Sunday, October 7, 2012
"... let’s sit down and have fun with some paint.”
LONGVIEW Aspiring painters now have another venue to express themselves and learn new skills. A local framing and art supply business has recently expanded and now offers both painting classes and “Art Parties” for companies and organizations that want to use painting as a team-building exercise.
Art World is located in the Brookwood Village shopping center on McCann Road. Emma K. Robinson worked for the previous owner at its Judson Road location. She bought and moved the business here three years ago.
She says she opened the store, “in memory of my father, in honor of my mother, and to the glory of God.” Emma credits her father for her entrepreneurial spirit. He ran a grocery store in Marshall for several years.
Robinson got her start framing art in Marshall more than four decades ago and owned a frame shop there for 10 years. She has been interested in art since she was a child and took three years of art courses in college from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville. Her preferred medium is oil painting, either with a palette knife or a brush. She has also worked with stained glass.
After a lengthy hiatus, Robinson returned to oil painting after a bout two years ago with a rare form of breast cancer. Several of her abstract oil paintings, as well as more representational works, are displayed at the store. Softly tapping her heart with her hand, Emma said her goal in starting the oil painting classes is to “get other people to look inside for their art.”
Robinson, along with her manager, Susan Tanner, and Robinson’s son Hank — both artists as well — recently opened How Great Thou Art adjoining Art World. That is where both the classes and the Art Parties are held. The space also displays work by these three artists as well as art supplies and other merchandise.
Susan’s background is in art education. Her “base medium” is drawing. She is also an adept welder and has a number of metal sculptures on display at the store. She holds a bachelor of fine arts and a master’s in education from Sul Ross State University in Alpine and took doctoral classes at the University of North Texas. Susan taught both art and journalism classes for several years, including at the Renaissance charter school in Irving and at Forest Park in Longview. She and Emma met while working together part-time at Home Depot to make ends meet.
Emma’s son, Hank, recently returned to Longview after a stint at UNT where he also took art courses. Hank “practically grew up in the frame shop” as he put it and now handles much of the framing duties at Art World. Right now, his preferred art medium is “Zen doodles,” which he describes as “whatever you feel like drawing, you just sort of go with it.” A few examples — intricate drawings sketched on pieces of flagstone, river rock and granite, with a Sharpie — are on display at the store.
With the latest venture, the three hope to reach out to aspiring artists in the community. Oil painting classes are offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Anyone interested in attending is welcome. There are no set dates that courses begin or end, but call ahead at 903-753-3255.
“We hope to create a relaxing place to come, where people feel free to express themselves,” Susan said.
How Great Thou Art is available for Art Parties on nights when classes aren’t being held. A lounge area, called the Color Wheel, is now available for people to come by, sit and talk about art, Susan said. The Art Parties, which can be utilized as a team-building exercise for a company or organization, can be structured however the group wants. People come in and create abstract paintings, either individually or as a single collective painting. The point is to express oneself and build cohesion as a group at the same time.
As Emma put it, “Bring your beverage of choice, and let’s sit down and have fun with some paint.”