, Muskogee, OK

March 14, 2013

Artist says she’s been creating her whole life

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Liz Wells-Nelson, a retired dental technician, said she has been interested in anything to do with creating for her entire life.

“I was born and raised in Muskogee,” she said. “I graduated from Central High School in 1959, and I received the art award that year. That was the highlight of my life.”

As a child, Wells hated it when her parents bought her coloring books or paint by number sets. She would always color outside the lines. As she got older, she replaced those coloring books with canvas, and now she paints landscapes and animals, but her favorite thing to paint is flowers.

Wells-Nelson is a member of the Artists of the High Desert Guild and the Muskogee Art Guild, and the featured artist for the months of March and April. There will be a reception for her and 15 other artists at the Art Guild from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Wells-Nelson said she doesn’t have a degree in art, but has taken classes at the Philbrook Art Institute in Tulsa as well as art classes at San Bernardino Valley College and Victor Valley College in California.

“I like to paint from memory and gut feeling,” Wells-Nelson said. “I also love painting in a group with people here at the guild. They are all so encouraging, and offer very helpful criticisms. When I came back to Muskogee, I immediately joined them. Everyone here is wonderful.”

In addition to selling her paintings at the reception, Wells-Nelson and the Art Guild will be raffling off one of her paintings of a Common Red Poppy. The painting is similar to the one she is creating for the 2013 Azalea Parade banner. After that, Wells said she will busily prepare for the upcoming Muskogee Art Show at Arrowhead Mall.

“I’m going to enter three paintings in the show,” she said.

Wells-Nelson also enjoys teaching students and beginners. She also always encourages them to submit what they’ve done to contests and art shows.

“It’s really neat when you’re teaching someone to see them light up and suddenly understand what you’ve told them,” Wells-Nelson said. “I like to use oil and acrylic paints, but I also do watercolor paintings. I feel like you can be more realistic with oils.”

She has even created relief art by molding dental plaster, then carving it and painting it.

Wells-Nelson is the gallery manager for the Muskogee Art guild, and said she wanted to invite everyone out to the guild to enjoy the artwork for sale by local artists.

“We are open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” she said. “We also offer classes in the evening for those who work, and they take place every other Monday.”

If you go

WHAT: Reception for Liz Wells-Nelson and other artists.

WHERE: Muskogee Art Guild, 315 Court Street.

WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday.