Skip to Content

Painters illustrate life journey in Waco art show

The joint exhibit by artists Wendy Michelle Davis and Betsy Ferguson presently on display at Cultivate 7twelve carries the title “All Roads Lead to Waco,” but for Davis the direction away from Waco works as well.

“Waco is my home now. It’s where I found myself as an artist. It’s where I found that door I would walk through to give me more opportunities to do art that’s more than a hobby,” she said in a recent interview after the show’s opening. Davis and her husband Rafael, in fact, were preparing this week to travel with her artwork to her home state of California to show and sell it.

wendy cultivate
Waco artist Wendy Michelle Davis displays paintings drawn from her life on her half of the exhibit “All Roads Lead to Waco” with fellow artist Betsy Ferguson.

Most of the paintings in “All Roads” comes from places outside of Waco, in fact: skyscapes of shifting clouds for Ferguson and an abbreviated atlas of Davis’ life with scenes from California, Italy, France, the Czech Republic and Texas.

Davis’ journeys may have led her to Waco, but it’s also the place where her painting career crossed paths with Ferguson, who now lives in Granbury. The two both work in acrylics and share a loose, open painting style, often on large canvases, though their preferred palettes differ. Green, blue, yellow and orange predominate in the 21 pieces Davis has on display, while greys, blues and pinks show up in Ferguson’s 20 paintings.

The Waco artist has several small studies to complement her larger canvases, as well as notecards, prints and tote bags with her paintings. In addition to her large canvases, Ferguson has a smaller “Birds of a Feather” collection, a series of small studies of bird nests with blue eggs, with dried grapevine attached to their frames.

The titles of Davis’ paintings often locate their source images — “Rooftops of Florence,” “Street in Prague,” “Central California Lemons” — stops that reflect her California childhood and the side trips to Europe she took during a stint teaching in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “(The exhibit) represents a lot of things: places of my past, places I’ve been that I love,” she said.

“All Roads Lead to Waco” will continue at Cultivate 7twelve through April 19.

wendy cultivate
“Rooftops of Florence” captures the vista Davis saw on a visit to Italy.
wendy cultivate
Smaller studies of places and flora complement the larger canvases in “All Roads Lead to Waco.”
wendy cultivate
Callifornian matilija poppies, one of Davis’ favorite flowers, blossom in one of the exhibit’s larger canvases.