Alto Artists’ Studio Tour
Spotlighting Artist Lynette Watkins

The idea that one is in control of things evaporates in the face of extreme loss.  One either becomes consumed with the loss or becomes a part of the restoration process.  “As an artist and art teacher, I have had high respect for the creative process.  This lends itself greatly to looking at that involved in restoration,” remarks Lynette Watkins.

An accomplished Ruidoso-based artist with accolades from Santa Fe to Italy, Lynette Watkins is a painter and professor of art at college and university levels.  In fact she was with a class in Italy when the Little Bear Fire took her home, thus rearranging her life.  She states,“When we rebuilt, it was important to us to use the lost trees in contemporary ways in the design of our home.  We were amazed at the beauty inside those charred logs and determined from there to create Restoration Bear, a wood-design studio specializing in the creative use of trees lost to fire, wind, and other forces.”

“At Restoration Bear, we look at the hillsides in this area and see opportunities to discover beauty.  We find the ebonized wood to be similar to wood finished using the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi. Whenever possible, we utilize this contemporary design element in combination with the hardened interior of the wood.  It takes a shift in mindset to look at the hillside and not grieve “what was” but instead to see “what will be”. “

Lynette considers the restoration process very personal to her own recovery and in a broader sense also for the local region.  For that reason, Restoration Bear is working to setup for a portion of its proceeds to be contributed to restoring the area.

“I am fortunate enough to own the most beautiful console table, custom designed by Restoration Bear for my New York apartment!  It is made from a juniper tree that was partially burned in a forest fire.   The artists at Restoration Bear took the beautiful wood that remained and added a custom cherry wood base to make the table.  I am the envy of all my friends.  Thank you Restoration Bear!” notes New York patron, F. Hebert.

The pieces in the Restoration Bear collection are a collaborative effort by Lynette Watkins, her son Blake Watkins, and artist Calvin Hudgins.  You will recognize the influence in the paintings of Lynette Watkins as color, water, and life emerge in textural imagery.