Gallery Favorites: Our 12 Calendar Featured Artists and Why We Chose Them

A year's worth of artists

Article by Abigail Miller, Gallery Manager, SouthWind Art Gallery

It certainly was difficult to narrow down a year's worth of artists to a pool of only twelve for the gallery calendar, but the dozen who were included in our 2020 calendar are some of our favorites!

"We Called Her January" by Cally Krallman

"Regional art plays an important role in American history.  I feel it not only records our place in time, but it is a window for others to see the ordinary in a not so ordinary way.  I try to share that in each painting I create."  - Cally Krallman

Our first artist is definitely a gallery favorite, and her piece "We Called Her January" was also chosen by our audience as the calendar's cover. 

Cally Krallman is a Topeka-based artist with a BFA from Washburn University. Cally is a strong advocate for regionalist art, and her works are stunning examples of the genre. Her talent as a painter goes a long way to capture the subtle charm of the Kansas landscape.

At SouthWind Art Gallery, we try to highlight the Kansas landscape and represent top local and regional talent. 

Cally was an obvious choice for the calendar, and her work has been featured in a number of publications including Wagon Trails Magazine, Plein Air Magazine, Kansas Magazine, American Art Collector Magazine, Topeka Magazine and also in the PBS special "Portrait of a Landscape, the Flint Hills."

February: Jean Terry

Artist Jean Terry in the Studio

"Best Dressed" by Jean Terry

We felt it was important to include artists working in medias outside of oil on canvas, and there are few pastel painters in Kansas as talented as Jean Terry.

Artist Jean Terry has been quietly working on pastel paintings in Kansas for several decades. Growing up in upstate New York on her family's vegetable farm gave her a great love for the land and wildlife. Jean moved to Kansas in 1978, and took up painting and studying art full time in 1995.  

Her detailed pastels are fantastic examples of the talent she cultivated for many years, and her love of capturing rural scenery is an important addition to the art we showcase at the gallery.

Jean has a wonderful way of capturing wildlife as well, with some of the best winter cardinal paintings we've ever seen. We think "Best Dressed" is a great fit for the February spot in the calendar!

"Prairie Fire Drama" by Deb Schroer

Artist Deb Schroer with painting

Artist Deb Schroer has an eye for color. The artist typically begins painting en plein air, capturing the light and mood of a place firsthand. Deb Schroer often painted outdoors with the late Judith Mackey of Cottonwood Falls, and has a similarly serene quality to her paintings.

Deb Schroer has put down deep roots in the beautiful and unique topography of the Flint Hills. She lives and works in the area in Strong City, KS. The artist's paintings capture the natural beauty of the Flint Hills landscape, the excitement of the American rodeo, and poignant moments in the everyday lives of people and animals. 

With her broad understanding of color, Deb Schroer produces an incredibly rich pallet that gives her work immense depth and feeling. Her love of the Flint Hills of Kansas and its people is interpreted through her paintings. 

Schroer has garnered many awards for her work. Her painting, “Drama at Sunset,” was chosen as the winner of the 2010 Symphony in the Flint Hills Commemorative Print Competition. She received the First Place Award and an Honorable Mention for her paintings entered in the 2010 Ted Ensley Gardens Plein Air Art Competition. Other awards include First Place at the Stems Plein Air Event and Juror’s Choice Award given by Paint the Parks 2007, a nationally touring art competition that draws nearly a thousand entries annually. 

Artist Jessie Rasche next to her artwork

"Spring Wildflowers" by Jessie Rasche

"I love painting light and form, and am not as concerned about subject matter."

South Dakota based Jessie Rasche is a rising talent in the midwest art world. Jessie's pieces are painterly interpretations of the rural landscape. We love how her style is inspired by the school of impressionism.

Jessie has had a very eclectic career, beginning with a BFA in psychology and later working in creative fields such as textbook illustration and animation.

Her artistic career began thanks to her mentor and prolific printmaker Gorden Gilkey, and her passion for art bloomed thanks to his passion for prints.

Jessie is constantly inspired by both the land and mundane objects, working to capture the light and shadows rather than details. SouthWind Art Gallery is proud to host a solo show of Jessie's work in March of 2020.

"Red and White Peonies" by Diane Lawrence

"My focus as an artist has always been color. Nature always inspires me with its many surprises of color and pattern."

Most people can't guess the media for Diane's piece, "Red and White Peonies." It often gets mistaken for watercolor, but the above painting is actually dye on silk.

As one of the top silk painters in the region, artist Diane Lawrence's works are examples of fine art and even finer control. Artist Diane Lawrence of Berryton, KS is a prolific artist and art instructor who creates radiant florals and landscapes in both silk and watercolor.

Silk painting is a difficult media to work in, but Diane Lawrence uses several techniques to blend and maintain edges in her incredibly detailed work. The above piece is one of our favorites from Diane. It was chosen for the calendar because of its stunning detail and radiant color. It's truly a wonder to see it in person, where the viewer can experience how the silk shimmers in the light.

