Barbara Hines has been painting and studying art for most of her life but it wasn't until Thursday that she held her first solo show — at Meredith Long & Co. Before the cocktail reception launching the exhibition concluded, most of her 40 pieces were sold.
It was a heady moment for both the artist and her husband, international developer Gerald Hines, who on this rare evening was the one on the edge of the spotlight.
Although they maintain a residence in River Oaks, the Hineses haven't really lived in Houston for more than a decade. They make their beds in London most of the year and in Aspen during the summer. But the coterie of high-profile figures that turned out for the exhibition was testament to the couple's strong Houston ties and friendships. Brenda and John Duncan, Leslie and Jack Blanton Jr., Lois Stark, Kelli and Eddy Blanton and Ellen Wagnon were among those saluting the artist's talents.
Gallery owners Cornelia and Meredith Long and Martha Long Lipsitz welcomed the well-heeled contingent. It was, in fact, Cornelia and Meredith who inspired Barbara to do the show. Each summer, the Hineses host a party at their Aspen home for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and, at each, Barbara displays one of her recent paintings as a backdrop to the podium. Two summers ago, the Longs were so taken with a contemporary impressionist landscape that Barbara had done that they encouraged Barbara to do a solo exhibition.
"Then, I had to produce," she said, adding that she paints in her private studios in London, Aspen and the South of France. Barbara professionally trained as a designer at the New York School of Design and at the Pratt Institute and through the years has studied painting with a number of teachers. She began working in oils in earnest once her two children were in college and she then had time to focus.
The Meredith Long show was comprised primarily of oils with seven pieces in watercolor. Explaining her work, Barbara said that she as evolved her own style over the years employing contemporary and traditional techniques. "I use different marks in my work. I think it broadens the vocabulary. I use rollers, scrapers my fingers. I pour paint. I throw paint."
Her works were widely praised by the admiring audience. Even Lynn Wyatt had her eye on one particularly dramatic landscape.
But this was not your typical show for Meredith Long & Co. Barbara Hines is donating all of the proceeds from her paintings to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Aishel House, a housing and meal service for Texas Medical Center patients and their families. Among exhibition guests was M.D. Anderson president John Mendelsohn and wife Anne.
Others in the mix perusing the paintings were artist Ruth Munson, Diane Lokey Farb, JoRuth Kaplan, Margaret Love, Bette and Trent Campbell, Louis Skidmore and Courtney Lanier Sarofim.
Next up on Barbara's palette is a sailing venture around the world. She and Gerald have commissioned a sailing vessel from a ship builder in the Netherlands. "The sweet man put a studio on board for me," she said. The yacht is expected to be ready for launch in March and the couple will head out shortly after aboard the Lady B for their round-the-world voyage. On this adventure, Barbara expects to be painting exclusively in watercolors.