Art Smart – December 2022

Art Smart’s Articles for December 2022

Art Smart is a regular contributor to and  Each month we submit a blog article that contains a link to some of Mr. Smart’s articles contributed during that month.

Caddo Lake in the Winter

By Art Smart

Caddo Lake, located in Northeast Texas and adjacent to the Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge, is a stunning destination in any season, but it is particularly beautiful in the winter. With its cypress trees, Spanish moss, and calm, still waters, Caddo Lake has a serene, almost otherworldly quality in the colder months.

As you take a leisurely walk or drive around the lake, you’ll notice that the trees are adorned with hoarfrost, giving them a magical, almost fairy-tale like appearance. The air is crisp and refreshing, and the silence is broken only by the occasional birdcall or the crunch of leaves underfoot.

But Caddo Lake isn’t just a place for peaceful contemplation. It’s also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. The Caddo Lake Wildlife Refuge, which spans over 7,000 acres, is home to over 300 species of birds, including egrets, herons, and woodpeckers. It’s also home to beavers, otters, and even the occasional alligator.

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The Don CeSar – A must visit

By Art Smart

The Don CeSar, also known as the “Pink Palace,” is an iconic resort located on the beautiful St. Pete Beach in Florida. This luxurious property is a perfect choice for a romantic getaway, offering stunning oceanfront views, a secluded beach, and a variety of amenities and activities to choose from.

One of the highlights of the Don CeSar is its award-winning spa, which offers a wide range of treatments and services to help you relax and rejuvenate. Whether you’re in the mood for a massage, a manicure, or a facial, the spa has something for everyone.

The Don CeSar is also home to some of the best dining in the area. The Maritana Grille, the resort’s signature restaurant, serves gourmet cuisine inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. The hotel also has a variety of other dining options, including a poolside bar and a casual café.

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Sea Ranch Chapel

By Art Smart

The Sea Ranch Chapel is a breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful place located along Highway 1 in Sonoma County, California. Nestled between San Francisco and Mendocino, this isolated chapel is the perfect place to stop and take a moment to reflect and meditate during a long drive.

As soon as you approach the chapel, you’ll be struck by its stunning exterior architecture. The building is constructed from cedar shingles and glass, which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The chapel is surrounded by beautiful, lush green trees, which provide a sense of privacy and seclusion.

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The Ginocchio

By Art Smart

The Ginocchio Building in Marshall, Texas was a longstanding fixture in the downtown area, with its distinctive red brick exterior and ornate architectural details. For years, it had been a source of pride for the community, with many locals reminiscing about the times they had spent there as children. However, over the years, the building had fallen into disrepair and was in desperate need of a renovation.

Enter Allan Loudermilk, a local businessman with a passion for restoring this historic building. When he first laid eyes on the Ginocchio Building, he knew he had to take on the challenge of bringing it back to its former glory.

With the support of the community, Allen set to work on the renovation, determined to do whatever it took to restore the building to its former splendor. He spent countless hours researching the building’s history and carefully planning out every detail of the renovation.

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Ferndale — The Victorian Village

By Art Smart

On December 20, 2022, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Ferndale in Humboldt County in California. This was very sad news. I have visited Ferndale many times and have fond memories of its unmatched architecture.

Ferndale, known as the “Victorian Village,” is a small town with a rich history dating back to the mid-19th century. It was founded in 1852 by New Englanders who were drawn to the area by the abundance of natural resources and the possibility of a new life on the West Coast. These settlers established dairy farms and raised livestock, which became the mainstay of Ferndale’s economy for many years.

As the town grew and prospered, a number of Victorian-era buildings were constructed, giving Ferndale its unique character and charm. Today, these beautifully preserved buildings serve as a testament to the town’s history and are a popular attraction for visitors.

One of the most iconic buildings in Ferndale is the Ferndale Museum, a Victorian-era building that was once a livery stable. The museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Ferndale’s history, from its early days as a dairy farming community to its present-day status as a popular tourist destination.

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Blending Images

Photography – March 13, 2022

By Ron Munden

Blending Images


About five years ago I took a week off to attend the Texas School of Professional Photography.  The school is conducted once each year in the Dallas area.  It offers some 30  to 40 classes on a wide variety of subjects.  As I recall about 1500 people attended the year I went.

I wanted to take training  on a subject that I knew almost nothing about.   I selected a course on fine-art photography.  The class was taught by award-winning  fine-art photographer Thom Rouse.  He is Chicago based and has been photographing  professionally since 1994.

Thom’s book, After the Camera – Digital Transformations for Conceptual Nude and Portrait Photography served as the” textbook”/ inspiration  for this class.  All the class work was done using Photoshop. Although,  I had been using Photoshop for over 30 years, this class was the most challenging class have taken  since I got out of graduate school in 1970.

I am very impressed by Thom’s work and decided I was going to commit time to increasing my understanding of the process and working to create images similar to those in Tom’s book.  Of course, then I returned to the real world I completely lost sight of the goal.

And then came March 2020 bringing the COVID pandemic to this country.  My full plate quickly became an empty plate.  I had spare time and nowhere to go. I dusted off the class notes that I took in Dallas and began to work on blending images.

Now I produce simple blended images or Thom might say, “digital transformations for conceptual nude and portrait photography.”

My images are still very simple.  My images usually involve 5 to 20 layers and I can produce up to 3 images during the hour that I devote to this project most days.  Thom’s  creations involve  40 to 100s of layers and take him days if not weeks to complete.  The quality of his work reflects the care and time he puts into creating with final product.

I sold my first photos and  became a street artist in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1970.  With the exception of one period of about three  years  when I put my camera away,  I have shot continuously for over 50 year.  Some of those years I shot over 40,000 images but I do not think I have done anything creative in the last 15 years.

