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Arlen the bottle man and the joys of a small town

Some days I really miss Arlen McMillan.  Years back, Arlen was always walking through downtown Waxahachie.  We became friends and he would stop, rest, get a cold drink, or share lunch with us.  He grew up in Waxahachie and lived in the family home on the east side of town..  Arlen made a meager living digging and selling bottles.  He had no electricity or running water.  He lived a simple life and was a happy fella, except for the occasional troubled teenagers stealing from him. We were always inspired by his choice of simple yet happy living. I know there were comforts he may have desired, but what he lacked, he made up for in the joys of discovery.  One day Arlen visited and brought us a beautiful hand colored military photo of his Father.  He said he wanted us to keep it for safe keeping, but we knew it was a treasured gift to us for he never mentioned it again.  We have the most beautiful huge tretagonal amethyst crystal he brought us which he dug up from the creek running through Waxahachie.  Years later after Arlen's visits became less frequent as he aged and then stopped all together,  I looked up the crystal and it's power.  Supposed to bring the best of luck.  Thank you Arlen.
We treasure the memory of your friendship and your inspiration to keep it simple and  find happiness in discovery.

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Lucy and Ethel or Esther and Julie.....

Esther is coming to town soon and she and I will be doing a back and forth song and dance sort of thing at the Amon Carter Museum of Art in Fort Worth on the evening of Thursday, February 25th. We are gonna show some pictures and talk back and forth about art, inspirations, personal histories, and flying saucers.
We met Esther and her husband Mark about 10-15+ years ago.....and we just love and admire them so much.  They have a can do attitude and go getter drive that just does not stop.  I can not imagine anything they can't accomplish.   They are living more than 24 hour days and still seem to master working to live and not living to work.  They both are inspirations to me every day. In thinking about asking Esther questions, it is hard to know where to start and how far I can take it within our 45 minutes time slot. She and I never have any trouble talking and laughing.  Should be a good time....

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Happy New Year and Lordie what a year it will be!!

We start 2016 excited about so many things.  Obviously i got caught up in life and it's goings ons from about mid-August through the end of last year and have not taken time to spit out any wisdoms.  
This past year we started working with several new artists whom we are really excited about in 2016 - Rich Cali (above image) is such an amazing fella - go getter.  We love his spirit, the way he looks at things, his easy going personality, his beautiful rendering talent & style, and his sweet wife Autumn. Julie Murphy is another fun, tango loving, great sense of humor gal who we met through Martha Rich & Esther Pearl Watson.  Her drawings of made up TV shows and other worlds make us smile and belong part of Webb Gallery.  Robert Adale Davis creates these obsessive sewn pieces which make beautiful tactile sculptures of clothing and mandalas from found thread and found objects.  Along with the art of other artists whom are already part of the Webb Gallery family, our nearly daily finds of antique elements, a few artists we will be introducing this year and the release of Bruce Lee & Lynne Adele's book launches our year off rocket style - full speed ahead.
Look for us at the Outsider Art Fair this January, plan to come see our fraternal exhibit prior to Feb 14th and put our next exhibit opening Feb 28th on your calendar.  Check out our upcoming exhibits page for more events.  Please join us for the ride.

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BAMBOOZLED

WOOLDRIDGE FIGURES

WOOLDRIDGE FIGURES

We just returned from our annual escape the heat, go see something new, get inspired, and antique hunting trip.  This year we saw many new to us amazing sights.  This being one of them in Mayfield KY.  Colonel Wooldridge had a vision of his tomb and monuments to honor the people and things he loved in the late 1800's.  His marble statue was carved in Italy and the other stone ones all in the US.  His Mother is directly to his side, a carving of him on his favorite horse and sisters are behind him.  His brothers are beside him and his 2 favorite hunting dogs share the space with a deer and a fox.  
We have known about this for quite some time from the famous Hemphill collection book, but finally getting to see it in person was breathtaking.  The love Wooldridge had for his family, pets, and the outdoors is beautiful and the carvings themselves all masterpieces of artwork.  I am so glad this is maintained and is available for view.  
It may have taken us a while to get there, but I see many future returns.

