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Inside the Artist’s Studio: Lisa (Frazier) Horlander

And time waits for no one, and it won’t wait for me.

By Derrick White

Lisa-Horlander-2Lately, I have been thinking about time. C.J. Cavanaugh was an art professor for decades. I am impressed with the durability of faculty at Tyler Junior College. Despite low salaries and few remunerations many professors have passion and strive to make positive differences in the lives of students. In my early years working at the college Mr. Cavanaugh had already been employed since the 1960’s. He had been teaching at Tyler Junior College longer than I had been alive. He had served our country in two separate branches of the military and he operated his own sign business (C.J. is responsible for two of the three ‘Welcome to Tyler’ signs). Before he retired there was, however, a generational gap between this teacher and some of his students. Young people would sometimes complain to me that his lectures were not stimulating and were monotonous. They could not understand his terminology, jokes, or analogies. My answer was, “Go out and get a job, any job. And keep that same job for 47 years! Then you can come back and complain you do not like the way he does something.” Professor Cavanaugh had earned his right to be here. He had paid his dues to the college and our local communities before these students’ parents were in Kindergarten. Mr. Cavanaugh had taught his art students, their children, and then, even their grandchildren, as he served East Texas for almost 50 long years. He had a loyalty and a longevity you do not find anymore, and I hope to live long enough to be as monotonous and uninteresting as he was while still showing up for work every day.

Lisa-Horlander-4Time and technology passes everyone. Respect your elders. Like it or not, we are all getting older.

Lisa Frazier (now Lisa Horlander) is a stand out student from my first, early years of teaching at Tyler Junior College. I will confess, I knew her so long as Lisa Frazier it is still somewhat strange for me to use her married name of Horlander, but time marches on. She was our first official art club President when we reestablished the club back in 2002-2003, and she was a selected performance grant scholarship student.

Then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it is about to become 2016! How did this happen?

Lisa, who I remember as a young adventurous art student, is now an adult, young woman, a mother, an art teacher, and a prolific and professional artist. Primarily painting in acrylics and oils on canvas, she also works on anything from shoes to faces. She creates paintings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces made from found objects and trees. I have, fortunately, remained in contact with Lisa over the years, and it has been wonderful watching her career develop.

Lisa-Horlander-6She has become one of the most productive, civically involved, and hardest working artist in Tyler today. When asked about what started her on her creative path and what art has brought to her life she states, “I have constantly created. It’s kind of like breathing, I have to make art. When I was younger, if the opportunity arose to make something, I took it and usually disappeared into my own world, not coming back until I was done. I did not plan on being an artist as a career, but I knew whatever I did, it would be art related.”

Lisa declares the most important thing art has brought to her busy life is a sense of purpose. She knows, if she is able, she will still undoubtedly be creating far into the future – 50 years from now. She might not be painting, but she will be exploring some kind of creative outlet. This idea comforts her and frees her from worrying about where she needs to go in life while letting her plow down her current path with all of her energy.

Discussing the frustrations inevitably associated with art making, Lisa Horlander states, “Staying focused is frustrating. I have too many ideas, and deciding which ones are the best is almost more than I can grasp sometimes. I have had to learn to choose something, and then not look back. There are too many concepts and not enough time.”

Lisa-Horlander-5There is the tricky concept of time again.

Artist Lisa Horlander finds inspiration in having many favorite artists and gains something of value from every artist she meets. Nature is a big stimulation and a guide for her artwork, as well as contemporary British artist Andy Goldsworthy (sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist making site-specific sculptures and land art located in natural and urban situations – imagine discovering a cairn of stacked stones in the woods or an icicle sculpture attached to a tree).
Currently, Lisa Horlander is working on her B.F.A. thesis dealing with capturing the experiences of nature in paint. She states, “My focus and inspiration in my art is to mimic the excitement and beauty of the light, movement, and colors in nature. I am fascinated with how they change and move in windswept leaves, across the ripples of water, and through layers of ice” (which to me all seem linked to the inescapable passage of time). “My paintings and sculptures are not based directly from a picture or object I have seen, but rather the emotions and memory of those collective moments I have experienced,” says Lisa.

Lisa-Horlander-3Lisa earned an Associate’s Degree from Tyler Junior College. She works as a freelance artist and teaches private art lessons. Since her time so long ago in the art department of TJC, Lisa has become a wife to her husband, Ben, who has served our country through the U.S. Marine Corp, and together they are parents of a talented and creative (and quickly growing) son who I would expect to have enrolled in my art courses sometime in the future.
After taking time to work as a self-employed artist, and raise a family, Lisa has returned to school and is currently working on her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Tyler.

Before too long she will probably have my job and will hopefully defend the crazy, old, kook professor who has been teaching there a long, long time.

The time is gone, the song is over.

