“Connecting the Dots” by Holly Anne Schenk presented by the Liberty Arts Commission is currently being exhibited at the William Jewell College Stocksdale Gallery of Art.
Schenk’s exhibit in Stocksdale contains varying paintings of abstract, objective, traditional and nontraditional form, but her focus on color, as well as formation from dots, is the connective theme of her work.
Schenk uses pointillism in all of her paintings.
“What really connects them all is the dots, the way that they are done and put together,” said Schenk.
Growing up in a small town in Nebraska, Schenk explains that though she loved art, she had very little opportunity to see or learn about it.
“There was nothing to do with art and it was always looked at as being a luxury or a nice hobby, and a ‘but what are you going to do as a living’ sort of thing,” Schenk said.
Schenk also developed a deep love for science growing up and explained that with excellent instruction from her teachers and support from her family, she ended up going to college on the pre-med track. However, during her college years, Schenk was required to take an elective, and she took a drawing class.
Schenk explains that she had never taken an art class previously, but after taking the elective drawing class, she had an immediate gut feeling that this was what she was supposed to do.
“A whole world opened up,” said Schenk.
After the class, Scheck went home to tell her parents that she was changing her major from pre-med to art.
“My parents said ‘well if you change your major, you’ll never amount to anything, so you can pay for college yourself,’” Schenk said. “And I did. I have no regrets.”
After obtaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art education, Scheck has gone on to be an art teacher in both Nebraska and Missouri, the art director at Hallmark for 15 years and established herself as an artist in the Kansas City community.
As an artist, all of Schenk’s work portrays the way she views the world, and her work always begins with a photo. Schenk takes a camera everywhere and takes photos of everything.
“Sometimes I see something and I feel like I have to take a picture, I don’t know why, but then there are days that I want to paint but I don’t know what to paint and I go back through a bunch of images,” says Schenk.
As an artist as well as a teacher, Schenk is an advocate for art education.
“Think of art as a language,” Schenk said. “You wouldn’t tell someone to immediately write a paper in a new language. It’s learned. You teach ABCs, words, sentence structure, grammar and themes. It is exactly the same with learning art. In art, you learn composition, color theory, substrates and you learn what different materials will do. Then when you want to create, you can pull your stuff together and speak your language. There is such opportunity in art education and if kids learn it early, it can be used their whole life.”
“Connecting the Dots” will be at Stocksdale Gallery until Dec. 27.