Art is all around us

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

Art is important to me. I love creating it; I love looking at it.

I’m a visual person. I can’t draw worth a darn, but my kids sure can. My art involves photography and quilting, usually not together, but it does happen.

In high school, I enjoyed building pots, combining two pinch pots into one. I never liked throwing clay on a wheel. It just wasn’t enjoyable. I’d rather make it look like it was thrown on a wheel without using one. One time, my art teacher told me, as he graded a pot I made, it was thick for a wheel-thrown pot. I told him I didn’t use a wheel, and he said, “A.”

Tonight, as I watched a show on the Travel Channel, I got goosebumps looking at paintings they showed. They featured a story about an artist who created a scandalous painting of a socialite that showed her decollate as her dress neckline plunged. This probably was in the 1800s. The artist was put to shame and left the area. However, another famous and daring woman decided she wanted the artist to paint her portrait, portraying a low neckline that showed her cleavage. People liked that painting, and other famous people lined up to have the artist paint their portraits.

I got goosebumps when they showed his paintings, which had cool cracks on them. It took me back to when two of my sons attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and we went to the museum associated with that museum. We had the opportunity to see artwork created by famous people, like Rembrandt, and famous paintings like “American Gothic” by Grant Wood and “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper. There also were two creepy paintings I fell in love with by Ivan Albright, one of which was “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door).” It took him 10 years to paint. I hope he also worked on other things during that time. It’s just so intricate and detailed.

I recall how impressed I was at the brilliant reds used in paintings centuries ago. I got to see that in person. It was mesmerizing with art in room after room. “American Gothic” was smaller than I imagined. It was awesome to see paintings I had only seen printed elsewhere in person.

I love the way people use art to express themselves visually. I appreciate great art. I even appreciate great photos, even when they’re better than mine. They help me get better. I enjoy learning and improving.

I love many forms of art, including a wonderfully designed car, house or even a scale, like the one from long ago in my bathroom. There’s something wrong with my scale, though—it keeps making my weight higher than I’d like.

If you look, art is everywhere—some created by humans, some created by the Great Creator. I think the human race would be nothing without art, whether it’s visual, auditory or culinary. Take time to enjoy it, and while you’re at it, visit The Carriage Factory Art Gallery at 128 E. Sixth St. in Newton. A couple of pieces of my photography are part of a Best of Newton Photography display on the second level, along with other local photographers. One of mine sold, which is of the Newton train station in the night fog, while another still is for sale. Check out the whole gallery if you haven’t already.

Wendy Nugent is the features editor and lead photographer at Harvey County Now. She can be reached at

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