PORT ISABEL — Artist Celia Gordon has been a member of the Laguna Madre Art League since March, 2016 and is also a current member of the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art.
Prior to moving to Brownsville she was an active member artist in the Madill Art League (Madill, Ok.); the Sherman Art League (Sherman, TX) and Texoma Arts Association (Durant, Ok.).
Gordon became interested in the fine arts in the mid 1990s, following her early retirement from a company where she had been Corporate Controller for more than 15 years in Washington state. Deciding to try something else she returned to college to study Interior Design.
After two years of the program she decided she still liked her old career in finance, but the fine arts would provide her a superior method for dealing with the stress of accounting and tax preparation. So she returned to her original profession, opening an accounting practice in Snohomish, Washington.
During a trip to Missouri to visit family in 1998 she attended a one day workshop led by a local sculptor. Gordon loved the feel of clay in her hands and the ability to turn it into different three dimensional forms. When she returned to the Seattle area she immediately enrolled in a sculpture class at a community art school. That is where she met international sculptor, Hai Ying Wu, who would become her art instructor, friend and mentor.
In 1999 Celia was honored when Hai Ying asked her to assist him in the development and building of two larger than life size bronze sculptures that he had been commissioned to provide for a United Auto Workers Memorial, to be installed at the place of the former Electric AutoLite factory in Toledo, Ohio. The memorial was to commemorate the 1934 UAW strike, where two people were killed and 200 were injured when the state militia was sent by the governor of Ohio to break up the strike.
Following the installation of the memorial, Hai Ying and his wife invited Celia to travel to Chengdu, China with them for the Chinese New Year. While visiting there, Hai Ying introduced her to his previous professor at the Sichuan Fine Art Academy, who had become the president of the newly established Chengdu Fine Art Academy.
Mr. Ma was pleased with her artwork and invited her to return at the beginning of the next academic year in 2001 to study fine art and sculpture. She returned to Chengdu in early August and enrolled in painting and sculpture. But a month later on September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was attacked, and Gordon, at the request of her family, cut short her studies and returned to the United States.
Back in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, she continued to study sculpture and bronze casting at Gage Academy and the Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle; while continuing to draw and paint. She was invited to participate and was accepted two years in a row, into the Puyallup, WA Downtown Outdoor Arts exhibit for her bronze sculptures “Lessons”, a series of three 13” x 33” bronze bas reliefs depicting the story of two small boys attempting to lead a young calf.
The bas reliefs have since been donated to the Murray State College’s Agriculture Department for display in their AG building. She was also commissioned to sculpt and cast in bronze two life size portraits which are in a private collection.
After the deaths of her husband, daughter, and mother, Gordon moved to Oklahoma to be nearer her brother and sister-in-law. During her years in Oklahoma, Celia participated in many fine art shows, winning several awards for watercolor and oil paintings. In 2013 she was selected by the Oklahoma Arts Council along with over 70 other Oklahoma artists from around the state to participate in the one year Leadership Arts program for arts development in communities.
In 2015 the moving bug struck again and brought her to her current residence at Winterhaven Resort in Brownsville. Celia continues to study and works alongside other artists in the valley.
Besides one on one and group instruction, she utilizes internet instruction from ArtTutor.com and YouTube. She receives inspiration from watching other artists create and studying objects and nature, saying “I am definitely an artist that creates for my own pleasure. Of course it is always nice when one’s efforts are acknowledged, however that is not what makes me get up in the morning. I would probably be compelled to create something because I suspect the one that created me insists that I do it.”
Gordon’s art will be displayed throughout May at the Port Isabel Public Library at 213 Yturria Street. For library hours phone 956-943-2265. There is no admission fee to see the display.