People like Bob Graham, who drove 17 hours from his home in Charleston, S.C., to Carthage's own Theresa Rankin were among the 32 skilled craftsmen represented Saturday and Sunday at the Midwest Gathering of the Artists Art Show.
The 36th annual art show and auction at Memorial Hall began Friday and ended Sunday. It is produced in cooperation with the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Although Graham is a relative newcomer to the group compared to Rankin, who has been attending the gathering since 2005, he said what he loved most about coming to the event are the people.
In fact, people are the driving force behind his watercolor paintings and graphite drawings.
“I like drawing people and I am so interested in people's stories,” said Graham, who began sketching as a child on the kitchen floor while his mother was making breakfast. “When you get to talking to people, you realize the world is so small.”
Rankin, who does oil paintings, also began artwork at an early age. A native of Hollywood, Calif., she moved to Carthage about 25 years ago.
“When I first moved to the Carthage area, I purposely went to the Midwest Gathering of the Artists when it was at Precious Moments,” she said. “I heard that there were a lot of good artists and I met some people there who really impressed me.
“Eventually I started painting for myself and took some lessons from a local artist. After that, people started buying my work and it went off from there.”
Rankin said she sold her first painting for $2,000. It was an 8 X 10 of a little house on Highway 71.
When it comes to paintings, Rankin said, there is always someone who likes something. She added that she has been so fortunate in her art career, especially through her Carthage connections.
“It is amazing the way people have stood behind me in Carthage and always been so supportive,” she said. “I have never had a town accept me so well as Carthage.”
Robyn Cook, from Pierce City, was among a handful of artists making their first appearance at the gathering.
Cook, who has to find time for her artwork outside a full-time position at Leggett & Platt, specializes in pencil drawings with cowboy themes.
“I get lots of ideas from my husband, who is a cowboy,” she said. “I just love to draw. At first I just did it for fun and, then, I found out that people started liking what I do.”
She began putting her drawings up for sale about seven years ago.
Budgeting time has become a top priority for Cook, a native of Ozark, Mo.
Page 2 of 2 - “An average drawing takes me one to three months to complete,” she said. “I am so busy but I always try to get everything else out of the way so I can do my pencil drawings.”