Kirkwood Artist Feature: Glenda Hares
Glenda Hares has been making art from her basement studio in Kirkwood for 35 years. Her work is currently on display at Norton's Fine Art and Framing in Maplewood.
Glenda Hares paints in her cozy home studio, surrounded by her own work—canvasses lining the walls and stacked up along the edges of the room. A table off to the side is littered with scraps of paper and scissors, along with a half-finished collage, and the easel she paints on is colorfully crusted with years of dried paint.
Hares has a quiet, steady passion for her work—she sees art not as a hobby or a career, but as a natural extension of her existence.
"It's just something that's a part of your life and you do it on a regular basis like brushing your teeth. Whether you feel like it or not, whether you're inspired or not, you just go do it and eventually good things happen," she said. "Or, you hope good things happen, they don't always."
Hares started painting when she was studying in the dress department at Washington University. After a digression of about 10 years, she started taking watercolor classes and painting more seriously—that is where she met David Hares, the man who would become her second husband.
"Marrying your painting teacher is a pretty good idea, actually," she said with a smile. "We painted and shared the studio for 19 years, and he's been gone almost that long now. I've studied privately...but David was my primary inspiration and my mentor. And, you know, from there you just keep working."
Before David's death, the couple was very active in the St. Louis art community. They were both members of the St. Louis Artists' Guild, which was then based in Webster Groves, and David was even the president of the organization for a time. David also taught watercolor classes and Glenda occasionally took on some of his students, but she didn't particularly like teaching.
"A lot of the people that are in these classes really aren't that serious about working," she said. "They want to produce things but they really don't have the time or the energy, or the enthusiasm to work hard at it."
After David got sick and passed away, Glenda's involvement with the Artists' Guild dropped off, and she started doing her own thing. She worked part time at a plant nursery for a few years, and continued painting in the evenings. She showed her work at three galleries—one in Kentucky, one in Illinois and another in Maplewood. Norton's Fine Art and Framing in Maplewood is the only gallery still in business.
Hares currently has some pieces on display in the Norton gallery's holiday show, and has a solo exhibit planned there for May. Much of her time now is devoted to preparing a body of work for the May show. She said it will be a mixture of still life and landscape, her two favorite subjects.
Although she started out painting exclusively in watercolor, Hares has since moved into acrylics—a medium she is much more comfortable with.
"With acrylics you get to work slowly and build up things," she said. "You can't do that, really, with watercolors."
Another medium Hares has been experimenting with recently is collage—two of the three pieces she now has on display in the Norton's holiday show are collages. She saves scraps of paper and clippings from magazines and arranges them into 8x10 abstract still lifes. One method she has been using lately is to dye tissue paper with an acrylic wash, using the paint left on her palette after a painting session.
Hares said that if she had more time, she would like to do more drawing and experiment with pastels. She now shares her Kirkwood home with her "significant other" of 14 years, Bruce Zuckerman. Zuckerman is not an artist, but he is an art lover and collector. Between his collection and hers, the house where Hares has lived for 35 years is saturated with art, just the way she likes it.
You can see some of Glenda Hares' work in the holiday show at Norton's Fine Art and Framing in Maplewood, and much more of it at her solo show there in May. Details will be announced at a later date.