Fun finds at Fine Arts Fest

Artist Shou Ping Newcomb’s ‘Koi’ is just a sample of the many watercolors and paper-sculptures she had on display at the Fine Arts Festival. (Photo by Jen Biundo)



When Shou Ping Newcomb rode the train to school in her native Taiwan she would sketch the commuters around her. Whether they were skinny, fat, short or tall she tried to trace each shape as precisely as she could.

“It’s like, my hand, my eyes are like a copy machine,” she said of her drawing ability now. “It’s like, constantly train your eyes and your hand to work together.”

She was sitting in the shade and talking about drawing, with a big smile, to whomever happened by. This was Sunday at the Buda Fine Arts Festival, where she and other artists who were selling sculpture, paintings, jewelry and prints had a small but appreciative crowd.

The day before, their little stalls were cramped, thanks in part to the beer and polka festival that was going on next door.

“Yesterday was really packed,” said Oscar Silva, this year’s featured artist. “It drew a lot of people from there to here and here to there. It worked out pretty well.” He sold 15 pieces.

Kristi Standley saw more shoppers come through Saturday but made her sales Sunday, when the late warm weather and the easy pace seemed to put everyone in a mood to buy.

Standley makes her cut-paper artwork in Bastrop. She was quick to tell a listener, “The house is OK.”

“We are in Tahitian Village, and everything across the street’s gone. It’s been kind of hard. They’ve been tearing all that down, and all the ash gets in the air, the stuff that sheet rock’s made out of, that’s all in the air.”

Art can reflect every human experience. But from a glance around the stalls in Buda it was hard to imagine anything as terrible as a wildfire. Most artists brought easily digested works that dealt with pretty nature or Texas nostalgia.

To see anything more daring you had to look for the pieces that were not up for sale. The student art exhibit was in a little room next to the festival, and here, at least, you could find mushroom-shaped buildings, godlike figures and angelic skies, all rendered in furious crayon.

But the cream of the festival was at City Hall, where members of the Buda Quilting Bee were showing their work.

“This one is also called a scrappy quilt, and this is called a string quilt. … This one is a stained glass,” said Janie Kay as she pointed at patterns that were curving or jagged, in colors that were bold or bright.

On one giant bedspread spangled with color, a brown fabric was the only one to appear more than once. Kay stopped in front of it and said, “It’s mindblowing, isn’t it?”

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