Battle Mountain resident and art teacher Joni Davenport is the featured artist at the Cookhouse Museum through August. Davenport works in oils, watercolor, pottery and mixed media, and she has chosen some of her favorite works for display.
The majority of the work is in oils, but Davenport is also showing some watercolors of scenes painted after trips to Italy and Mexico.
Of an expressive cow portrait, Davenport remarked, “I like to paint cattle.” Her favorite are the Herefords. “The red allows you to catch a lot of the sunlight.”
Davenport said, “We lived on a ranch in Oklahoma and I like ranching, I like the lifestyle, and the people; it was a very good life. My parents had a small ranch and had cattle and horses, and then when I got married, my husband’s family also had cattle and horses; so, probably for the first 15 years we were married, we lived on different ranches, and that’s where I learned my appreciation for the cattle. They’re just fun to paint, too.
When I traveled and went to the Louvre, I saw paintings of cattle there. I said, ‘OK, I’m justified; I can like to paint cattle.”
Davenport said she grew up influenced by her mother, “She was a self-taught artist who also did cake decorating and leather tooling. She had a porcelain kiln and a second kiln just to fire clay. It was absorbed; there weren’t formal lessons. After I got married, I did tole painting and folk art painting, then I got started in oil painting and loved it. I had children before I took any classes at college.”
Davenport has been a well-loved art teacher in Battle Mountain for many years. “When I moved here to Battle Mountain in 1988, the elementary school principal asked me if I’d like to teach art, which was a surprise. He gave me the opportunity, and for 15 years I taught art here, and I continued to take classes in order to be as good as I could. It’s probably the best thing I ever got to do. The Nevada Arts Council gave me grants two separate times to attend the Tuscarora Potters School.”
Davenport is president of the Lander County Art Association, and said she plans to get their 501(c)(3) in the future.
The Cookhouse Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday from noon – 4 p.m. Admission is free.