No Time to Slow Down

Two senior artists lead
next ArtTalk at Gallery 104

Local artists share their passion,
wisdom with the public

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2010) – Bob Grimes and Bette Decker are two talented artists enjoying their Golden Years, who have no intention of slowing down any time soon. They will both be participating in an upcoming program, ArtTalk, presented by Gallery 104 and the Arts Association of Oldham County.

Bette Decker

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

Eclectic artist
Bette Decker lived in
Hawaii for 43 years.

Anyone who attends this program will learn a wealth of information from these individuals about their work, the process of creating it and the influences involved in the outcome. ArtTalk is a new series of programs presented at Gallery 104. The Saturday, Aug. 14, program is free and open to the public from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. It is requested that participants RSVP by noon Friday, Aug. 13, because seating is limited.
Grimes has been painting seriously since 1955. During the Korean War, while stationed in Korea and Indo China, he was aboard ship for nine months at a time. He visited the ship’s library often, which contained many art books. After reading “Lust for Life,” a book by Irving Stone about artist Vincent Van Gogh, art was “all of a sudden what I wanted to do,” said Grimes, 76.
He had decided to make a career out of service in the U.S. Navy, but after eight years, he told his captain, “I want to go to school and study art.” Grimes attended the University of Louisville on the GI Bill for 1 1/2 years.
Eugene Leake, the professor in charge of the Art Department at the University of Louisville, told Grimes he should go to art school where he wouldn’t be bogged down with so many additional classes that did not pertain to art.
“Art school changed my life,” he said.
Grimes had a solid career teaching and producing illustrations for more than 40 years. After retiring, he decided he could “paint anything, anyway I wanted to.”
Many define his artwork as abstract expressionism, but he created his own term for his work, Imaginal World. “It sometimes looks like abstract landscapes,” he said.
He doesn’t really plan a painting but rather does a lot of sketching, which may sometimes turn into a painting. “I’ve gone through different phases in painting,” said Grimes, whose work is generally not described as traditional. “I want people to decide for themselves what my work represents. I want them to see something different every time they look at it.”
Grimes said he has tried to “avoid being influenced by the hundreds of artists I have studied. I want to paint from my own point of view, using my imagination and memory from observation.”
While Decker’s work is not as abstract as Grimes’, her work is very imaginative as well. She describes it as “Eclectic. Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious.” As an artist, Decker believes “You should do what you feel like doing.”
Decker works in acrylics and in collage. She has found enjoyment in drawing, painting and sculpting since she was a child. Having painted for 60 years, she also enjoys print making.

Bob Grimes

Photo provided

Artist Bob Grimes relies heavily
on his imagination for inspiration.

“I like to take photos and take them back to my studio to work on a painting there,” said Decker, 80. “I use all kinds of things and never stop learning.” Decker has incorporated all kinds of cloth and stamped natural objects into her work.
Her creations “come from my heart,” she said. Decker lived in Hawaii for 43 years and was influenced by Asian Rim artists, and the beautiful landscapes and colors around her. She attended Florida State University, Cerritos College in California and the University of Hawaii.
Decker was born in San Diego and lived in Hawaii for four years when young. Both her father and her husband were naval aviators. Her husband was stationed in Hawaii and the couple traveled extensively in far eastern countries, where Decker was always influenced by the art and colors around her.
While in Hawaii, Decker and two other artists founded the Windward Artist’s Guild and she was president of the Made In Hawaii Association (a large group of manufacturers of Hawaiian products.) She taught art to children as well.
Along with her husband, Decker founded the Aloha Candle Co. which manufactures ethnic Hawaiian candles for the tourist trade, and the Banana Bay Garment Co., where she was a product designer and fabric designer.
“I’m obsessed by color and I love form,” said Decker. “My painting comments on everyday life and how I see it.”
After her husband’s death, Decker moved to Crestwood to be near her daughter. She spends six months of the year in Crestwood and six months in San Diego. She is currently writing and illustrating a children’s book.

• To make reservations for ArtTalk, contact Gallery 104 at (502) 222-3822.

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