Along with being a talented silk painter, Diane is also a prolific art instructor. She teaches a number of workshops for both watercolor and silk painting, and her classes are often fully booked.

Diane has won a number of awards for her artwork including several Patron Purchase Awards from the Kansas Watercolor Exhibition at the Wichita Center for the Arts, the Springfield Art Museum, and the Mountain Plains Art Fair, and 1st Place at a Silk Painters International Exhibition in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Artist Mary Binford Miller

"Best Friend" by Mary Binford Miller

A  native of Liberal, Kansas, artist Mary Binford Miller earned her BFA from Kansas State University and spent 17 years in commercial art as a fashion illustrator and graphic designer. During those years, she also painted commissioned portraits and figurative work.

Mary is a master of light, creating works in paint that feel like they're a window to a sunlit afternoon. Her work "Best Friend" is a great example of this, and its warmth is a perfect fit for the June spot in our calendar.

We're great admirers of Mary's paintings at the gallery. Her work has great technical proficiency. Whether the artist is painting portraits of people or animals or in wonderfully vibrant florals, her work exudes a very painterly quality.

Mary has exhibited in the Heartland Regional and National Exhibitions, the Kansas Academy of Oil Painters regional exhibitions, the Wichita National Small Oils Exhibition, and the Oil Painters of America National Exhibition. Mary is also a member of Oil Painters of America, and Has even served as the president of the Kansas Academy of Oil Painters.

"The Boss" by Zak Barnes

Artist Zak Barnes working on a plein air piece

We represent a lot of very serious, traditional painters at the gallery, but Zak Barnes certainly isn't one of them.

Zak Barnes of Lawrence, Kansas is a well-known folk artist, surrealist painter, as well as working on plein air landscapes. In the studio, his works are often a bizarre combination of people, animals, and objects, but each painting weaves complicated narratives often only known to the artist. 

His plein air works are simple interpretations of the Kansas landscape, completed in his signature loose style.

Chosen for July, "The Boss" is one of his large studio works, and the painting a rather tame version of his typical surrealist pieces. The painting certainly captures the feeling of a hot summer afternoon in Kansas, as well as the spirit of independence, both perfect for July.

Zak's studio paintings are great conversation pieces for all kinds of art collectors, and the contemporary pieces are always welcome additions to the gallery.

Artist Michael Duane at work

"Afternoon Glow" by Michael Duane

"Having been born in Kansas, I live and work in a state where the weather can change quickly from sunshine and cool breeze to ominous clouds and howling winds."

The second pastelist to be featured in the calendar, Michael Duane is another mid-career artist who has established an entirely unique and surreal style.

Michael's paintings are beautiful, soft renditions of the Kansas landscape, but his ultimate goal is capturing Kansas's only vertical feature: the sky.

With the slogan "Storm On!", Michael Duane is a bit of a storm chaser. Kansas is the perfect place for him to explore both his love of art and severe weather. 

Chosen for August, Duane's piece "Afternoon Glow" captures a distant storm brewing shortly before sunset. The painting has a late summer feel in Kansas, when it's common for storm clouds to appear on the horizon. The sweeping motions the artist uses in the land, plus his vivid colors make Michael Duane's paintings a favorite at the gallery.

Michael Duane is a Master Pastelist with the MidAmerica Pastel Society. Michael Duane was a featured artist in KANSAS! Magazine, and his work was on the cover in 2017. His paintings have also won a number of awards, the most recent of which being Best of Show at 2019's Symphony in the Flint Hills. Other awards include 3rd place at Pastel National 2012, Award of Merit at Visions of the Flint Hills, 3rd Place at the Heartland Artist Exhibit, and the Jack Richeson Award at the Pastel Society of America National Open Exhibition.

September: Susan Rose

"Lincoln's Oasis" by Susan Rose

Artist Susan Rose

"My drawings and paintings are inspired by the beauty of the prairie, the sky and the creatures that call it home.  I like to think of the natural world around me as "God's Canvas", and I am challenged to attempt to capture in essence what I observe on this "canvas" with others in my art."

Artist Susan Rose is a very spiritual painter, her goal to capture the vitality of the land and sky with paint and canvas.

Her works almost always feature small creatures, and her piece "Lincoln's Oasis" is no exception. Chosen for September, the work captures the stunning transition in seasons which happens in early autumn. The vibrant greens and yellows are just half the excitement of the painting, but our favorite part is the complicated tangle of branches which hide three small birds!

Susan's other works often reach for the skies, and her borderless portraits of the land are even more impressive when she captures boundless expanses of clouds. Fans of her work often comment that Susan's paintings continue beyond canvas edges, her expressive, sweeping brushstrokes creating the illusion.

