Brazosport Art League opens new exhibit, “Animalia: Beyond the Jungle”

Brazosport Art League opens a new exhibit, “Animalia: Beyond the Jungle”, this week in the gallery, featuring more than 100 paintings in various mediums by artist Doug Hiser and more than 20 large wooden carvings by artist Jim Phillips. The show opens Tuesday, February 15 and runs through Saturday, March 19. An opening week reception will be held in the gallery on Friday, February 18 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM.

The majority of Hiser’s art, created with acrylic and watercolor paint, ink and scratchboard, features wildlife from all over the world. From African big cats and elephants to birds and reptiles, Hiser presents his subjects in both bold colors and black and white. The exception to his large collection of animal art is a small corner of colorful superheroes, torn straight from the pages of comic books.

A signature member of Artists for Conservation, Hiser travels the globe seeking inspiration for his craft. He also teaches art, judges art shows, has written 25 books and paints murals, including the Santa Fe Indians Ten Feathers mural at City Hall commemorating the people who lost their lives in the tragic 2018 event.

Hiser’s public art also includes the Silent Skies mural of endangered birds, The Houston Audubon 50-foot bird mural, the Houston Rodeo Boot, “Rodeo Bulls” displayed at NRG stadium, Galveston’s three turtle sculptures, Brazoria Nature Center murals, mermaid sculptures in San Marcos, Wimberley boot public art and the herons of Dickinson Bayou sculptures.

Wood sculptor Jim Phillips initially discovered his love for carving in 2005 after he cut a tree down in his yard and used a chainsaw to create a pelican. The next year, he began selling his carved wood pieces in an art gallery in Galveston, which was destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike. In 2009, he started carving the first of many trees for the Galveston Tree Sculpture project, which created art from trees lost in Ike’s storm surge.

As opportunities to carve continued to increase, Phillips gave up his day job as an industrial equipment salesman in 2013 and started carving wood art full-time. Since then, he has carved hundreds of trees in more than 40 Texas cities and created countless studio pieces sold in the René Wiley Gallery in Galveston.

Tickets to visit the BAL gallery are free, but reservations are required and can be made online at or when you arrive. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

Visit Doug Hiser’s website.

Visit Jim Phillips’ website.

“The Mind of the Colorist” exhibit opens in Brazosport Art League gallery

Brazosport Art League member and Teen Studio Time instructor Mark Allan Cameron opens his exhibit, “The Mind of the Colorist”, this week in the BAL gallery. The show is open from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday each week, and runs through Saturday, February 12.

Cameron joined the art league and began taking painting classes from longtime BAL instructor Dolores Reynolds in 2014. He started out with acrylics and moved into oil painting before deciding to branch out.

“Now I do a little bit of everything,” Cameron said. “Oils are my favorite, but I do acrylics, watercolor, alcohol ink and am trying to get into sculpting as well. I took classes with Dolores for two and a half to three years and then after that I was kind of on my own. I studied a lot of Van Gogh, Picasso and their contemporaries…I like the modern artists.”

One thing gallery visitors will also notice is that Cameron likes bright colors. A lot.

“You can tell I like bright, sharp, colorful paintings,” he laughed. “Only when the subject calls for a muted or dull palette will I tone it down some. I don’t do many photo-realistic things and tend to abstract almost everything, so I can make things my own.

“I may have an idea in my mind before I start a painting and know exactly what I want, but it’s not always like that. I might start painting a building and end up with a dinosaur. Some days the paints take me where they want to go and other times, I tell them where to go.”

In addition to creating his own art, Cameron has served as an instructor during Teen Studio Time, the art league’s weekly workshop for 13- to 18-year-old student artists, for the last three years.

“I really enjoy doing art to express myself, but I love teaching art as well,” he said. “Einstein once said that only a life lived helping others is a life worth living. I try to put that into practice, so whenever I’m asked to help with classes for the teens or kids, I’m more than willing to jump in.”

Tickets to visit the BAL gallery are free, but reservations are required and can be made in advance or when you arrive. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

The Facts features Charles Jesse Miller’s exhibit in Brazosport Art League gallery

The Facts featured local artist and photographer Charles Jesse Miller’s exhibit, “Humans & Nature”, currently displayed in the Brazosport Art League gallery, on the front page of the Brazos Life section in the weekend edition. The article dives into how Miller got into photography and his favorite subject to capture.

Read the article at The Facts online, and then make plans to see Miller’s show, which runs through this Saturday, November 13. The exhibit is generously sponsored by BayStar Group.

Tickets are free to visit the gallery, but reservations are required and can be made in advance or when you arrive. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

(Photo by Jeremy Hill for The Facts.)

New BAL Exhibit Features Works by Art Educator

Brazosport Art League opened a new exhibit this week, “Education: Idealized Never Realized” by artist and art educator Jennifer Lehnert. The show runs through Saturday, October 16.

