Rhett Regina Owings is a retired art and history teacher, who now works as a fine artist. She finds inspiration in the California landscape and recreates them in oils, pastels and acrylics. Her works have been shown all over California and locally can be seen at the Turlock Community Art Gallery at 132 S. Center St. or on her website at www.RhettsStudio.com.
Q. What was your first foray into art?
A. "When I was in 2nd grade I loved to finger paint. I had so much fun getting my hands and arms into the paint and spreading the paint around creating fantastic patterns and designs. I guess one of the 3rd grade teachers noticed my work and asked me to come to her class to show her students how I painted. I will never forget that experience and that is probably why I wanted to be an art teacher."
Q. What helps inspire your creativity?
A. "I love color, pattern, texture and the beauty in nature. Being in the out-of-doors painting the hills, sky, water, fields, shadows and trees is very inspiring. There is so much beauty all around us. Capturing that beauty with paint or pastels is the challenge I enjoy."
Q. What's your biggest challenge?
A. "As I am getting older, getting outside to paint is more difficult. My painting supplies seem heavier now and I lose my balance easier. I find myself painting in my studio more often and the light is not as good as outside."
Q. What do you think Turlock should be most proud of?
A. "I think Turlock should be very proud of the Carnegie Arts Center. Not only is it a beautiful building, but it is a real showcase for the performing and visual arts. There are so many fun and wonderful art activities for everyone. It is exciting to see some very fine and outstanding art exhibits featured there such as the Yvonne Porcella, Picasso, and Degas shows. There are classes, lectures, and performances to delight anyone. We should be very proud of our new art center which brings culture to our little valley town."
Q. What change would you like to see happen in Turlock in the next five years?
A. "I would hope that more Turlock citizens attend and participate in the activities at the Carnegie Arts Center. The Carnegie and its exciting shows attract people from all over the valley and the Bay Area. As more people come to visit the Carnegie, I hope we can open more art galleries in downtown Turlock. I would like to see Turlock become an art destination and I would like to see more people buy art and support the arts."
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. "Besides painting, I love to fold and embellish origami paper cranes (which I sell at the Carnegie), make beaded and fabric jewelry, collect antique beaded purses and hair combs, research historical things, watch "Downton Abbey" (and movies like that), putter in my garden and read good books."
Q. What was the last thing you read?
A. "In the last month I have read six books including Louis L'Amour, Dan Brown and Sidney Sheldon. I love books with a historical theme, such as L'Amour's book, "The Walking Drum” and Dan Brown's book "The Inferno.” "The Inferno” takes place in Florence and Venice among all that great Renaissance art and architecture! "The Walking Drum” takes place in Europe during the Middle Ages, the subject I used to teach to 7th graders!"
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A. "I am not sure if my friends would be surprised, but I am an avid nature and bird lover. I support many nature organizations and groups including the World Wildlife Fund and the Audubon Society. My binoculars are always nearby so I can spot a beautiful bird."