeo Art Show held April 18 to 24 at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. The art show coincided with the popular Clovis Rodeo and attracted many visiting rodeo enthusiasts as well as artists.
Artist Julie Raymer entered three pieces in the show and one, “Old Koloa Sugar Mill” took home a first place ribbon in the watercolor category.
“This is one of my favorite places,” Raymer said, describing the subject of her painting. “We have a place in Hawaii so we go there a lot and the last time we went, I’d never seen this place and I loved it. I saw it on the visitors channel and I asked ‘Where is that?’ and I made my husband drive all over until we found it and it was hidden. In Hawaii, all those sugar mills have been abandoned for years because they’ve all been shut down so it was just an adventure. We had to go on this road that said “keep out” and we just went in really quick and got some pictures and got out of there. It is a lot bigger than [what is depicted in the painting]. It is just a massive place sitting there and I just like the rustic look of this stuff.”
Raymer joined the Clovis Art Guild and the Alliance of California Arts (ACA) last year and entered the Old West and Rodeo Art Show for the first time in 2015. She said she has improved immensely since last year, earning this first place nod from the judges. The award, she said, motivates her to continue her art.
“I did art in high school and then I quit for 35 years and didn’t do anything because they didn’t like what I did when I went to college,” Raymer said. “They said I was too detailed and they wanted me to do all abstract and I thought, ‘no I don’t want to do that’ so I left and I finally started again and I don’t know why I ever quit because I love it. I used watercolor for this piece and I tend to do very detailed work. My husband asks me how I have the patience for it. I did one of a cotton branch with cotton balls on burlap and I did another commissioned one that someone had asked me to do a Scottish thistle plant and I did the background burlap, and it’s very detailed because it is not just lines this way and that way, but many different ways with different colors to get all the shading, but I love it. I tend to go overboard.”
Artist Roberta Davis entered a pastel titled “And They Call It Poppy Love” inspired by the wild poppies that bloomed in the Valley earlier this spring.
“I care take a woman who is 96 years old and she doesn’t drive anymore. She is an artist and I’ve known her as an artist for over 30 years and I drive her around and stuff. She and I went to look at poppies this spring. It was a banner year because we had so much rain and the wildflowers were just crazy this year so we went out to look,” Davis said. “It was fun looking with her because, being an artist, she was painting all the time in her head and she would tell me ‘take that picture, take that picture’ and ‘get one where those shadows are’ so it was really cool to go with her. This pastel is from one of the photographs that we took. It is hard to do things that are all one color because you have to have some variation of color in there. It took me a couple weeks to paint it.”