Through the ages, the images which last in our collective memory are those which the artist creates from his or her immediate surroundings. “Paint what you know” is often the best advice to young artists.
Two friends, artists, and fellow McKinney residents have been preparing for an exhibit by doing just that. Painters Jeni Tomlinson and Bob Bruu have made their hometown their subject in McKinney through the Eyes of an Artist, shown at Orisons Fine Art and Framing Gallery during September. The opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, from 7-10 p.m., at 110 E Louisiana St McKinney, TX 75069.
Tomlinson’s family has lived in McKinney for four generations. “My family lived in historical houses under restoration. I remember being 8 years old and stripping trim work and library doors. Then we moved to Rockhill Road, where my father pastored the century old Foote Baptist Church. At that time, the area was full of corn fields and cow patties,” Tomlinson recalls. “Now it’s Adriatica and Stonebridge. My father’s church has been moved to Historic Chestnut Square, and serves as the wedding chapel.”
When Tomlinson considers a downtown building as subject matter, she sees its past undergirding the present iteration. In her portrayal of the old Central Continental Bank Building (115 E. Virginia St.), a crisp winter blue sky sets off the brick portico. The ionic columns tower above the viewer. Tomlinson brings the viewer close to the downtown building, with an upward gaze. This casts the architecture at a monumental angle that dwarfs the viewer. “I like to remind people of how small and finite we are in comparison to the history all around us,” she explains.
Tomlinson still lives in the historic district, and has worked as a professional artist for 20 years, painting murals and commissioned paintings (jenitomlinsonstudios.com)
Compared to Tomlinson, Bruu is a relative newcomer to McKinney. Moving from California via Allen, Bruu settled his family in McKinney in 1996. Though family and business are Bruu’s primary focus, he has returned to his roots in the arts through the encouragement of the artist community in downtown McKinney. This new series of paintings reflects his special familiarity with the old and the new on the Square.
Bruu explains the focus of the series: “I’m interested in unique parts of the Square, the uncommon features of its alleys and doorways, what might be obscure to first time visitors.” On one canvas, faded scenes of rain-scrubbed advertising remind the viewer of older times around the Square. On another, brightly colored lawn chairs are a nod to simpler days in front of McKinney’s old antique stores.
Bruu and Tomlinson enjoy painting during arts events around the Square, and will likely be demonstrating their detailed techniques during Saturday evening’s opening reception at Orison’s. In the upstairs gallery, artist Logan Larsen will exhibit his latest abstract and architectural paintings. Meet the artists and enjoy beverages, wine, and desserts from McKinney’s Sweet Spot.
This article was submitted by Orisons Fine Art & Framing.