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Everyday Clown Show

Many of you out there know we have 2 boston terriers and many of you have met them.  Daisy and Dexter are two rescues who are our world.  It is a constant clown show around here with them.  Dexter was abandoned at a fancy boarding facility when he was 1 yr. He is the best dog we have ever had and in many ways smarter than us.  We have had him for 6 years now.  Daisy was a breeder and we are certain she made the cutest puppies ever, but when she got heartworms, her owners gave her up.  Through bad food or inbreeding, or both, she hardly has teeth enough to anyone to know how old she is.  Probably about 4-5.  We have had her a couple of years now.  They are so different just like people. I was watching them play today and thought about a dinner party we attended this weekend.  It was thrown by the most thoughtful fun folks who wanted to bring together some of their friends of the "art world".  It ended up being one of the craziest of gatherings of all different folks who all had strong varying opinions and passions.  It was not a sleeper.
Just like Daisy and Dexter to me, life can be an everyday clown show if you let it.

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That time of year and minute of the day

One of my favorite parts of doing what we do is when you get to spread out a bunch of great art and stand with the maker in amazement.  
We are setting off working this week on our new exhibit.  Paintings by Dan Phillips and Rich Cali.  Yes they know each other but i wouldn't say well and it's amazing how their work works so well together.  Like they exist on the same mental wavelength plane whether they knew each other or not.  
For us, we have the benefit of not only knowing their work well, but each of them well too.  Not only do they exist on a visual similar plane, but both have an easy going way of being. Funny how that goes.  We are excited to show their work together and get these two under the same roof.  Definitely worthy of celebration.

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one end to the other

This is our booth at the Outsider Art Fair in NY this weekend.  We have never set up there but have attended as visitors just about every year.  We are excited this year to share Texas and our taste.  I was due to have already been in the city and would have helped Bruce with the install, but was delayed due to the snow storm there this week.  Looks like Bruce did it just fine and totally captured a tiny Webb Gallery in our small booth.  We obviously seek to overwhelm and share in a impactful way.  
So...as it is 75 degrees in Texas, lord knows if i packed correctly for the left over snow, puddles, and really cold weather, but as always....it will be an adventure and damn we love the adventures.

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Starting 2015 with the reasons why we do what we do.....

We took this great portrait of Jimmy Lee Sudduth and Rev BF Perkins at the Kentuck festival about 1990.  Both were such sweet artists who loved what they did and why they did it.  They taught us about why you do what you do and to do what you love.  
We have memories of Jimmy Lee Sudduth and his dog Toto (actually I believe there was a lineage of 3 over the years, but all named Toto).  Jimmy Lee had a smile like no other smile I have ever seen or felt.  It was bigger and brighter than life itself.  He loved to sing and play the harmonica.  He so enjoyed the attention and visits that his art brought him.
Rev BF Perkins was a little more of a reserved man who built a small church in on a beautiful hill. His artwork blended his love and convictions on religion, patriotism, and the state of the world and man. He told us that he had performed the ceremony of marriage for George Jones and Nancy Sepulvado in his church. A fact he was proud of.
Both men wore their pride well and exuded their love for life and their visitors.  
We would drive to see them both often for our dose of realness and positive spirit in human nature, not to mention their sweetness and talents which always amazed us.
We miss them greatly, but they live on with us everyday whether in memories or their artwork.

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2015 in the wings...

For all you who have visited the gallery, you have met these 2 - Daisy and Dexter.  This is how they roll and thus how we roll.  Dexter is bossy and lets his needs be known.  Daisy just wants to be the best dog in the world and get all of the attention.  They are both happy-go-lucky and have the luckiest of a dog's life.
We are have the luckiest of people's lives and we appreciate everything we were brought, given and dealt in 2014.  We are so thankful for the many folks who visited the gallery this year,  kind thoughts and words,  purchases to support us and many artists, new friends, old friends, and the many good times.  
We love what we do everyday and are excited for the many plans we already have in the works for 2015.  Please stay on the bus.

