Throughout his life, Gary Ferrier always enjoyed drawing and woodcarving. He never thought about making art his career though.


During the winter of 2011, he was snowed in for three days and it occurred to him that he should be doing something more fulfilling in his life.


That was when he took his horse paintings and carving and started getting involved with area art organizations. Ferrier’s work has been featured at the Creative Arts Center in Bonham, the Magnolia Festival in Durant, Oklahoma, the Madill Art Show in Oklahoma, and the Sherman Art League.


Ferrier is one of 10 artists featured at an ongoing exhibit at the Sherman Public Library.


“I like color in my work,” Ferrier said in an email interview. “Anything can catch my eye and I try to put it in my memory bank for a future project. I keep a camera or cell phone with me at all times for that something that catches my attention. I look at things differently now. Some times, I create something with a certain person in mind — something they may like.”


Ferrier has been involved with equestrian activities for many years and says that he always wanted to be a cowboy.


“During this time, I accumulated many photographs from trail rides, especially in New Mexico,” his email said. “As I transformed from a glob of mud on canvas, to something recognizable, I started painting trail riding buddies on horseback and taking the paintings to the annual ride. I was very pleased with the response which was very encouraging to my art career. Due to this, I have many paintings around the South West area.”


Since then, his quest to be creative has taken him in many directions. For him the journey has always been about having fun.


“Some things just find you,” he said. “Actually, I think most things find you. A few years back a friend gave me a wood lathe. What more can I say — I make wooden bowls and vases now. I enjoy carving because it takes me back to my childhood, when I made my own toys. I enjoy working with wood from my own property.”


After a lot of YouTube exploration, trial and error and encouragement to show his art, Ferrier began meeting area artists and learned about the community of artists in this area.


“You must check these out,” he said about the art meetings held around Texoma. “If you are interested in viewing, doing, buying or just having a road trip, these great people would welcome you. They did me. If you want some original art in your home for a great price, these are the places to be. I have also received several ribbons and awards for my endeavors. Not to mention a little money.”


Being a part of these organizations also helped Ferrier learn how to manage his time as an artist.


“I spend time almost every day on art,” he said. “I’m always working on several projects. When I have to do something “not art” I am always being pulled back. I don’t like to use the word “work” in this instance but can’t think of another. Every emotion you can think of goes on when you are working on something. You are on highs and lows but keep on going; you fight it and it fights you. You think it’s not going to work out, but then there it is. Should I stop here? Is it finished? Should I add more here? Do I walk away? I hang it on the wall, walk by the next day, the next day, a week later. I don’t know. Is it finished? I don’t think it’s finished until I sell it.”


Ferrier is currently studying with Marilyn Todd Daniels at the WoodSong Institute of Art in Whitewright.


“I met Marilyn several years ago at an art study group and I knew she could help me,” he said. “We just clicked. This is not just a study group, it is an experience. This year we started with the basics, and are moving through different mediums, letting each person involved take us to different areas. Drawing, oil, acrylic, watercolor and color pencil. You never stop learning. You learn as you go. That’s the only way you learn. Everything you create teaches you. Every artist you talk to and interfaces with, enhances you. You have to paint to learn to paint. All I know is I have to do this.”


Now, Ferrier can find art in anything.


“One day, on my place, a large dead oak tree had given up and fell to the ground,” he said. “This is a gold mine for a wood carver, but I already had so much and no place to store it. I harvested all I could for firewood and had to burn the rest. As I was pushing the remains into the roaring fire, I noticed some gnarly wood on the huge stump. I saw something in the wood so I grabbed my chainsaw and began cutting it off to save it as the roaring fire baked my face and arm. I was almost finished when I had to back away from the heat.”


He then grabbed his sledge hammer and wedge to remove the piece.


“Finally, after forcibly pulling it from its nesting place, I managed to save it,” his email said. “I spent the next 3 days getting out of bed in agony. My back was shot. Three weeks later, I am still not right. I’ll have to mention this to my doctor. I’m still not sure what I’ll do with the gnarly piece of wood.”


Art has become not just a form of self expression, it has been a way for Ferrier to get to know himself.


“When you show your work, you put yourself out there,” he said. “This is you. I think some people don’t want to do that. When you get older, maybe it doesn’t matter so much. I like people to be honest with their opinion — it makes me work harder. Don’t worry, I am my worst critic — well maybe.”


For more information on Ferrier’s art, visit http://www.FerrierArt.com.


Future Brown is the lifestyles and entertainment editor for the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at sbrown@heralddemocrat.com.