A Portrait of the Artists

Article excerpt

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. "-Henry Ward Beecher, clergyman, newspaper editor, and abolitionist (1813-1887)

Martha Cowden, Geraldyne Taylor, Cherie Albert, Sally Harris, and Jack R. Howard, Jr., are among those artists who incorporate their own nature into their paintings, clay pieces, or mixed media. All are from Ohio, all have disabilities, and all have exhibited their artwork in Accessible Expressions Ohio.

Martha Cowden of Oakwood took first place with her pottery in the 1997 show. Her style is unique; she creates glazed clay pots with jute fibers woven into the rim in a Native American basketry technique. Cowden, who is legally blind, has been producing clay sculpture for "a long time" and shows her work in local galleries.

"Working with my hands has always been a part of my life - ever since I was a little girl," Cowden said, with her black Labrador guide dog, Boomer, at her side. "As my eyesight has decreased, I've had to change from working with things I can see to working with things I can feel."

Geraldyne Taylor of Dayton creates Native American dream catchers with symbols of nature woven into them. She also has a lifelong seizure disorder. Although her designs didn't win any honors, she was glad to participate in the 1997 show. "This gives us a chance to open the door and be with other people, no matter what their disabilities are. Here, you see all walks of life." Danville resident Cherie Albert captured second place for her painting titled "Twelfth Window" and honorable mention for another called "Nidification." She's legally blind, although she can see colors when she paints. With one arm on her escort's arm, Albert said, "I've been painting for so long I can't remember when I started. Why do I paint? Well, you really have to get up and do something creative, even if you have a disability like I do. …