Clements featured in art show at library

Published 6:29 pm Sunday, July 13, 2008

Louella Clements began studying painting in mid-life, about the time she grew into her 40s.

Now, the work has become a passion.

“I’ve got a lot to do,” she said recently. “I’ve got a lot to learn. Yet, there’s a lot in my head that needs to come onto the canvass.”

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People who wish to see a little of Clements’ journey in painting should go to the Selma-Dallas County Public Library, where she is having a one-woman showing of her oils and watercolors until the end of the month.

The library is open Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Clements always has had a relationship with the arts. She began musically, singing in the church choir and in a trio.

Later, she turned to the visual arts. She took her initial lessons for a year from Mary Barnes. Clements began with oils.

Then she took off on her own, Clements said, reading and watching artists on television.

“At first I didn’t have a lot of time to paint because I was raising a family and running a business,” Clements said, “but now my children are grown and I have more time.”

Most recently, Clements has begun working with local artist Jack Reed in watercolors.

Her paintings in the exhibit have a wide range of subjects, from the ante-buildings at the Smitherman Museum in Selma to a landscape from a friends photograph taken in Oahu, Hawaii.

The first in the water color series of the library exhibit are plein aire works. Plein aire artists work on location to capture the lighting nature provides. Most of the time the artist finishes the painting in two or three hours before the light changes.

In addition to two works that focus on the Smitherman Museum’s grounds, Clements has a watercolor of a farm scene, aptly titled, “On the Farm,” which she said just “came out of my head.” Other watercolors include “Art in the sunflower field,” and a painting of egrets in Florida.

Clements said she painted the egrets, or large white herons, from a photograph she had taken while on a trip in Florida with her husband years ago.

“Dave” is the final watercolor in the series. It is a painting of an African-American male sitting at a table in a restaurant. Clements painted the scene while on a trip in Louisiana at a painting workshop. She had breakfast every morning in a restaurant, Cotton’s.

Every morning, this man would sit at his reserved table and dine, Clements said.

The oils section of the exhibit begins with a landscape of Oau, Hawaii, capturing the site of a friend’s wedding. The others in the section consist of “Majestic Flight,” of an eagle and “Peacock,” about which Clements says she loves the colors.

Early in her learning, Clements says, local artists influenced her. Now she turns more toward the old masters, “no matter what their style of painting.”

Oklahoma artist Jerry Yarnell, who has a popular PBS program, tops Clements’ list of modern artists. Yarnell has a studio and school in Skiatook, Okla. Yarnell is the author of 12 books on painting. His work focuses on nature.

Additionally, Clements says, she particularly enjoys the work of Terry Redlin, who announced his retirement last year after two decades of work. From 1991-98, U.S. ART magazine’s gallery surveys had him ranked No. 1 in the U.S. He focuses on wildlife and settings.

But when she gets down to it, Clements cuts through all the biographies of artists and says, “I just love art.”