Inspired to create: Craig Wiegand

HARLINGEN — Craig Wiegand is proof it doesn’t matter when you start painting.

The Weslaco resident who grew up in Santa Rosa didn’t become relatively serious about the art until he was about 40 years old.

That hasn’t stopped him from creating about 300 works, mainly rustic landscapes, florals and still life painted from photographs.

Using oils and pastels as his mediums of choice, Wiegand calls painting his challenging, but relaxing escape.

Wiegand spent his working life as a soil specialist and researcher with the USDA. There, he started in 1960 after obtaining his education, including a Ph.D. from Texas A&M.

As he continued to move up the ladder to positions with more responsibility, he needed an escape.

In the 1970s, he started painting, mainly on weekends and evenings.

Despite his late start in painting, it was always something he was interested in.

He recalls as a second-grader, an art exhibit was brought in and he couldn’t stop looking at the paintings.

Now, his goal is just to keep getting better. And he believes he has, especially with speed and his ability to mix colors.

He said other people have noticed, he definitely has his own style. He admits he is intrigued by colors, use of light and creating pleasing compositions.

“I think every person has their own style,” he said. “Once you know a person’s work, you can spot it. Another artist told me I was ‘remarkably consistent.’”

Wiegand laughed as he recalled that statement to him, and said, “I am not sure if that was a compliment or not.”

However, despite the number of paintings he has completed, he doesn’t spend all his free time painting.

Actually, he admits, he only paints about once a week now, mainly when he goes to painting class.

He loves to do other things also, including gardening, reading and traveling. He also spends a lot of time at his church.

One aspect he loves about painting is that “you end up with something tangible” when you are done.

“You think when you retire, you are going to have all this time,” Wiegand said. “You fill it pretty fast. It seems like I am busier now.”

Despite being busy with many things, Wiegand shows his work, mainly in the Mid-Valley.

But starting tomorrow and for the next month, his works will be on display at the Harlingen Art Forum.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Harlingen Art Forum Artist of the Month reception for Weslaco’s Craig Wiegand

WHERE: Harlingen Art Forum, 115 E. Jackson Street

WHEN: Tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 24, 6 to 9 p.m., coinciding with Harlingen Art Night downtown. There will be refreshments. The show runs through mid December.