For more about Lisa Horlander go to



Lauren Pitre: Inside the Artists Studio

ben wheeler

Painting the Town: Lauren Pitre

Derrick White

“I can say without a doubt art has brought me confidence. I always struggled with confidence growing up but it seems after each milestone I pass within my art career I gain more confidence, in particular with my murals,” affirms local artist Lauren Pitre. You may have experienced Lauren’s work even if you were not aware of it at the time. If you’ve been to the Longview Mall, downtown Mineola, The Discovery Science Place in Tyler, or the Lindale Candy Company, you probably noticed her dynamic and engaging murals. Lauren received her Associate’s degree in Art from Tyler Junior College and received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Texas at Tyler, focusing on painting. She prolifically creates beautiful and enchanting still lifes of antiquated objects but during her time at UT Tyler she gained experience in painting murals. Now murals and commissioned portraits are Lauren’s full-time job.

“The Importance of Community Murals” is an online article from the website stating, “From the 30,000-year-old animal murals in France’s Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave to Banksy’s Balloon Girl, murals have been part of our cultural landscape for thousands of years. Community murals are a mode of expression for artists in every graphic style imaginable: abstract, photorealistic, surrealist, expressionist and graffiti, to name just a few. Most recently, murals have become community centerpieces bringing people together to celebrate the heritage and history of their home. They create vibrant neighborhoods people want to visit and live. Murals attract new local businesses, help bring customers to pre-existing locations, and boost the economy of an area. Murals encourage people to slow down and admire your surroundings. Part of slow living involves appreciating our surroundings and their beauty. Murals create important conversations and expand thought. They also act as collective thought spaces. A great example of a dialogue-provoking mural project is American artist Wyland’s Whaling Walls. Over a 30 year period, Wyland painted 100 life-sized whale murals across the globe to help people appreciate our oceans through art.”

Lauren has an excellent painting skill set, creating works quite capable of attracting and holding the viewer’s attention while provoking conversation and thought in her murals as well as her fine art. “My vintage still lifes are mostly painted on wood panels with acrylic paint. I use wood panels so I can get more layers and am able to lightly sand between coats to get a smooth surface I like. Acrylic paint works best with the wood. It dries quick enough to get more layers of detail,” Lauren describes. She adds, “The style of my pieces is realistic with an exaggerated use of color as well as the background behind the objects. Typical objects I choose to depict are old cameras, clocks, books, and radios. As far as commissioned portraits and murals I tend to stick to realism as well, depending on what the subject matter is, along with the look and design of the surrounding area I will use a specific color palette directed towards a particular style.” 

Lauren grew up always drawing people and facial portraits. After she graduated high school she began working at a local Goodwill store. It is there her fascination with distinctive items began to take hold. Lauren explains, “I enjoyed seeing different objects from different decades, mostly old cameras and clocks. One of the Goodwill tasks specific to me was creating displays for end-caps, toppers, and windows and I usually ended up using the older items, to give them a new life. I decided to collect these vintage items and make still lifes of them and paint them. Another one of my jobs was to paint the outside of the windows for holidays and special sales, the more I did them the more elaborate they became. It was then I felt this was where my path as an artist was truly starting.”

Lauren took a mural painting class at UT Tyler with Professor Alexis Serio Hughes: “We planned out and painted one of the exterior walls of the Discovery Science Place in Tyler over the span of one semester. After that semester I was hooked. I spent a later semester working on a mural there at UT Tyler in the Biology building. I was able to come up with a design, color palette, and work schedule, as well as assigning tasks to the three of us working on the mural,” she states. 

After graduating, Lauren was able to start her first large commissioned mural downtown in her own hometown of Mineola. Soon after she completed the mural in Mineola, she was commissioned for multiple murals in towns around East Texas. “As an introverted person, I never really saw myself branching out and doing large projects like city murals, but art has given me the confidence to do things like that. Although art has given me the confidence to branch out and do large projects around our region, it brings problems along with it, like talking to people, in particular groups of people. I can say the path to get my degree in art helped me tremendously in preparing to speak in front of people but I have noticed, as an introvert, it takes a while to get over. However, after speaking in front of crowds a few times I have come to see it gets a little easier each time,” describes Lauren.

Lauren finds inspiration in the work of other artists like Christopher Stott (contemporary still life painter). She states, “He uses a lot of vintage objects in his work and highlights all the formal qualities of the objects I find most interesting, like contrasts in surface texture in vintage cameras and the shadows they produce. He adds non-vintage objects like wooden chairs and pencils in his pieces, which add another element of contrast.” Lauren concludes, “I also have a favorite muralist, Anat Ronen, who does a lot of work throughout the Texas area and surrounding states. She is a massive inspiration to my mural work; keeping up with her and her work pushes me to keep expanding my work throughout East Texas.” 

For more information and to see examples of her work on Instagram, check out: @artbylaurenpitre


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For the Love of Art: Art Events, Classes & Exhibits


Discover your inner artist by taking a fun class ! These are for all ages and all experience levels!

