More than 20 students put their artwork on display at the Alice campus of Coastal Bend College Thursday for visitors and fellow students to enjoy in the campus's art show.
“They chose their best artwork to put up to show,” CBC art instructor Jan West said.
The students, 26 in all, are in West's Watercolor I and II classes. They began the semester painting landscapes before moving on to flowers.
“After flowers, they could do whatever they liked,” West said. “We have landscapes, we have idols, we have logos and some personal paintings.”
Two standout personal paintings on display belonged to two Alice residents, Rickey Saenz and Chris Estrada.
“These two guys just draw and paint,” West said. “They don't look at anything, they don't reference anything except their head. And they're really, really creative.”
Rickey said he took art classes while at Alice High School.
“I did all three arts,” he said. “Art I, Art II and AP.”
In Rickey's painting, a figure in a mask looks out at the viewer while blue balloons tied to his hands display a series of conflicting emotions. In the background, a green face with huge bloodshot eyes stares out as a paintbrush, hanging freely in the air, finishes the painting.
“It's an inspiration of a lot of music that I listen to,” Rickey said. “It shows kind of how a paintbrush can paint out past emotions.”
Rickey said he listened to music from The Octopus Project, an Austin-based electronica band, while he painted. He said a lot of his artwork features a disoriented human body, which he said he finds amusing.
“Things like that, like the eyeball, just really fascinate me,” he said. “If you look at all of my paintings, you'll see an eyeball somewhere. The human body just inspires me. You can disorient anything, you know? Anything that comes up in your mind.”
Chris said his painting began as a landscape, but then changed into something more abstract.
“After that, it just kind of went everywhere,” he said. “It just got to the point where I wondered what I could do with my brush because this was the first time I had ever watercolored.”
Looking at the painting, the viewer can make out some objects such as an animal-like face and a whale swimming along the bottom, but when Chris looks at it, he says he can still see a landscape.
“Yeah, like right here I can still see the sun and the ocean and clouds,” he said. “You can still see elements, but then it's kind of like whatever I was feeling at the time.”
For Chris, the class was the first time he had ever taken an art class. He said he always wanted to be an artist, but never had a chance to take an art class while in high school.
“So I barely have the choice to be in it now,” he said. “I said, 'This is for me.'”
Chris said his technique consists mainly of sketching, which he said is why there is a lot of detail in his work, but he said he prefers just painting.
“I don't have a lot of structure in what I do,” he said.