Paintings by three of the original members of Artists at Large are featured this month at the Great Bend Public Library. Karen Shaner, Cynthia Collier-Wilson and Beverly Simonson present the exhibit “Our Favorite Things.” The public can meet the artists Sunday Nov. 5 at a reception in the library from 1-3 p.m.
Artists at Large is a group of area artists who meet at 4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in the Lower Level Meeting Room at the library, located at 1409 Williams St.
“We sometimes have demonstrations,” Simonson said, “but a lot of it is show-and-tell.”
Members also offer critiques of each other’s work, but only if they’re asked, Shaner said. The group is now about 30 members strong, and open to any area artist. It was started by Simonson, Collier-Wilson and Shaner, along with Nancy Rogers.
Cynthia Collier-Wilson took an art class at Barton County Community College the first year it opened, when she was 16 years old. Her paintings include a watercolor titled “Grandpa Moore’s Bakery,” based on a real bakery once located across the street from the Great Bend Tribune. A 1904 newspaper article mentions the business: “George Moore has had a handsome new canvas awning put up at his new bakery and restaurant on Forest Ave.”
Karen Shaner is now known as “The Poppy Lady” for her bright paintings of poppies, but she also has some nostalgic pieces in the exhibit. “Jake Baumann - Auto Body & Fender Works - Great Bend, KS 1940s” was a family business started by Shaner’s grandfather, Henry Kottwitz, who worked at the body shop before he and his brother Harold bought it and started Kottwitz Motors. They later sold the business to John Elliott.
Bev Simonson has contributed watercolors and pastels to the exhibit. “I’m moving back into oil,” she said. Two of her paintings in the exhibit, “Cherry Blossoms II” and “Blue Twilight,” show the texture that is possible with oils.