Ge­or­gia Owens’ art on dis­play at the Square

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PANORAMA:WEEKENDER - By K. Cathey LODI LIV­ING EDI­TOR

Ge­or­gia R. Owens didn’t plan on be­ing a painter.

“I took art in high school in the ’50s, but I didn’t like it,” she said.

It was an­other decade be­fore she gave it an­other shot. In the late 1960s, she picked up a brush and has been paint­ing ever since. In the 1990s, she even took some lessons.

This month, she’s show­ing her work in Thomas The­atre at Hutchins Street Square. It’s her first show in Lodi, aside from oc­ca­sion­ally at­tend­ing church bou­tiques.

Still, she doesn’t con­sider her­self an artist.

“Peo­ple call me an artist but I don’t like the ti­tle,” she said. “I don’t think I’m an artist. I just like to paint.”

Owens, 85, does more than just paint. She learned how to work with ce­ram­ics in her 70s, and has taken sev­eral prizes at the San Joaquin Fair. She also does leather­work­ing and makes wreaths from grapevines.

When shoul­der surgery in 2004 made it dif­fi­cult to paint the large can­vases she’d been us­ing, she be­gan paint­ing on small ones. And oys­ters. And wine bot­tles.

She’ll paint any­thing that fits in her lap — and she loves get­ting lost in her work. It’s good ther­apy, she said.

Her fa­vorite sub­jects are land­scapes, es­pe­cially with moun­tains and trees.

“I just take a paint brush and a can­vas — or oys­ter shells — and go at it,” Owens said.

Born in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Owens moved to Lodi just short of 40 years ago, when she and her cousin be­came busi­ness part­ners on a horse ranch. Af­ter the ranch, she worked as a book­keeper.

Now, she paints when­ever the mood strikes her.

First Fri­day Art Hop guests got to see her paint­ings, as have those tak­ing classes in the the­ater this month. Oth­ers who would like to see her work can make an ap­point­ment to visit — but only for a few more days. She’ll be tak­ing her work down next week.

Owens en­cour­ages any­one else who wants to try art to pick up a brush or pen­cil and give it a go.

“I hear a lot of peo­ple say, ‘I can’t draw a straight line,’ but I can’t draw a straight line, ei­ther. That’s nor­mal,” she said.

The key is to keep go­ing any­way, and im­prove­ment will fol­low.

“It has to be in your head that you can do it,” she said.

NEWS-SEN­TINEL PHO­TOGRAPHS BY BEA AHBECK

Left: Ge­or­gia R. Owens’ paint­ings are on dis­play at Hutchins Street Square. Be­low: “Elk in val­ley” is one of Owens’ paint­ings. Far bot­tom: “Win­ter Trail.”

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