You would never guess Dan Groth’s bizarre misshapen watercolor figures come from a mind born out of the same gene pool as his mother, Sheila Maynard. Her dreamy pastel landscapes are worlds away.
“Our styles are so far North Pole/South Pole,” Maynard said. The two clearly share a natural talent in the arts, though.
Groth is a represented artist at Studio &, and hosts workshops at the Durango Arts Center. He has curated multiple shows at Raider Ridge Cafe, which is where he decided to feature his mom’s work. The idea came to him after seeing a Facebook post Maynard shared following her win for best in show at a prior exhibition. Maynard, who currently lives in Longmont, did not take being an artist seriously until after she retired about 10 years ago, although she dabbled in art through high school. Groth said she disavows the acrylics she painted with at that age.
“I can’t tell you how many pieces I ripped up,” she said.
Maynard was, and still is, her toughest critic, but that never kept her from drawing.
“Instead of doing my scholastic work, I doodled,” she said.
Maynard remembers sitting in her financial strategies class and drawing a duck holding an umbrella when she should have been taking notes on asset diversification and de-accumulation. After graduating high school in 1959, Maynard told the school counselor she wanted to study art, but was told girls become teachers or nurses.
Maynard followed that route, at least initially, and taught second grade, tutored, and raised a family, which kept her from pursuing formal art training. Natural talent aside, she said she wouldn’t trade her experience in grading papers and teaching double-digit addition. She loved teaching, and the profession gave her time with her family. So, while she put her work on the back burner, she nurtured her own kids’ interests in the arts.
Groth said when he was little, his mom was always doing crafty things, like making a papier-mâché ski hill, or transforming a bunt cake mold into a moat by filling it with water and putting little boats in it. Maynard would even host her kids’ art shows in the hallway of their home.
“Dan’s art – even when he was a youngster – it is just phenomenal,” she said.
Maynard was eventually able to swap the white chalk for colorful pastels, and credits her husband for encouraging her to turn the spare bedroom into a work studio. She often visits the sites of the scenes she draws, snaps a picture, and then puts her own surreal interpretation on the image. One meaningful piece currently on display was referenced by a sunset photograph her 18-year-old grandson took. The end result leaves one wishing the real world looked more like her hazy, dreamlike creations.
Maynard’s show marks the first time she and her son worked together professionally. Maynard said when she got the phone call from Groth, she felt like she made it as an artist.
They have never collaborated, but they do want to learn from each other’s styles. Maynard wants to try figurative pieces and Groth would like to experiment with landscapes. But Groth will leave the pastels to his mom. Just thinking about the texture makes him cringe.