Panola College to host Sonja Howard art exhibit 'Do You See What I See?'

“Do You See What I See?” runs Oct. 14 through Nov. 8 at the M.P. Baker Library.

The M.P. Baker Library at Panola College will host an exhibit of artwork by Sonja Howard Oct. 14 through Nov. 8 in the Fay Allison Gallery.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 2:30 p.m.

Sonja Howard was born in East Texas. Having grown up in a small town, she developed her love of nature, art and the outdoors. Throughout her life, Sonja has always been interested in art and admired how the various styles, mediums and techniques used by artists can help to open the eyes of others.

She was originally drawn to oil painting, but then began to branch out into other areas, such as watercolor, acrylic, ink, charcoal and colored pencil. Her artistic influences began in grade school, where she was told there would be very little opportunity for her to improve her talent in the arts. This only increased her desire to prove the doubters wrong, which she has done.

In retirement, Howard began developing the many options available to her using the different painting mediums and advancing her skills by painting still life, landscapes and portraits. (Many of these have been sold in Houston). She has in recent years studied under various artists, including Gaye Sekula in New Braunfels, Tommy Thompson and Patty Lowrie in Port Lavaca, and Amanda Clements at Panola College. She also studies other artists’ works and continues to attend workshops to learn new techniques.

Under Gaye Sekula she was introduced to color theory and impressionistic oil painting. Sonja continues to attend workshops of Gaye’s when possible. Her favorite workshop was in Taos, New Mexico, where she painted the beautiful red hills made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe. These oils were all done en plein air.

While living in Port Lavaca, she belonged to the Port Lavaca Art League, receiving several ribbons at their Spring Art Show: Judge’s Choice, Best of Class and First Place. Her winning entry was “Beyond the Dunes,” an oil seascape.

Howard’s time in Clayton, although short, has proven to be very productive for her. She now has her own studio and was fortunate to attend Panola College and study drawing under Professor Amanda Clements. Recently she joined the Marshall Art League, and she paints and sketches with the league’s live portrait and still life groups. Howard enjoys every minute she spends in her studio, where she can paint anything she wishes on any given day. Her paintings are admired by all who see them. Some of her favorite moments include searching resale shops for old frames to refurbish for her paintings, and most of all, meeting other artists — some of whom become close lifelong friends.

When in retirement, Howard started studying art and soon realized that no two people see things the same. Our understanding of what we see is influenced by our life experiences, the value we place on details and especially the emotion we feel at the time of observation. This began Howard’s search of different mediums, styles, techniques and subject matter.

Howard’s exhibit includes something for everyone: oil, colored pencil, watercolor and acrylic mediums, and subjects ranging from landscapes and seascapes, to still life and portraits.

Howard’s desire as an artist is to paint something that has feeling and soul for the viewer.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public during the library’s operating hours Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 4 to 9 p.m. For additional information, please call (903) 693-2052 or email library@panola.edu.