Two artists whose work is in the new “Everything Is Relative” exhibit at the Hannibal Arts Council met in France, where their pastel art brought them together.

Two artists whose work is in the new “Everything Is Relative” exhibit at the Hannibal Arts Council met in France, where their pastel art brought them together.

Cecil Houel was attending an event in her native France, where David Garrison of Burlington, Iowa, was asked to teach pastel art.

As an American he needed to learn French, and when the leader asked if anyone could teach him, Houel raised her hand.

This led to a lengthy friendship, she said.  “We had a great friendship together, and it turned out to be a marriage.”

Now they split their time between France and his home in Iowa.

The new exhibit opened Friday, May 23, at the HAC, 105 S. Main St., with a reception to honor the artists.

The exhibit will continue until Friday, July 4. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The work of well-known Hannibal artist Len Moss is also featured in the exhibit.

Garrison and Houel are not the only married couple with art in the exhibit.

Bob Hoke and T-Marie Nolan, who have lived in Hannibal for 10 years, have many of their pictures on exhibit.

Nolan’s pictures are painted on recycled wood, when she can find it, she said. One of her favorites in the new exhibit began as an animal with angel wings, then she added antlers.

Now this is her only three-dimensional work, Nolan said, because after she realized she had a deer rack at her home, she glued it on. She named it Pre-Dawn, and said it could represent mythological times and has also been described as having Celtic ties.

Some of her pictures have a Mark Twain connection, such as a frog jumping contest. “I read about Calaveras County,” she explained, and decided to do a picture including a frog and other items. And one small picture is two frogs.

Hoke explained that his picture, Leaving Las Vegas, gets attention on the internet, such as when someone looks for a Sheryl Crow song by the same name.

Although they live in Hannibal, Hoke’s and Nolan’s art is now sold on the Internet, Hoke said. They previously took it to art shows but have better results by selling online, he said.

Hoke’s work features faces of several bright colors, which he described as “jazzy improvisation.” He paints them with a long stick, explaining, “I drizzle it and let it dry overnight. Color is the key.”

Houel decided her favorite work in the new exhibit is a sunset in Brittany, France. She did it in pastels on sanded paper for texture.

Garrison paints with oils, and some of his favorite works are soft snows. “I enjoy the snow,” he said. He also has a pastel of the Eiffel Tower in the show.

Garrison was not a stranger to the HAC, he said, because he recently came to Hannibal to teach pastel landscape art to 16 people.

He will do another landscape pastel class from noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 1.

Houel also will teach art at the HAC. She will lead a class in portrait pastels from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 31.

See photo gallery for more pictures.