Lehnert received a Master of Arts degree with a studio arts concentration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake last year and currently teaches art at Hood-Case Elementary in Alvin.

Her love of art began during childhood, thanks to her mother, grandmother and a few television shows.

“Early on, I learned to draw from watching television shows like The Secret City on PBS,” she said. “My Grandma was a painter and we enjoyed watching Bob Ross together. She always encouraged my artistic talent. When my mother struggled to cope with life, she turned to ceramics as a way of connecting with me, her first child, and I have a very deep connection to it because of her. She taught me many fundamental art skills and I am grateful to her for that.”

The art displayed in Lehnert’s show reflects her personal observations after negotiating her first experiences as a public school teacher.

“My artwork attempts to portray the contrast of how a child’s education should be and how it is,” she explained. “It is my hope that viewers feel the conflictions that my pieces are trying to evoke.  The Hebrew proverb “A child is not a vessel to be filled, rather a lamp to be lit” was the foundation of my would-be teaching philosophy. Now it is the underpinning of my compositions.  My wish is for my body of work to create an awareness and stir up a desire in all who view it to make positive changes to the current state of public education.”

Lehnert uses the experiences and challenges in her life as inspiration and a source of creativity.

“I find bringing my concepts to life very therapeutic, exciting, and rewarding,” she said. “As an adult, I have advanced my skills under the direction of the excellent art professors at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Collaboration is one of my favorite endeavors and I adore teaching children to find their inner artist.”

Tickets to the art gallery are free, but reservations are required and can be made in advance online or once you arrive. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.

The views and opinions of this artist are uniquely her own and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Center for the Arts & Sciences, Brazosport Art League, or its staff, volunteers, or board of trustees.

Teen Artists Open Colorful and Creative “Trending Classics” Exhibit

The young artists in Brazosport Art League’s Teen Studio Time may have worn masks during class each week, but their creativity was allowed to spread unchecked in unique and beautiful ways this year. Close to 20 students have their art displayed in the “Trending Classics: The Teen Studio Show,” which kicks off this week in the art gallery at The Center for the Arts & Sciences and runs through Saturday, July 3.

The show is sponsored by the family of Charles Bernard, in loving memory.

Primary instructor Linda Strickland, who has been teaching Teen Studio Time since its inception six years ago, said students start out in the fall learning the primary art mediums (watercolor, pastels, acrylic, clay, etc.) and basic techniques.

“We take a very loose approach, but we teach them the principles of art by letting them do it themselves,” she explained. “Our lessons are practical and very hands-on. We can give them a challenge and if they go off in another direction, we are okay with that. By the time March rolls around, they have learned the mediums and techniques. From there, they choose whatever medium they want to use for their final end-of-year project.”

Teen Studio Time met weekly on Tuesday afternoons, with two sessions available to safely allow the maximum number of students in the Brazosport Art League studio. Artist Mark Cameron also worked with Strickland and the students weekly, while several other Art League artists also stepped in during the year to teach lessons in their favorite mediums.

Students chose various mediums to work with for their final projects, from pastels and clay to glass mosaics and mixed media. Videos featuring each artist talking about their project pieces are available for viewing in the gallery via QR codes next to the works of art.

As they prepared their artwork to be displayed in the gallery this week, Strickland said the students learned a whole new set of skills.

“Learning to help hang the show is one of the most important lessons we offer,” she said. “Students not only mat and frame their art, but they also learn to work with wire hangers, drills, hammers and screwdrivers, they clean the glass and paint the frames. They have to title and put a price on each piece they plan to make available for sale.

“They begin to see what it takes to prepare art for sale or exhibition. There’s a lot of practical stuff the students pick up from Harry (Sargent, Director of Exhibitions and Gallery Installations) and they learn how much work goes into putting together a show. Then at the Opening Week Reception, they have the opportunity to talk to people about their work.”

Strickland is proud of how the students worked through the uncertainty of COVID-19 and a year with many roadblocks to get to this point.

“Last year was horrible because our students never got to come back after Spring Break, but we worked with them and sent home materials so they could finish their projects,” she recalled. “This year was crazy as well, with missing a week in September after the hurricane, continuing COVID-19 issues and the big freeze in February. It seemed like we just kept having to add classes to make up for these disasters.

“These kids are so easy going though, and they just roll with it and keep coming to class. It’s a place where they don’t have to worry about all the other things going on around them…they can just be and create.”

In previous years, students worked on group paintings, but due to COVID-19, instructors had to come up with an alternate plan. They took a painting by artist Vincent Van Gogh, divided it up into 20 equal sections and had each student paint their section in their own personal style. The small acrylic paintings have been put together to create a large polyptych, which will be offered in a silent auction throughout the exhibit to help fund the program.

Tickets to visit the art gallery are free, but reservations are required. Hours of operation are 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday. Reservations can be made online at or during business hours (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday) in person at the Box Office and over the phone (979-265-7661).