LA VETA- Peggy Zehring, of the La Veta School of the Arts, is this week’s featured artist from the ongoing Museum of Friends Courthouse show.
Zehring and her husband came to Huerfano ten years ago from Seattle via Santa Fe. The full text of her interview is as follows:
1. What brings you to Huerfano County?
When my husband and I were beginning to think about retiring, we had been living in Seattle for 20 years, and we decided to move to Santa Fe for the art scene. We had property there, an architect, builder and even blueprints when we were invited to take care of my brother′s ranch here on the East Peak. After a week on his ranch with visits to La Veta, we decided we′d much rather be here. This area, while just as beautiful as SF, seemed untainted and real compared with the more upscale Santa Fe. La Veta seemed to be moving up while Santa Fe seemed to have already peaked.
2. Were you born here? If not, how long here?
My husband and I were both born in Kansas. I was born in Hutchinson. We′ve now been here 10 years.
3. Is your art production enhanced by living here?
When I was living in Seattle, my studio was near Seattle Center, in a building with 40 or 50 other artists. We shared parking and walls and smells, etc. My commute was horrendous- right through downtown Seattle with the traffic congestion and road rage. Now I walk across my driveway to my studio in the fresh air, with the smell of pine and sage. It′s a dream come true, and I think my art has to reflect the difference.
4. How do you see the environment as a benefit to your art production?
I don′t think I′m more productive here than I was in Seattle, but I feel my art is more connected to me and to the environment here. The earth itself seems more related to my personal aesthetic here than it was in the Northwest. I live 9 miles outside of La Veta on 160 acres. I hike or snowshoe every day. I′m with the animals and plants and I feel like I′m living in paradise. My work has changed in accordance. My colors are brighter and warmer and my textures are more rocky and rugged.
5. Are you associated with other artists in the valley? County? If so, how and why?
I established The La Veta School of the Arts mainly because I knew I wanted to continue teaching art classes and I needed a space that would accommodate my own classes. However, one of the great benefits of running the school is that I get to know all of the artists in the area. I was shocked to find a great number of talented, productive artists here. Many of them don′t want to teach, but many do and many are fabulous teachers as well as artists. It′s always fun and energizing to be with people who share my love of art and who love the process of making art. LVSA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) so we can give scholarships and support the talented children of Huerfano County.
6. How would you describe the type of art you create?
My artworks are considered Mixed Media Collage. I use found objects with lots of wabi sabi ( beautifully aged) characteristics. I use objects that I find anywhere, but I especially love the objects I find here in the Southwest. Even before I was working here, I was shipping wabi sabi objects from Colorado to Seattle. My mediums are whatever I find such as sawdust, marble dust, ashes, spackle, string, yarn, weeds – all held together with acrylic mediums and paint. I have a solo show in New York City that opens Sept. 25 of this year. You can see my work on my website: www.PeggyZehring.com
7. Would you encourage other artists to move here? If so, why?
I believe artists work best in an environment that resonates with them personally. This area is a good place to show, sell and teach your art. One of my long-time students who is also my friend is planning to move here next summer.
To see and learn more about Zehring’s work, go to the Extra! Extra! tab at www.huerfanojournal.com and stop by the courthouse to see the entire exhibit. Her website is www.PeggyZehring.com.