The Galveston Art League Featured Artist program shines a bright spotlight on creative area residents working in diverse media. Each featured artist will exhibit for one month at a coveted space near the front of the Art League’s Galveston gallery, 2117A Postoffice St., from noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays and during ArtWalk. Ten to 12 works of art, all for sale, are typically displayed. As pieces are purchased, more can be rotated in. (Elsewhere in the gallery, artists may display a maximum of three pieces.)
The July 2018 featured artist is Pat Jakobi, a photographer; Paula G. Freeman, known for collages and acrylic painting, took her turn in June and still has three pieces for sale at the Galveston gallery. Both are Galveston Art League members, a prerequisite for being featured artists.
Their art and backstories are remarkably different.
Jakobi’s key tool is her Pentax K-70 camera. She uses Pentax and Tamron lenses, mainly a Pentax 50mm, a Tamron 28-300mm zoom, and a Tamron macro.
Although proficient with Photoshop Elements software, she largely keeps things real, with computer edits usually limited to the tweaks that were once done in darkrooms: lightening, darkening, cropping, dodging (selectively lightening specific areas), and burning (selectively darkening). “But I like the capability of turning a color photo to black and white or sepia, especially with photos of old buildings and monuments,” says Jakobi, 78.
Her advice to novice photographers: “There is nothing wrong with learning to take a good photo on your cell phone, but don’t stop there. If you buy a camera, get one with a viewfinder if you can afford the extra cost.” Jakobi, who has won firsts, seconds, and honorable mentions at Galveston Art League gallery competitions in Texas City and Galveston, also says to “learn how to use the equipment you have and don’t let the wonder of computer editing lure you until you’re ready for it.”
For Jakobi, photography is a family affair. Her father, Ralph “Jerry” Doyle, was a photographer for the Los Angeles Times, and her son, Dietrich, also knows his way around a camera. She got hooked on the medium in 1975 and is primarily self-taught.
Freeman came to her art more recently, becoming obsessed with collage about 20 years ago at a friend’s card-making party. She uses a variety of materials. “I like texture, so I often use layers of paint and tissue or other paper as an underpainting. When I am on a good spurt, I’ll work several hours a day on three projects at a time. I tend to rush things sometimes, so it is best to have another piece to turn to, which gives the paint, glue, and so on time to dry. I tend to work in series, such as houses, wine, coffee cups, birds. The word that mostly comes up when people describe my work is ‘whimsical.’ ”
She finds tips and ideas in the magazine Rock Paper Scissors and constantly accumulates supplies for her art. “I have many boxes of images and patterns that I use. I can’t resist a Michaels sale,” says Freeman, 60. “I have stamps for stamping and stamps ― postage stamps ― for gluing. I have stencils. I use Yes glue and Liquitex Matte Medium and Mod Podge for adhesives. I mostly use canvases” as the base.
Galveston residents Freeman and Jakobi regularly sell at the Galveston Art League galleries on 6th Street in Texas City and on PosttOffice in their hometown. Both sell elsewhere, too: Freeman at The Marketplace in Galveston (aka the Peanut Butter Warehouse) and Jakobi at the Galveston Island Market, held downtown on the third Saturday of most months, and at the Galveston Bookshop.
Both say Galveston Art League has boosted their artistic development. Freeman explains that “the Galveston Art League Gallery is an excellent venue for people … to exhibit their art and is a way to get involved with artists and the community.” Jakobi believes league membership has helped her art. “I look back a year or so and can definitely see where I’ve improved.”
To learn more about Featured Artist opportunities, visit GalvestonArtLeague.com and click on the “Featured Artist” tab.