Rambler Newspapers

Serving Irving, Coppell and Grand Prairie

Irving—The Irving Arts Center hosted an artist reception for Ernie Benton and Sontonya Necheal on Saturday, Jan. 22. The exhibit entitled ‘The Blues (& Other Colors)’ is located in Carpenter Lobby Gallery through the landing of the staircase and on the second floor. Musical instruments and vibrant colors are featured throughout both artist’s work.

Necheal and Benton both have been painting since early childhood.

“I was born this way,” Necheal said. “I was self-taught. I tried different mediums at first, trying to figure out how I created best. Paint with lots of colors and layers is what feels right to me. I am an abstract girl to the heart. I like to experiment and have fun. Painting is freeing to me.”

“My art is mostly drawn around music, beauty, and color,” Benton said. “I started creating art when I was three years old, and it is based on harmony. I am self-taught, and this is what I am called to do. It is a blessing.

“I was raised with music. My mother and grandmother played the piano and taught us music. My father was in blues and jazz. My work incorporates music because that was and is my life. All of us enjoy some type of music and it brings us together.”

Necheal also listens to music while creating art.

“I have to have music going while I create,” Necheal said. “I get into my studio and let my canvases speak to me. It is a process. I try a color, and if I do not like it, I try again. It may take a while to really know what I need to paint this time.”

Shailann Manning attended the show.

“I am exploring the art show,” Manning said. “I am noticing how ‘Journal One and Two’ is so layered. This painting really communicates to me. I am feeling like this painting says a dark moment came, a person grieved through it, and moved past it. This is absolutely beautiful, I love both of them.

“I would like people to come to art shows like this and support local artists. These paintings can be a look inside ourselves. We each can find different meanings inside the paintings. The great part about these artist receptions is we are able to speak with the artists about where they were emotionally when they painted. By speaking to the artist, I was able to be inspired and get some fulfillment in both enjoying the pieces and speaking with the artists.”

Benton focuses on the unifying aspect of music.

“I want people to feel like they are inspired to come together when they look at my work,” Benton said. “I am inviting you to a warm and positive place. My colors are vibrant pastels, the shapes, and the instruments are meant for people to appreciate and feel good about. For me, I find great joy in creating paintings that others can enjoy. I am honored, thankful, and blessed to be able do this type of work and share it with the rest of the world.”
“I encourage people to have an open mind and support local artists,” Necheal said. “I really appreciate that people come out and see what we have created. I appreciate the Irving Art Gallery is committed to featuring artists.”
‘The Blues (& Other Colors)’ featuring Enrie Benton and Sontonya Necheal runs until Feb. 22.