 Although my blended images are simple and sometimes amateurish,  I feel like I am being creative and will continue down this road.  Look out Thom – I am only 90 layers behind you!


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Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation

Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation urges patrons and community members

to support the outstanding work of the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF)

by buying a raffle ticket for trip-for-two to Italy

Kilgore, TX In this last week of the exciting 2019 summer season of the Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF) Foundation urges patrons and community members to support the work of the TSF by participating in the annual TSF summer raffle. 

This year’s raffle is a trip-for-two to Florence, Italy. Raffle tickets are $100 each, with only 350 tickets being sold. The estimated value of the trip is $6,000, including airfare and hotel.  The raffle drawing will take place during intermission of the final performance of the 2019 TSF season on Sunday, July 28.  Ticket holders do not need to be present to win.

A video with additional information about the Italy raffle and a link to the box office to purchase a ticket is available at

The Texas Shakespeare Festival, which was founded in 1986 by Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell, is now in its 34th consecutive season and is the only professional theatre in East Texas.

TSF performances take place in the Van Cliburn Auditorium in the Anne Dean Turk Fine Arts Center on the Kilgore College campus in Kilgore, Texas.

The entity hosting the Italy trip raffle is the Texas Shakespeare Festival (TSF) Foundation which is now in its 25th year of providing fundraising and volunteer support, along with the TSF Guild, for the Texas Shakespeare Festival.

The TSF Foundation was incorporated in 1994 as a not-for-profit 501c3 and is managed by a 19-member volunteer Board of Directors which is comprised of civic, business, and community leaders from throughout the East Texas region.  The Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise funds and provide volunteer services and community outreach to support the work of the Texas Shakespeare Festival and to provide a solid base to continue to build for the TSF’s future.

Christina Anderson, President of the TSF Foundation Board of Directors, shared, “The TSF Foundation is very honored to support the important cultural, artistic, and educational work that the Texas Shakespeare Festival does for our East Texas region and beyond.  Since 1986, the TSF has provided superb, live productions of masterpieces, musicals, and other great plays produced and performed by theater professionals who travel from New York, Los Angeles, and throughout our nation each year to work in the summer festival in Kilgore.” 

Ms. Anderson added, “We’re also very grateful to the individual and corporate contributors who have supported the work of the TSF and the educational TSF Roadshow for more than three decades, plus the countless volunteers, as well as other East Texas foundations who have donated generously, including the Rosa May Griffin Foundation which has supported the Texas Shakespeare Festival since its inaugural year.”

Ms. Anderson also underscored the deep appreciation that TSF and the TSF Foundation and Guild have for the strong, valued, mutually-beneficial partnership they have with Kilgore College through these many years.

The Texas Shakespeare Festival is truly a model for a successful collaborative effort.  TSF is a collaborative effort between the Festival, the TSF Foundation and Guild, and Kilgore College. 

Kilgore College, where the TSF is in residence, donates financial and in-kind contributions (including use of the Van Cliburn Auditorium) which amount to approximately 30% of the cost of the TSF each year.

The TSF Foundation raises money to support the operation of the TSF and the Guild, through its dues and volunteers, takes care of the hospitality of the acting company while they’re in Kilgore. The work of the TSF Foundation and Guild accounts for another 30% of the annual cost of the Festival.

The remaining 40% of the revenue needed to produce the summer Festival each year is made through ticket sales and programming by the Texas Shakespeare Festival itself. 

Dr. Brenda Kays, President of Kilgore College, echoed the sentiment with regard to the collaboration between Kilgore College, TSF, and the TSF Foundation and Guild. “Nothing worth achieving is ever achieved in isolation,” Dr. Kays shared. “Partnerships have allowed the Festival to continue its rich tradition of excellence and to flourish.   Proof that the Texas Shakespeare Festival is a valued component of the East Texas Arts Community lies in the extraordinary collaboration that exists between the College and the TSF Foundation and Guild.”

Funds raised by the TSF Foundation and TSF are used not only to assist with productions, but also to purchase needed equipment  that is used by both TSF and the Kilgore College Theater Department. In addition, costumes, props, and scenery made by the TSF professionals each summer are frequently used by the Kilgore College Theater Department for their productions during the school year.

Mathew Simpson and Meaghan Simpson, Associate Artistic Directors for the TSF, also serve as adjunct instructors of Kilgore College theater courses and guest directors for KC theater productions. They have also reinstated and expanded the very popular TSF Roadshow.  The TSF Roadshow provides valuable educational experiences and performances for more than 17,000 students in elementary and secondary schools throughout Texas.  Working with these students, in connection with the Roadshow, assists Kilgore College with recruitment possibilities.

The summer raffle is just one of the fundraising activities spearheaded each year by the TSF Foundation.  This year’s Italy trip is co-sponsored by A.P. and Susie Merritt of Kilgore and Richard and Christina Anderson of Marshall.

Raymond Caldwell, Founder and Artistic Director of the Texas Shakespeare Festival, shared, “The Festival could not survive without the vital support of Kilgore College, the TSF Foundation and Guild, and our loyal patrons. This year’s raffle for a trip to Italy is a major fundraiser to help the Festival accomplish our important annual fundraising goals. We thank everyone for their support.”

In addition to the summer raffle, individuals, businesses, and other foundations wishing to make a contribution to the TSF Foundation throughout the year can send a tax-deductible donation to the TSF Foundation at P.O. Box 2788, Kilgore, Texas 75663.

The 2019 Texas Shakespeare Festival summer season continues through July 28, with matinee and evening performances from Thursday through Sunday.  Box office (903) 983-8601.

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