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Big Tex

I look forward to the state fair every year. I usually get a season pass and go a few times slowly make my way through the entire offerings of the year.
I start first with a  visit to the fletcher's corny dogs, a visit to Big Tex and then on to the art and crafts/collections exhibition building. Each year i am amazed what gets included and probably excluded from the exhibits.
One year Bruce and I entered collections...Bruce books and me - a few of my choice vomitclocks (as i refer to those sllghtly hideous resin and rock clocks i collect.  I got a third place ribbon.  I spent the entire fair season trying to locate the first and sceond place clocks.  There was no novelty clock division, simply clocks.  Finally i gave up and emailed the judging department telling them I proudly received third prize, but there was no first or second.  The reply was...."yes, sometimes the judges just do that."  That meaning give me a third because they did not take my clock collection seriously.  Of course this was all back when a collection was 3.  Now you only must enter 2 as a collection.  I have not entered since the 3rd and the collection number rule change, but I have dreamed of paying for every friend i have to enter 2 of my vomitclocks in the clock division.  I still could not be prouder of my displayed every day third ribbon.  

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Catch a breath-

Our Summer here in Texas and afar has been wonderful!  
We seem to travel all of the time for going places, meeting people, seeing things, and collecting stuff is our life.  
We do a couple of huge trip every year primarily to some of favorite places in the East Coast and back in our van filling it with memories and great finds along the way.
We just returned from one of those journeys to upstate NY and the Hudson Valley.
We visited some of our favorite haunts and friends in St. Louis, Columbus, Lilydale, Utica, Hudson, Pomona, and Reading PA.  All stops full of specialness, great finds, and new friends.
This photo is of our old friend Aarne Anton (who has American Primitive Gallery in NY) and the artist Ted Ludwiczak.  We have always loved Ted's stone carved faces and have wanted to meet him for years.  He was no less than we imagined and much more....  We are excited to have brought a few of his pieces back to the gallery to keep his sweet memory with us.

 

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You could say that....

I love this Ike portrait.  We visited Ike last week.  It is always a joy, as ike is a dresser. Always got some style going on with an interesting combo of clothing articles. This day he was wearing red shiny polyester track pants, plaid shirt, this vest from some past hotel clerk, and always a liberal amount of Brut cologne.  We take Ike art supply shopping at the Jerry's Art-a-rama and he is like a kid in a candy store. When we stack up a couple of pads of paper, his reply is "we could get another". If we ask him if he likes something or wants a certain thing his reply is..."you could say that." It is the best in non-commited- won't hurt anyone's feelings comments.

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Heavy Joy

Working on the web site today and adding some info and art about Rev. JL Hunter.  It is important to include Rev Hunter and his work in our list of artists, which I am bit by bit getting up on our site.  But including Rev Hunter is like including the beautiful pearl you found in that best oyster ever on your best vacation.
We met Rev Hunter and his dear wife Ruby back in 1989 through a friend who saw through our taste that we would enjoy them and his art work. He was the first real deal folk artist we had ever met.  Up until that time, we had a junk/antique shop in an old barber shop where we offered all kinds of oddness and handmade objects which we found in our travels.
Rev Hunter's work was a natural fit and we were charged in getting to know and talk to someone who made the kind of stuff we were looking for. Knowing Rev Hunter struck us out in a life and love of life that we will forever hold dear.
Rev. Hunter and Ruby both have long since passed, but their memory holds so much for us in love and example.  When they were living there were many years we would visit them every Monday, take lunch, hear our own condensed version of Rev. Hunter's Sunday sermon, have wonderful discussions, see what Rev. Hunter had been creating, and nearly always purchasing and taking home a piece of his artwork.  
This photo is one I have always loved.  It is from one of their "homecoming" celebrations at their church, True LIght Baptist Church in South Dallas. We were always invited and hosted as some sort of celebrity friends of the Hunters.  It was always a special day where the Hunters showed off their congregation and how they were admired and loved in their church.  In turn they showed us and our love for them off to their congregation.  It was truly a special day overflowing with happiness all the way around.  