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Robert Langham III: Inside the Artist’s Studio

ben wheeler

Inside the Artist’s Studio:

Four Corners, Robert Langham III

By Derrick White

The Anasazi were Ancestral Puebloans, an ancient Native American culture existing about two thousand years ago in what is now the Four Corners region of the United States (southwestern corner of Colorado, southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, and northwestern New Mexico). They are thought to be the ancestors of later tribes like the Hopi. Religiously, they were polytheistic and had faith in many gods relating to nature (i.e. a rain god, a sun god, as well as good old mother earth). The Anasazi held many of their religious rituals and political meetings in dark or dimly lit underground rooms called kivas. There was a kachina belief. The central theme being an existence of life in all the objects of the universe and everything having a spirit or lifeblood, and that mankind must cooperate with these forces or fail to survive. This is not unlike the ancient Greek belief of daemon creative spirit guides. The Romans later changed the name to genius in the context of someone artistic, who was not thought to be a really intelligent person but rather had found favor with a disembodied essence who would assist with delivering ideas and the execution of the work.

“I’m beset by ideas, swarmed by ideas, hived, hounded. They pop into my head. They arrive on a piece of trash blown down the street or seep from the edge of a shadow. They pursue me in dreams and arrive during conversations, meals, baths, silence, sex, at 72 mph on the highway, they appear. They lurk in trees, closets, boxes, corners, elevators, concrete, dirt, space and in the pocket-lint of my jeans. Seductive or repellent. Arrowing, cascading, collapsing like lost children and salesmen. They fall from the sky, spurt from a shower head in places public and private. They keep no schedule, crowding in without appointment or announcement, elbowing, jostling through the press, caring neither for consciousness nor condition. Oblivious to budget or schedule, 10,000 angelic demons, seeking me, seeking me always,” states local artist Robert Langham III.

Robert comes across as a shrewd and relaxed guy. I can easily imagine him in New Mexico having a deep philosophical conversation or maybe just hanging out and having a beer with Terry Allen (an outlaw, autonomous artist working in a diverse range of media including music, sculpture, painting, and video and who, it is worth mentioning, has a song titled Four Corners). Robert Langham is a fine art and commercial photographer and some of his works are mystic, while others are ghostly and reminiscent of cyanotypes, a photographic process generating a cyan-blue image. His subject matter seems to twirl and move in an unworldly, spiritual way: the blue being there to calm the viewer down, to help quiet the mind while the eyes look and the intellect wonders. Some works involve multiples: pieces of items both organic and man-made, stacked, melting, bundled, bound, attached, or whirled in a tornadic force. Other photographs have animals presented not in their natural habitats but instead in an encounter with mankind. 

Robert achieves these shuffling still-life photographs not with a computer but by using long-established traditional film, camera, and darkroom techniques. He uses big roll film and sheet film in large cameras. He composes visual dances with multiple exposures and controlled trickeries. Robert Langham shows viewers how ability, artistry, and patience are essential to composing filmic captivations. When one views his images, it is easy to believe they too have some sort of kachina – a sense of life in these inanimate objects happening to shift and cavort with an unseen life-force and reminding us of all the connections in our world and objects; or the manipulation of nature, which were at one time human concepts and thoughts, asking how are we to collaborate and persist together.

Langham earned a degree in photography and art from Sam Houston State University. He has taught at both TJC and Sam Houston. What started Robert down the path of becoming an artist was that, in his words, “I was seduced and then betrayed by an older woman,” but art has brought purpose and understanding to his life. He explains, “It is the search for truth, isn’t it? Art becomes the refining of one’s self, the piercing of veils, and the shedding of layers. Art is the way you walk in the world. You soak yourself in your subject matter and then an idea appears, a new idea. Maybe it is a new stupid idea, but it is new. You somehow failure it into the world and all of a sudden, like snapping your fingers, something new exists. It is a miracle. When you look around yourself in the world almost everything you see is not most importantly a physical thing, it was someone’s idea first. I am a little tender and adoring of new human ideas and the sheer adventure and exhilaration of the process. It’s fun.” He adds, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, at first. If you can’t embrace, anticipate, celebrate, and enjoy failure you are going to have a rough time with art.”

Robert Langham III gets inspirations from his daily life and all he encounters. He likes the early work of Man Ray (American visual artist and photographer contributing to both the Dada and Surrealist movements of the early 20th century). Robert advises, “I look at other media besides photography. Never look too much at your own media. If they are good, they drag you off to their lair and eat you. If they are bad, it is a waste of time. Look at something else.” He continues, “My best advice is to find your subject matter and look at it. I look at paintings but mostly enjoy ones not made from photographs. I like paintings from the artists’ imaginations.” Robert visited the recent Claude Monet exhibition at the Kimball Museum of Art in Fort Worth twice and says he got photographic ideas from the show. He states he is crazy about the Anasazi and also likes Inuit and Pompeian art.

I like this idea of the Anasazi of all things and people being connected, and the reverence they had for nature, objects, and our earth. Robert’s photographs of pirouetting feathers remind me of their philosophy and I wish we could all cooperate more with all things, all people, and good old mother earth… and perhaps survive. But sometimes I worry the four corners reference actually comes from Revelation 7:1, “I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree …four angels given the power to harm the land.” 

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