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Frames & Things in Copperas Cove featuring two local artists for August


Cove Leader-Press 


Two local artists, Jill Stelow and T.J. Olivares, are featured at Frames & Things in Cove Terrace Shopping Center for the month of August. 

The artists dropped off their paintings on Friday to be displayed. Stelow’s fantasy flowers are in the window display while Olivares’ detailed portraits are in the main display area. 

With the need to social distance and limit crowds due to COVID-19, Frames & Things has not held a First Friday Art After Dark since March. 

The frame shop actually closed down from mid-March to the beginning of May. 

When Frames & Things reopened its doors, the owners, Joe and Debra Friddle, knew they wouldn’t be able to hold First Fridays anymore, but they could still display featured artists. 

Frames & Things employee and First Friday Art After Dark art coordinator Lexi Marshall said that business for the shop has been very good since they’ve reopened.

From April to July, Frames & Things displayed art for two featured artists: Kim Carella and Grace Perkins. 

Being a featured artist means that the artwork gets displayed in the shop and is promoted on the shop’s Facebook page. 

“The artwork is always displayed up in our shop and welcome to everyone who comes in, and we do always encourage people to come visit, and we always show it off to customers when people are just looking around or they’re waiting for us to work up their tickets and stuff,” Marshall said. “The artwork is always up to the public even if we don’t have an event going.”

Marshall said she felt it was so important, especially with the pandemic, to support local artists, like T.J. Olivares and Jill Stelow. 

“Everyone is being hit by this, so even if we’re still not doing our First Fridays, this still allows- you know, it might be a smaller opportunity, it might be a smaller chance that he’ll make a sale or anything, but it’s still giving him an opportunity to get his stuff out there,” Marshall said. “It’s still doing that, it’s still getting his name out there, plus it still gives us something to put on our walls and still gives us a little change in scenery.”

Art invokes emotions, whether that emotion is happiness or not, Marshall added. 

“I think it’s just important to support local businesses, local people,” Marshall said. “It’s just important to support each other during this.”

The featured artists are also still being promoted, even without an in-person event like First Friday, Marshall added.

“We’re still living up to at least somewhat of the promise we made with the First Friday with the contract that we’ve made with the artists, so even if it’s not the full contract, we’re doing the best we can,” Marshall said. “It still gives them some exposure.”

For Olivares, being a featured artist at Frames & Things is the first time his art has been displayed for longer than a weekend. 

Olivares first started painting in 1986 for a class and has been painting for pleasure since 1991. His earlier paintings were inspired by Impressionist paintings before he developed his own style, with intricate details. 

Olivares has 19 paintings on display in Frames & Things, each bursting with color and the tiniest of detail. 

Olviares said he used to get his inspiration from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas but now, he really loves Alphonse Mucha and Edward Munche as well as Japanese wood block prints. 

For Olivares own paintings, he starts with colored pencils and draws a grid. He then goes to each grid and treats it like it is its own piece of art instead of part of one painting. 

“It calms me down,” Olivares said. “That’s why you see all the details. I’ve got an image planned out, and then I’ve got some kind of procedure for each in the background and in the foreground too, there’s procedures, and then I just do the little designs and small details on it. It just calms me down, and I don’t know what it’s going to look like until I finish.”

Olivares said his favorite painting of the 19 displayed is the Metal Girl, because she had a lot of detail in her hair. His second favorite was the one of the girl with the Japanese style fan. 

“They’re all projects of me just killing time, not being bored,” Olivares said. “I always tell people it’s therapy for me. That’s why I get that detail. I can just get in there, like you’re scribbling or doodling.”

Olivares added that he can lose himself in his paintings but still maintain the structure he sets for each painting. 

While some paintings focus more on a particular color than others, each one is definitely vibrant. 

“I have to have color in them,” Olivares said. “If I can get some more paints, well, the more the merrier.”

Olivares said that each day he has a set amount of paints to use and will go throughout focusing on one color in particular. 

Olivares works full time at Heights Printing but has been trying to get his artwork out for people to see. 

He has had his art displayed in downtown Temple and at various festivals, but this will be Olivares’ first time having his art displayed in one setting for this long of a period. 

He was supposed to be a featured artist at a Cinco de Mayo event but due to COVID-19 the event was cancelled. 

“Things happen, but at least here, I get to display,” Olivares said. 

Marshall said she wished that Frames & Things had a live event for Olivares' artwork. 

“We’re excited to showcase this artwork,” Marshall said. “It’s amazing.”

Jill Stelow’s acrylic and alcohol paintings of different fantasy flowers are displayed in the front window. 

Stelow is also a quilter, which is how she met Marshall, at the Fiber Arts Fair held at the library earlier this year. When she told Marshall about her paintings, Marshall was intrigued and invited her to be a featured artist. 

“I like any kind of art, and you know, at this time of my life- I’m going to be 72 on Monday- so I do like to try and do what gives me pleasure,” Stelow said. 

She chose to mix acrylic paint with alcohol and form the flowers on the canvas, going for a fantasy, whimsical vibe, she said. 

“It was exciting for me,” Stelow said about being asked to be a featured artist. 

She said that she has only had time for painting after she retired. Having her art work displayed for the month of August is a big step for her, she added. 

“For me it’s exciting to put my work up there, and I’ve never done anything like this before,” Stelow said, adding that she had never shown her paintings to anyone except family. 

The proceeds of Stelow’s painting sales will be going to the Friends of the Library. 

People can stop by Frames & Things to view Stelow’s and Olivares’ art during business hours, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207