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Do your thing...

We got to see our friend, Bill Daniel's "Who is Bozo Texino" documentary last week.  We've known Bill many years, seen the making of this great film, and enjoyed many versions over the years.  Bill is currently on a tour with another friend, musician Ralph White.  Both are a great pair for traveling and doing their thing.  Easy going fellas just doing and enjoying life.  Bill is a photographer first and foremost.  We got to know him years back in the Dallas Punk Rock scene.  He was at every show snapping photos. Years later he lived by the Dallas train tracks and fell in love with train car markings by hobo, tramps, and train workers. He fell hard for the mystery of the makers of the recurring imagery and set out to match maker with marks.  The documentary was and is still a labor of love for Bill.  It is something that will live forever in product, tale, and work.  It's Bill's thing.  I realized as i enjoyed it once again with it's slight changes and altercations that the film is Bill.  
Ralph White is the same kind of musican.  His banjo, guitar, and kalimba songs have a rhythm all their own.  His confidence in playing is spectacular.  The combo is beautiful and fully represents the person and life of Ralph.
We all got to do our own thing.  You can try all sorts of things, but they all filter out in the end and what sticks and lasts is your thing. 

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Never know what the day brings

Saturday started out like most Saturdays for us....a visit to our local famers markets where we buy produce from our friends, talk of the town, and keep Daisy and Dexter wrangled. We opened the gallery at our regular 1 o'clock and had several interesting folks through the door.  Then came our old friend Susie.  She and her husband own a well-known recording studio outside of town and they have supported the gallery for many years.  She brought in friends who were visiting her and by God, it was Ramblin Jack Elliott and his friend Rick. Rick is traveling and road managing Jack on a small tour and his gig in this area feel through, so he was visiting and enjoying the day with Susie.  Susie knows our sensibilities and knew we would enjoy Jack .  
Ramblin Jack had been on our minds many times in the last year....first when we were visiting one of very favorite letter press guys, Dirk Fowler in Lubbock and asked him who he wanted to make a poster for and if he had ever contacted someone just to make them a poster....Ramblin Jack Elliott was the answer.  Then when visiting Tulsa this year we spent time at the Woody Guthrie museum and saw some beautiful photos of Rambling Jack and Woody.  We have talked many times of their friendship and how we would love to have Ramblin Jack perform at the gallery.  Little did we know life would bring us a private performance.  Love life.

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Treat Yourself - Don't Cheat Yourself

Ike Morgan coined this term to us years ago.  I can't tell you how many times we have used or passed the wisdom on to others.  We recently returned from a big buying trip across the Northeast and back.  Howard's in Massachusetts is one of the big examples of how it works.  The choices are many and for a Texan and a 10.99 fresh lobster roll ! Seriously!  So, next time you can't decide which thing to order or which item to buy...get them all.  Treat yourself - don't cheat yourself.

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Great day for Walter Cotton and Texas Folk Art!

We were first introduced to Walter Cotton's work back in 1995.  They were owned by one collector and preserver in Mexia and they hung in his well house and barn.
Walter Cotton was a chauffeur and later the principal of the black school in Mexia.  He painted paintings for the school and his church.  The painting above was a portrait of his Grandfather and one of our favorite of his paintings. The love and admiration shown in this painting is beautiful.
We took the collection on consignment and at that the same time period serving on the advisory board for a self taught art of Texas exhibit - Spirited Journeys - Twentieth Century Self Taught Art in Texas.  We immediately got Walter Cotton's work included in the exhibition and the catalog.  They are beautiful paintings and such great examples of faith and Texas history.  The piece included in the Spirited Journey's exhibit was a huge painting "Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at Stroud Plantation".
We have sold a number of Mr. Cotton's paintings over the years to some great folks and today we are loading up the remaining paintings and delivering them to join the collection at the AFrican American Museum in Dallas.  
We are so happy that Walter Cotton's work can live on and be studied and enjoyed for many years to come there!

