Painting Club welcomes famous artist

Lee Asbell

The last time American master painter Laurence Sisson did a public demonstration was at the 1964 World’s Fair. For the first time during that era, people saw a talented painter at work producing a luminous watercolor landscape as the RCA Company introduced color television to the world.

On February 20, 2015, for the first time in just over fifty years, Laurence “Lonny” Sisson sat down at a table as more than thirty people gathered to listen and watch him work in public. In those intervening years, Lonny Sisson became an internationally acclaimed artist of the highest caliber. The Quail Creek Fine Arts Painting Club was honored to host this true American master.

During his long, prestigious career Lonny Sisson traveled the country and the world. He was elected to the American Watercolor Society at the age of 23, the youngest member ever chosen at that time. His works have been widely exhibited in museums, universities and galleries for nearly sixty five years. He still paints every day.

Would you expect that a world renowned artist would choose the simplest, least expensive tools to work with? Lonny showed the group his hardware store brushes, plastic water bowls, tissues, natural sponges and an old time heavy medical instrument tray that is his favorite palette. His only splurge on supplies was high quality watercolor paper.

And his advice for artists?

“Have fun. Be willing to fail. Experiment.”

During the nearly two hours Lonny and his wife Judy spent with the painting club we learned, laughed and thoroughly enjoyed the time together. Quail Creek residents should be proud to welcome this wonderful couple as new residents in the community. At the end of the demo, Lonny presented the club with the two paintings he did, along with a book from one of his shows. He dedicated the book to painting club President Debbie O’Rourke.

For those who wonder how this last minute special opportunity came to pass, you can thank Laurence and Judy Sisson who just happened to be wandering the halls of the new Creative Arts and Technology Center the day before. They stumbled on a beginning oil painting class. Club Vice President Steve Piepmeier recognized Mr. Sisson right away from his many years in the Santa Fe art gallery world. Since Lonny and Judy only had two days left in their Quail Creek stay, a quick plan was made to do the demo the next day.

The two works produced during the Sisson demo were on display for the first time at the Grand Opening of the Creative Arts and Technology Center on February 22. Hundreds of visitors stopped by to take a look.