Art  Zoller  Wagner
Realist Painting: About the Artist


Growing Up with Art

When I was three or four, I decided to create a gallery in my bedroom with my drawings hung edge to edge all the way around the room. A few years later my best friend and I spent most of the summer drawing pictures. Then we invited other neighborhood kids to an opening where we displayed our drawings. We sold many of them for a few cents each.

I was already an artist as a child. How does someone so young come to identify as an artist? I see several influences.

I grew up in a home which had oil paintings on the walls. I remember spending time staring at the paintings, studying them, and daydreaming about them.

Boxtop Landscape, by Honnie Wagner, oil on canvas

   Honnie Fernandez
   Boxtop Landscape
   oil on canvas

Honnie Wagner, Artist and Mother

My mother, Honnie Wagner, is an artist. Although she didn't do much art while she was raising her children, she did paint illustrations of nursery rhymes and sailing scenes on our bedroom walls. I especially loved to watch her draw realistic pictures of people and animals. It seemed like magic.

As a child, I frequently explored the boxes of art supplies my mom had stored in the basement, drawing with her pastels or experimenting with her India ink.

My mom continues to be an inspiration because in recent years she has been painting regularly, focusing on folkloric Spanish scenes.

Doña Juana la Loca, by Emilio Fernandez, oil on canvas

   Emilio Fernandez
   Doña Juana La Loca
   interpretation of a painting
   by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz
   oil on canvas

Emilio Fernandez, Artist and Grandfather

My mom grew up with a parent who was an artist, too. My grandparents immigrated in 1914 from the Spanish province of Asturias. They settled in Havana, Cuba; Bayonne, NJ; and Anmoore, WV. Emilio was a painter of landscape, still life, and religious themes. Knowing that he was an artist made becoming an artist seem like a realistic goal.

Emilio had done paintings for a number of churches and businesses. In 1993, I got to know how he worked when my mother and I restored a large altarpiece he had painted for the Brushy Fork Church near Bridgeport, WV.

Next page    >>    The Divinity of Nakedness

on working with the nude human figure

About the Artist: On Art-making and Artist-making

About the Artist: Introductions   Art Zoller Wagner as painter, teacher, learner

Growing Up with Art  influences on my art, artists in the family

Ser hidalgo  on having time to daydream

Creative Bud  a playful friendship sparks imagination

Visual Arts Workshops & Classes  for college students & adults

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