Art show brings diverse crowd

Russell Anglin

Area artists congregated Sunday to Tucumcari Art Space to share their work and socialize over punch and snacks.

One of the artists, Tucumcari resident and animal rescuer Juanita Umland, set up a few of her pieces in a dark, windowless room in the Art Space studio. While Umland herself was difficult to see during the event, her combination glow-in-the-dark and blacklight paint displays shone brightly.

“I went into a store and they had glowing paint for Halloween. Well, I’m an artist. Of course I could think of something else to do with it, so I did. After that I got glow-in-the-dark paint and then I got blacklight paint,” Umland said of her paintings.

Umland said she has sold her pieces to art enthusiasts in New Mexico, Arizona and New York, but she does not use the Internet to promote or sell her art.

“I’m old fashioned and actually I know how to use it a little bit, but I’m not going to because I’ve heard too many scary stories about it. I really don’t need to because word of mouth comes through,” Umland said.

Don Falls, a Tucumcari resident who said he has spent his retirement refurbishing buildings and making furniture, talked about the building next door to Art Space. He said he remodeled the building to serve as classrooms for art lessons, though the building has not yet hosted a successful class. He said he hopes the rooms will be put to good use in the future.

“It’s a very nice room. It got a little bit of a start and then folded,” Falls said.

Barbara Bonnaeu, a retiree who moved to Tucumcari from Ashville, N.C. five years ago, displayed some of her artwork with pastels and acrylics for the first time at Sunday’s show. She said she began painting when taking lessons from Doug and Sharon Quarles a few years ago.

“I didn’t know anything about anything,” Bonneau said. “They’re very patient with beginners.”

Jessie Robinson, who volunteers for the Quay Council of Arts and Humanities and has painted for the past 30 years, had some of her nature paintings on display at the event. She said her organization is trying to make a fresh start.

“We need volunteers to help hold fundraisers and stuff like that. We went through some growing pains, or lack thereof, and it’s in the process of reorganization,” Robinson said. “The problem is being able to keep it open on a daily basis. People are going to have to volunteer because we just don’t have the funds.”

Robinson said the Quay County Art League conducts monthly meetings and workshops for its members. The cost of membership is $5 per year.

Jimmie Joe Jester, a Quay Valley farmer and rancher who said his family has lived in the area since 1907, recited a poem at the art show about his criteria for a suitable cowgirl.

“No, she don’t have to be all that smart. You all know well I ain’t. She don’t have to be a model or she don’t have to be a saint. She don’t even have to cook that good. Being single, I’ve learned how,

just as long as while I’m turning steaks she can go milk a cow,” Jester said.

Jester said he has written poems since 1980 and has more than 300 individual poems under his belt. He brought copies of one of his poetry books and an audio CD of poems he recorded in a Clovis studio to sell at the show. He said he usually sells his CDs out of his pickup truck.

Jester talked about how he creates his poetry.

“I just set on a tractor and write one. It’s just going around in my head and when I get home I write ‘er down. The ending is the worst part of it. You can always start one, but getting the ending part is the worst part of it. You just write about three or four (endings) and you pick the best one,” Jester said.