Susan Rose is a member of local Wamego artists association, The Columbian Artist Group, the National Oil and Acrylic Painter's Association (NOAPS) and a Signature Member of the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society.  Susan's work has been in numerous juried shows, and is in several private collections. Publications include SouthWind Art Gallery's "State of the Art- Kansas", based on work in the Kansas 150 Show, and "Topeka: A Great Arts Town", featuring work from the Paint Topeka event. Susan was also featured in the Flint Hills Discovery Center's "Through the Artist's Eyes" exhibit.

October: Stan Herd

Artist Stan Herd unveiling his design "Young Woman of China" for an earthwork installation in Southwest China 

Stan Herd's "Williamsburg" Painting

As one of Kansas's most famous living artists, Stan Herd of Lawrence was an obvious choice for the calendar.

His largest work at the gallery, "Williamsburg," is a good example of his impasto landscape series. The paintings he works on are always textured and full of movement, and usually done in a darker palette. With mostly dull colors, adding just one or two vivid colors saves the impact of them, like the tiny bit of orange sky in the piece, bursting behind the clouds.

Stan Herd's more unique series, his "earthworks," are what have given the artist international notoriety. Working with natural materials such as stones, plants and soil, Herd carefully arranges them into a highly detailed image. While the finished works are best appreciated from the air, Stan completes each of his designs while firmly on the ground.

The artist has created his colossal earthworks all over the world. They can be found in Kansas as well as Brazil, England, Cuba, China, Australia and other parts of the United States. 

Stan began work on "Young Woman of China," earlier this year, but it took over 15 trips to the country and several months worth of work to complete the project. It was created on a hillside in the Yunnan Province of Southwest China and is 500 feet long by 400 feet wide, or about the size of four football fields. 

Photos of his work have appeared in national publications including Smithsonian, National Geographic, People Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He has been featured on Sunday Morning, Good Morning America and NPR’s All Things Considered. He is the author of the book, “Crop Art and Other Works”, which is a chronicle of his early work.

November: Louis Copt

"Fall Reflections" by Louis Copt

Artist Louis Copt in front his Kansas Barn series

Bright and peaceful may not be typical words to describe November, but Louis Copt's work "Fall Reflections" makes scenery from a mostly barren month feel lively.

The water and sky are probably the first features to notice in the work, but the scattered evergreens, the small field stubble, and the sunlit grass are all interesting elements in the landscape.

Louis Copt was born in Emporia, Kansas, and was raised on a farm in the area. He later graduated from Emporia State University in 1971 with a degree in art and began his career as a full-time artist in 1985, after returning from a summer of study at the Art Students League in New York City. 

He has worked with some of Kansas’ most notable artists including Jim Brothers, Robert Sudlow, Robert Green, Robert Brawley and Stan Herd. 

Louis’ current work focuses on the prairie in just about every season, but particularly the annual spring burn-off in the Flint Hills. He is fascinated by the challenge of capturing the force of nature as the fires race across the prairie renewing the landscape for yet another season. 

In 2016, Louis was the featured artist in the Lawrence Arts Center’s Annual Benefit Auction. His one-person exhibition showcased a series of new works featuring contemporary paintings and cast glass sculptures of Kansas barns. 

Louis’ work has been featured three times in The Artist’s Magazine, and three times he has won its award for Top Finalist in the Landscape Division. He has also been featured in American Artist Magazine. His work has also been featured in the scholarly publication American Art Review. 

In 2011, he was named Kansas Governor’s Artist.

December: Hugh Greer

Hugh Greer with his Wichita Series prints

"Road to Starry Sky" by Hugh Greer

One could make the argument that we saved the best for last by featuring artist Hugh Greer with the calendar's final spot, but really we could think of no better image for the stillness of December than the artist's "Road to Starry Sky."

Working the architecture field in Wichita, KS for over forty years lends Hugh Greer a steady hand, and almost all of his paintings showcase this talent with detailed architecture. At the same time, Greer has a true artist's sense of composition, lighting, and color. The above piece features an incredibly detailed miniature house –complete with windows only 1/8th of an inch across– while in the same painting, there's a colorful and almost abstract milky way.

Hugh graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and worked over forty years in the architectural field in Wichita Kansas, where he still resides. Many of Hugh's paintings reflect his formal training as an architectural delineator, often incorporating various structures such as homes and/or barns etc. into his landscapes. He has a keen eye for composition and color and his landscapes are both nostalgic in their purity and realistic in their execution. Hugh is an artist who paints in a style that is easy for people of all ages to relate to and appreciate.

The artist has received countless awards for his paintings, including Best of Show in the Kansas Watercolor Society National Exhibition 2012, First Place Award from the Missouri Watercolor Society's National Members' Invitational, an "Award of Excellence" (Best of Show) from the Watercolor Missouri National, and is the only artist to win the Grand Prize in both the Top-100 and the Mini-100 from Arts for the Parks. 

Hugh Greer is also the author of two books, Hugh Greer Missouri to New Mexico and Acrylic Landscape Painting Techniques.