Five Casper watercolor artists exhibiting at fine arts center

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Tyler Johnson, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WYOMING (May 28, 2021) — The Community Fine Arts Center is opening a new exhibit next Wednesday, June 2, with an opening reception for the Casper art group The Scotch and Watercolor Society from 5 to 7 p.m.  Three of the artists will be painting during the reception. It’s been six years ago that the group of five artists first exhibited here. They have shown across Wyoming and the region, while its members have also shown nationally and internationally since the group formed nearly 50 years ago.

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The Scotch and Watercolor Society began with five painters in 1972, gathering once a month — often over scotch or other drinks — to critique paintings, said Barbara (Bobbie) Kuxhausen.  She is the sole original member but the group and the tradition continues with additional members Michele McDonald, Barbara Barella, Skip Larcom, and David Sneesby.

Barbara Kuxhausen grew up in the Chicago area, but a trip out west attracted her to Wyoming where she earned her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Art.  At the University of Wyoming, she met her husband, Gary, and eventually moved to Casper where they raised their son, Kyle.  After 30 years of teaching elementary art, she retired and presently enjoys her dog, travel and golf.  She has exhibited in many national and international shows including the American Watercolor Society and the National Watercolor Society.

Her recent juried exhibitions include the 51st Watercolor West International Exhibition (La Brea, CA); Wind River Valley Artist Guild Exhibition (Dubois, WY); Northern Plains Watercolor Exhibition (Rapid City, SD);  San Diego Watercolor Society (San Diego, CA); Montana Watercolor Society (Miles City, MT); Watercolor Art Society of Houston (Houston, TX); Oklahoma Watercolor Society (Oklahoma City, OK); Georgia Watercolor Society (Macon, GA); and Red River Watercolor Society (Fargo, ND).  Invitational shows she has been included in are solo exhibits at the Scarlowe Gallery, “Four Directions”, (Casper, WY), Goodstein Gallery, Casper College and the AVA Gallery in Gillette, WY, as well as the Contemporary Art in the Cowboy State exhibit at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper. Her work is in many private and public collections in the region.

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Kuxhausen says, “Watercolor has always been a favorite challenge.  I enjoy the fluidity, the adventure and the surprise if offers.  I paint a variety of subjects attempting not to duplicate nature, but to reflect my feelings, the harmony, vitality and mood.”

Barbara J. Barella was born in Nebraska, but the family moved to Casper where she completed her education.  She attended Casper College on a scholarship and then married her high school sweetheart Frank.  Together they successfully raised a family of four.  She pursued her career as a geological draftsman until she retired.  Barbara now spends her free time with her art, her grandchildren, a successful business of making fine jewelry, and traveling extensively throughout the world.
Barella’s work has been included in several juried exhibitions for the Wyoming Watercolor Society (Sheridan), Wyoming State Fair Exhibition in Douglas and Northern Plains Watercolor Society in Rapid City, SD. Group shows in which her work hung was at the Gillette Cam-plex Gallery, Center for the Arts in Jackson and the Metro Gallery in Casper.

She is a signature member in the Wyoming Watercolor Society and has associate memberships in National Watercolor Society, Oklahoma Watercolor Society, and Northern Plains Watercolor Society.

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Michele McDonald is a Wyoming native, born and raised in Sheridan. She now lives in Casper where she teaches watercolor and mixed media classes at the Casper Rec. She also operates her studio “Studio Michele” in the Walcott Galleria (the historical Odd Fellows building) in downtown Casper.

McDonald’s work has been accepted into many national and international shows including The National Watercolor Society, International Society of Acrylic Painters and the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in Birmingham, England. She holds signature memberships in the Northwest Watercolor Society, the Montana, Wyoming and Northern Plains Watercolor Societies and the International Society of Acrylic Painters.

“Through my paintings, I strive to communicate my impressions of life. Copying nature is not important. What is important, is the ability to instill my personality and viewpoint and make it a part of who I am,” says McDonald in her artist’s statement.

Gordon (Skip) Larcom is a native of Massachusetts but had been a resident of Wyoming since 1967 where he practiced medicine in Casper.  He originally painted in oils and acrylics but has limited his work to watercolor media for the past twenty years.  Retiring from medicine in 1990, he has more actively pursued his painting.  Aside from painting, his interests include traveling, skiing, kayaking and extensive stays at his cabin in Wilson, Wyoming.

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Larcom spent his youth outdoors as there were “no electronic devices to occupy his time.”  He continues to enjoy natural beauty and the natural landscapes.  He believes much of the country has been lost to development and there is beauty in even the simplest subjects:  trees, water, mountains, and the change of seasons.

Participating in many juried exhibitions and invitational shows, Larcom’s artwork has been seen at the Casper Petroleum Club for 13 years of quick draw competitions; Teton Plein Air Painters group (Jackson, WY 2019-2021); National Museum of Wildlife Art Plein Air Invitational 2020 (Jackson, WY); Art Wyo Exhibition (Casper); Wyoming Works at Nicolaysen Art Museum (Casper); Grand Teton National Park Anniversary, The Arts in the Parks 2nd 100 Show; Nicolaysen Art Museum’s “Where the Buffalo Roam”; Wyoming Symphony Art Sale. Group and solo shows he has been included in are The Metro Gallery “From Pen to Paper”; Jackson Art Association; Dakota Art Gallery (Rapid City, SD); Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (Palmer Lakes, CO); Warm Springs Gallery (Dubois, WY); Gillette Camplex Gallery; and Big Red Gallery, Ucross Foundation (Ucross, WY).

David Sneesby was born and raised in Casper, but spent his career primarily in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. He was a registered professional engineer, with 20 years with Los Alamos National Laboratory in facilities planning, construction engineering, and utilities management.  Dave also worked in urban planning, residential rehabilitation, resort management, and civil engineering in consulting offices.  He is a Vietnam veteran and has a son whose family is in Sacramento.

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He came back to Wyoming to retire in 2003, was married to Audrey in 2006, and took up watercolor painting the next year as a hobby.  His other hobbies are reading, genealogy, bicycling, and word games.  Dave and Audrey spend the winter months in Yuma, Arizona.

Sneesby has been actively showing his work at West Wind Gallery (Casper, WY); Mountain Shadows Annual Show (Yuma, AZ); Headwaters Center National Art Show (Dubois, WY); Nicolaysen Art Museum (Casper, WY); Wyoming Watercolor Society (Sheridan, WY); ART 321 (Casper, WY); Community Fine Arts Center (Rock Springs, WY); Scarlow’s Gallery (Casper, WY) and Community Center (Chugwater, WY).

This exhibit will be on display through July 28th at the CFAC. The public is invited to the reception on June 2 to visit with all of the artists and to also enjoy the permanent collection owned by Sweetwater County School District No. One.

The CFAC is a department of the Sweetwater County Library System and programming is supported by the City of Rock Springs. An extensive library on the arts is maintained by the CFAC for the public for research and checkout. The current center’s hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.

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