In 1975 I stepped in to my first art class at Wichita East High.
Mrs. Annie Lowrey, my art teacher, asked us to draw a simple still life. She asked me to stay after class that first day. She asked where I had taken art lessons. She asked me who my favorite artists were. And she asked me if I was high
Over three years of classes, Mrs. Lowrey allowed me to roam. She told me as long as I created, worked hard, and read in my off-times, she would give me A's. She was a harsh critic of my work, and my attitude. Always calling me "Mr. Clonts," she made me ashamed to submit less than my best. Her philosophy on art, nature, and life, combined with her constant questions of me, opened a path for me to see and continue to seek ways to communicate through creating art. She taught me that art is the endless search, and a gift for life, the heart, and, most importantly, the mind.
In 1998 I met with her and attempted to present here with a painting I had made. I had finished it with a shiny varnish. She crinkled her nose and said she could not accept it. I asked her why and she said: "Mr. Clonts, you know I cannot stand shiny surfaces." The great and final critique!
And she's out amongst the universe now---but I feel she sees me and my work. She still whispers in my ear. I love her, always.