Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

CJ Extra Q & A:

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

CJ Extra Q & A:

Article excerpt

It may not be good art, but it's hers.

That's the motto of a Topeka painter that will be presenting her art on first Fridays for the first time in August, although her work has been featured in two area art shows.

When Linda Henson, who has been painting for about three years, was in high school she was told she was wasting her art teacher's time. Despite receiving A's and Bs on most of her work, the native Topekan said the comment stuck with her and she didn't try her hand at art again for decades. When Henson did pick up a paint brush again at the urging of a friend, she says she discovered she liked the freeing feeling that came with expressing herself with oils and watercolors, and has kept at it.

The theme of the August First Friday Artwalk is "Life with Dogs" and Henson and a group of ladies she paints with will be displaying and selling portraits of dogs. The portraits are based off photos of dogs that are or have been at the Helping Hands Humane Society that the shelter sent them. Money from the sales will be donated to the humane society.

Together Ronnie Groves, Carolyn Johnson, Phyllis Scott and Florence Montgomery and Henson will have about 10 paintings and prints, about half being for sale, at the artwalk at Fairlawn Plaza on Aug. 7. From about 5 to 8 p.m. the group will be set up near the entrance of the mall.

With about a half-dozen paintings covering her fireplace mantel, and Pete, an 8-year-old Havanese, and Sparky, an 8-year-old bichon frise, at her feet, Henson sat down with The Capital-Journal to talk about art and dogs.

Q: What do you hope people take away from the showing?

Henson: Two things: I'd like people to come away with the thought that if I could paint, they could paint. That if I can see the beauty, they can too. That we all have a talent or a gift or a vision or whatever and sometimes it's just waiting for that nudge to come out. I want them to see my story as a push to try something new because that's really what it's all about, trying something new outside your own boundaries.

The other thing is I'd like them to look at the shelter dogs as ... you think of portraits and for me I think of the portrait gallery in Washington and you have these great people and these inspiring people and pedigreed people and so I'm hoping with the portraits of the dog people come away and see just how majestic and pedigreed these dogs can be. People think of shelter dogs and they think of mutts and I'm hoping instead they'll look at the shelter dogs and is these wonderful animals that are just waiting for them; waiting on a friend.

Q: Did you visit the dogs before painting their portraits?

Henson: My initial visit I walked through. I can get really attached to my paintings and I thought, 'I don't need to be attached to an animal too, you know? …

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