Artist Hugh Campbell III will be bringing his collection of paintings to the Carnegie Library for a special show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dubbed “Ballinger's artist” Campbell said he will be bringing a variety of works which depict western art and area interests.
Artist Hugh Campbell III has seen a lot in his day – he’s also painted and sculpted many images too.
Campbell will be bringing his collection of paintings to the Carnegie Library for a special show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dubbed “Ballinger’s artist” Campbell said he will be bringing a variety of works which depict western art and area interests.
The Ballinger native began painting when he was just a child at Ballinger Elementary School. He would go on to graduate from Ballinger High School in 1958 and would begin by doing mostly portraits, of teachers and friends in the community.
Campbell, whose main medium is oil, said he began going over to a studio owned by Ted and Martha Shelton in Brownwood, where he would paint portraits on the weekends. He painted portraits in Brownwood, Coleman, Brady and yes, in Ballinger.
Some of the notable subjects he painted included the late Judge Grindstaff, Ballinger science teacher Morris Sweeney and Maryette Smith, the Latin and math teacher. He also painted Norma Brown, the first woman commander of the U.S. Air Force.
One of his contemporaries once told him “you can’t paint a bad portrait.”
“You have to read people very closely,” Campbell said of painting portraits.
One of his greatest projects, was the creation of “The Friend” the bronze statue that majestically adorns Ballinger City Park. He recalled that it was a very long process and involved students at Ballinger High School.
“It took two years from start to finish,” Campbell recalled, adding that the casting portion of the project was done at a warehouse at Mueller, Inc. in Ballinger. “So kids could come in and watch.”
The eight foot tall statue was dedicated in 2015.
“The kids worked so hard on this with me,” Campbell said. “It has been a blessing.”
Since then, he has sold more than a dozen of the smaller versions of “The Friend” at art shows.
Campbell, a rancher by trade, began painting as an avocation early on, but 35 years ago, he made it his full time job. Since then, he has traveled all over the state, nation and world for shows and to create.
He has sent his work to shows and has been invited to show across the country. He has won numerous prestigious art awards.
In the mid-80s after trips to the Middle East and the Holy Land, Campbell created a series of works.
He also has a special affinity for burros.
“These domesticated animals can win the heart of the hardest of hearts,” he wrote on his website. “They can be stubborn and balky, but they bear the heaviest of loads and go where most other four-footed creatures would never go! There is something artistic about them that will draw (pardon the pun) any artist's attention! And there's nothing cuter than a little burro.”
But when it is all said and done, it is all about the art. And his passion for what he does is palpable.
Some have asked Campbell when he works and how he knows when to stop when he is painting.
“There’s days I stay glued to it and there’s others when you just do the best you can,” Campbell said.
He will have between 20-25 works on display this weekend at the Carnegie Library.
No matter what, he is humbled by the support he has received over the years from all
“There are so many people that have really supported me,” Campbell said. “It’s such a blessing. They have allowed me to do what I love to do.”