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Press release from Laguna Madre Art Gallery, June 1, 2012

Sally Heath Publicity Chair

laguna Madre art gallery artist for juneThe Laguna Madre Art Gallery has announced that June Artists of the Month are Gene Paull, Cecilia Barnard, Fern Kubalsky, and Carol Plumb.

Gene Paull moved to Brownsville in the1970’s to teach at the University of Texas-Brownsville. After he received his PhD in 1976, he conducted anthropological studies in Latin America, particularly in Guatemala. In the 1990’s he decided that his research on the geographical and cultural aspects of Latin American countries would have greater impact if he used photography in his work. With the help of local guides, Gene was invited into villages throughout Latin America to record the daily activities and rites of their people. He was able to backpack into areas rarely visited by outsiders and has some stunning photographs of these people at the Laguna Madre Art Gallery.

Presently Gene’s emphasis is on the geographical nature of the countries he has visited. Spectacular waterfalls have become his favorite subjects. He emphasizes realism in his digital photography and prefers wide, sweeping landscapes to minutiae. He takes great care to make sure his shots are perfect. Before venturing out to photograph a scene, he watches weather forecasts and plans his excursions to take advantage of weather conditions. It took several tries, but he finally was satisfied with a shot of the sky over the Gulf just prior to Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010. This “Stormy Sunset” took a first place this year at a Brownsville Museum of Fine Art show. His other projects include a permanent
display at the Port Isabel Library. He preserved fifteen photos of the Port Isabel area from the 1950’s by photographing them and then using photoshop to restore them. He has shown his work at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and at Laguna Madre Art League shows and is now a member of the
Laguna Madre Art Gallery Co-op. His web site is

A resident of Brownsville since 1951, Cecilia Barnard has donned many hats in her lifetime. Mother of six children, realtor, and college student are among her many careers. Her love of painting goes back to the 60’s when she was a member of the Brownsville Art League. But she had to set painting aside after her sixth child was born and she ventured into the business world. In 1995 she and her husband retired and moved to Saratoga Springs, New York, where she took a class in watercolors and fell in love with painting again. After graduating from Skidmore College in 1997, she and her husband returned to Brownsville and she continued her study of painting. She has exhibited her work in shows at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and the Mission Art show, as well as Laguna Madre Art League shows, and is now at the Laguna Madre Art Gallery.

Although Cecilia started her art studies with oil and acrylics, she considers watercolors to be her favorite and only medium. She says that what really got her started in watercolors was taking a class from Tony Van Hasselit, a well known watercolorist. She is willing to experiment with other techniques, as seen in some abstracts she has painted, but she is more of a traditional watercolor artist. She paints realistic landscapes, often from photos of her many travels, and also paints locally inspired scenes: shrimp boats, the Port Isabel lighthouse, etc. Flowers are also a favorite subject. She feels she needs to make a personal connection with her subject. Each Christmas Cecilia paints original holiday cards for her entire family and throughout the year she paints their special requests. They are among her biggest fans.

Now known as the “feather lady”, Fern Kubalsky never thought she’d become a painter, much less display and sell her art in a gallery and at many art shows. She never imagined she’d paint on swan and turkey feathers either. Fern and her husband, who supports her new career by building her frames and matting her paintings, first came to the valley as Winter Texans in 1998. In 2003 they sold their southern Minnesota camp ground, packed up, and moved here permanently. Encouraged by a friend, Fern took a drawing class at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and started to paint there in 2007.
After she started painting she discovered that there were other artists in her family, but having ”failed art in school,” she never considered art as her forte until recently.

Fern paints in both oils and acrylics. She uses acrylics on the feathers that she finds littering the grounds at Winter Haven during molting season and from a friend who raises wild turkeys. She prefers oils for canvas painting because it blends more easily than acrylics. She has taken watercolor classes and has incorporated some watercolor techniques in her work, but says she will stick to her oils and acrylics.
You can see Fern’s work at the Laguna Madre Art Gallery, the members’ only show at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, Beachcombers’ show, and Laguna Madre Art League shows.

The fourth Artist of the Month, Carol Plumb, says that art has been a part of her life as long as she can remember. Some of her earliest memories are of her grandmother encouraging her to draw and paint when she was only two or three. Her professional career in art began when Carol graduated from the Minnesota College of Art and Design. She moved to Vermont and worked as a printer at Middlebury College for 5 years. While at Middlebury College she earned her certification to teach art and taught at the local high school and tech school. In 2005 Carol moved to the valley and took oil painting classes at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art. She has enjoyed learning from friends at the Museum, at the Laguna Madre Art League where she is currently the President, and at local galleries. In addition to being in many group shows, she has had a two one woman shows at Galleria 409 and at the Port Isabel Library and a one woman show at the Purple Parrot and the Port Isabel Museum. In 2011 she earned the Clara Ely award at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and also had her painting “Atascosa” selected to hang in the American Wind Symphony gallery. She has also been featured artist in the publication “RGV+Beyond”.

Local landscapes are Carol’s favorite subjects. She challenges herself to paint different locations at unusual times of the day, and from unusual perspectives. She seeks to “transport (her) viewers to a place of peace and serenity.” Giving herself permission to experiment, Carol uses simple compositions and careful blending of colors to create a landscape or seascape. Blending her paint until there are no brush strokes visible, she seeks to create a “seamless gradation” of the landscape or seascape as it appears in nature. Then she “pulls out a feature to be slightly abstracted” by adding light and color contrast. In addition to displaying and selling her work at Laguna Madre Art Gallery, Carol also shows it at Yummies, Sea Ranch Restaurant, and Kingfisher Gallery on the island. You also can view her work on line at

See our featured artists work as well as that of 19 other artists at the Laguna Madre Art Gallery

located at 405 E. Maxan, Port Isabel. Phone number 956-943-1407. Opened Wednesday
through Sunday.
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