The career path that brought her to this point has been anything but straightforward, however.
Born in Texas, raised in Florida and educated in Virginia and Colorado, the artist was an educator first, teaching art history and art appreciation at the college level.
“I’ve got a couple of degrees,” she notes. “I’ve done a variety of jobs – just all sorts of things.”
She worked in offices, served as arts administrator in a museum, even tended bar.
Russell eventually found her way to Delta, and then Cedaredge.
“I had friends here,” she recalled. “One day in church, a woman turned around, looked at me and said, ‘You have such a beautiful voice, you need to sing in a choir.’ I thought that was such a lovely thing to say!”
Unmarried at the time and lacking a more definite plan, Russell did exactly as the woman advised, and joined the choir, the church and the community where she resides to this day.
Her pieces can currently be found at the Around the Corner Gallery in Montrose, the AppleShed Arts Complex in Cedaredge and the Creamery Arts Center in Hotchkiss, as well as in Tucson, Cheyenne and Sarasota, Fla. Russell’s work debuts at the Denver Art Gallery at 1216 East Colfax beginning Feb. 21. She has also contributed work to public art displays in Minnesota, South Dakota and Colorado.
“Great Expectations” was inspired by a previous Russell sculpture titled “Killer Bunny.”
“I really liked that piece,” she said. “So I decided to do a standing bunny too, and this one is the standing bunny. I like long ears, so I exaggerated them and made them a compositional factor that describes the bunny – all of the things that bunnies are. They are fuzzy little creatures. This one happens to have a smile on its face – I don’t know how it got there.
“All in all, it just sort of grew and happened,” she said.
Other works by Russell that have been included in Public Art eXperience sculpture displays are “Descending Angel” (2007) and “Horse of the Plains” (2008).
“I do a lot of work in the community, paying back what it has given to me,” Russell said. “And I take one day at a time.”
The Montrose Public Art eXperience aims to create a more pleasing visual environment, expand opportunities to experience quality works of art, and facilitate the development, acquisition and display of art in Montrose’s public spaces.
PAX is a joint project of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, the City of Montrose and the PAX Steering Committee. For more information visit www.cityofmontrose.org/art or call the Montrose Chamber of Commerce at 249-5000.