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It's not a circus without a big top

Just returned from a much needed get away trip to Marfa, Terlinqua, Big Bend Country, & even some crossing the border into Mexico.  
We  visited our dear old friends in Marfa, Buck and Camp.  Camp is an amazing artist and it is always super fun to see what new thing he is working on.  We have known him quite some time and followed his artwork just as long.  I don't know any other artist who has grown in skill, imagination, and just down right kickass talent like Camp.  We are super happy about the pieces of his art we picked up for the gallery!!  Daisy looks like she loves them too!
Buck is always a joy with her giggle, smile, willingness, and best ambassador to the world qualities.  We usually pick a meal to conquer and cook together.  This one by the queen Marcella Hazan was one of our best....weird orange cake, lamb chops, velvetty tomato sauce with fresh pasta, and roasted endive!
While in Marfa, we stayed at the El Cosmico site in a calgary tent.  It was great weather, super comfy bed, great outdoor showers, interesting friendly folks from all over and Dexter and Daisy  really enjoyed the place. 
One evening Bruce stumbled out of the tent to head to the toilet.  Dexter in his excitement of a new place followed him.  They both groggily returned to the tent area, yet heading to the wrong tent.  Dexter went in and hopped upon the bed waking the surprised couple... but luckily Bruce was awoken by their shreaks and did not hop upon their bed too.  Everywhere we went in Marfa for the next few days we encountered the sweet couple and new friends of Dexter's.  They always had a smile and chuckle for us.

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A people's painter

Today we went to see the David Bates exhibit at the Modern Art Museum in FTW.  It was my 3rd time to see it....twice with glasses on and today with glasses off, as I forgot them.  It didn't seem to make a difference.  My God, that man is a painter!  I thought about it today as David Bates is a people's painter.  His skill and sight are insightful, super well executed and sincere in his chosen subjects.  There is something for everyone in his work.
Each time I visit I have a new favorite, but I can't quit being stunned by the Dark Time piece. The piece is done in mauve tones ( a color i run from) yet it is so dynamic!  And I get an overcoming of verklemptness each time i have hit the Katrina series pieces.
As we ended the last part of the exhibit and his self portraits, there was a group of small tables filled with older folks doing some colored pencil drawings.  We know David and I secretly critic his self portraits each time i hit this room as only two or three really represent the David I know, but today all I wanted to see in that room was what the table full of folks drew and knowing David.....I know he would feel the same.
p.s.  I know this photo has nothing to do with David Bates, but my sweet amazing jewelry making friend Margaret Sullivan was visiting this week and took this portrait of me and Dexter with Daisy in the background asleep in her chair.  If i painted a self portrait this week, I would start here.
 

 

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does fort worth ever cross your mind?

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We were in Fort Worth this Friday and Saturday set up at the Fort Worth Antique and Art Show.  By God it was fun to see old friends, meet new ones, and do some Fort Worth time!  We love Fort Worth!  That city and it's folks have always supported us here in Waxahachie.
Our dear friend let us stay at his place and we spent some time out of the market to try a new restaurant that our friends did the interior....Clay Pigeon.  It's in the old Lambert's space and we loved us some Lamberts, but the new interior is very comfortable..in fact i down right loved the lighting.  The food was lovely.  Our server was slightly slow minded, but we were in no hurry and his dally did not surpass our dilly of good vibes just relaxing in cowtown.
Saturday night brought the good fortune of seeing Mike Stinson, from Houston who i always enjoy.  I was thrilled to share his good music with Bruce and a couple other friends.
That evening a spotted a smiling lady who had the look of half lost and half over-joyed.  I later heard the story of her having been diagnosed with Alzheimers.  She and her husband of obvious many years loved dancing together.  They looked up the evenings music offerings and listened to the bands all day, chosing which one they went out to seek for dancing.  I watched them dance and had never seen two people so happy to hold each other and sway to the beat.  Once out of just sheer love of music and dancing and the other out of love for his lady.  
 

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