2 artists from 2 cities in 1 show

Published 11:10 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

An artist from Albert Lea and an artist from Austin are combining their talents for the June show at the Albert Lea Art Center. The open house reception for the Ryan Heath and Linda Draper show will be from 5 to 7 p.m. today. The show will continue through July 2. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Heath, who grew up in Albert Lea, had his first show at the Art Center in October of 2008. He will show both photographs and paintings.

Heath’s father was a painter, but the younger Heath didn’t start painting until he was 24 — about eight years ago. “I’ve always drawn,” he said.

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He took classes in photography, painting and drawing at Riverland Community College.

Heath’s photography is mostly black and white. “I do a lot of depth of field, architecture and contrasts,” he said. “I like the blacks and whites because of the contrasts.”

The opposite can be said of his paintings. There, he uses lots of color because he has more control over it. He has 19 paintings in the Art Center’s Herfindahl Gallery and another 10 photographs in the Cruikshank Gallery.

Heath said in the past six months, he’s made a commitment to spend more time painting. “Even just a half hour or an hour makes a difference,” he said.

He’s been doing more cityscapes and portraits since his last show. People will see a portrait of his daughter, Reggie, in the show, trying some new techniques.

“I also shoot weddings and babies. With my photography, I’d like to offer more portraits,” he said.

When he’s not painting, Heath is the bar manager at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club.

Linda Draper moved to Austin in 1983. She is a native of the Missouri Ozarks and has also lived in Colorado and Hawaii.

Draper said she always wanted to be an artist, but her mother discouraged so she was an English teacher for 15 years.

“But I have always turned to art,” she said. “It’s been my salvation and my escape from reality and now I’m lucky enough for it to be my reality.”

After her mother died, Draper decided to retire from teaching and start doing art on a full-time basis.

She has worked at the Austin Area Art Center for three years and teaches art through the Watch Me Draw program there. It’s allowed her to be immersed in art while still satisfying the urge to teach.

She does photography, painting, dream catchers, ceramic windchimes and woodburning. She also sketches and dabbles in sculpture.

At this month’s show, she’ll have everything but her ceramics and oil crayons. She’ll have scenes in nature people normally wouldn’t see.

“I like that oddball type of art,” Draper said.

This is her second show; she previously shared a show in Austin with two others.

Draper said she has a good friend with whom she paints.

“Having a comrade in arms is an inspiration and a motivation,” she said. “I like to have people to go to for advice and learn new techniques and networking.”

Her favorite time to paint is early morning, but she also likes to stay up late doing it.

The reward is after the struggle when the piece finally comes together as she envisioned it.

“I like to watch others’ faces and hear others’ comments,” Draper said.

She’s especially proud of a hummingbird she created for her daughter and one she’s titled “Dark Horse Rider,” a Native American portrait.”

Her goals as an artist are to do the best she knows how to do and to feel personally accomplished, she said.

Admission to the show is free, but donations are accepted to help defray Art Center expenses.