The Davilas returned to their Bahia Bay home in Rockport after Hurricane Harvey to see utter destruction. After salvaging what they could, they began the process of rebuilding their lives. Their pieces of art which they had enjoyed seeing in their home were stored for the time being. After finally relocating to Pelican Cove in Aransas Pass it was time to see if the artwork could be restored.
Gingerly transporting the water damaged pieces, the Davilas arrived at Bowman Design and Framing in Portland, Texas. After consulting with Dinah Bowman, owner and artist, the Davila’s art pieces were added to the framing workflow of Manager Betsy Wagner. These pieces to be matted and framed brings the number of Harvey art restorations in her care past the 350 mark.
About 90% of the pieces which have come to Bowman’s for restoration can be done there but they have a network of experts available for consultation. Acrylic and oil paintings are restored by one person and a conservator in Austin restores pieces Dinah feels are beyond her expertise such as historical documents. “It takes a village,” said Dinah Bowman.
Beyond the storm-related restoration, the normal gallery business continues. Customers bring photographs, prints, watercolors, oil paintings…anything they want professionally matted and framed. Dinah’s original art in a variety of media is also displayed in the shop.
Dinah Bowman began professional artwork in 1979 when she opened Bowman Studio and Gallery. Her undergraduate degree is in Marine Science and Chemistry. At that time, she said she did not know anyone who made a living in art. After she completed the 130 illustrations for the book, Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, she made the shift into the field of art. Dinah designed own master’s program to include terrestrial biology and art which then led to opening her retail shop and begin framing.
Growing up in a military family, Dinah learned the printing art while her father was stationed in Japan. She brought these skills to the Texas Gulf Coast in the late 1960s. Her nature rubbings have been part of traveling exhibitions in the United States and Canada; Korea and Japan and on permanent display in the Smithsonian.
Now, as she intertwines her love of nature and art with a longing for travel, she has her own bucket list. She visited the Amazon, caught piranha and printed five of the seven species. Although she did not capture the 19-foot alligator, she did print it. In her printing process, the specimens are reinked and reused as she creates her prints.
Her next adventure includes visiting New Zealand to lecture and show her work through a connection with a framing client at the Portland shop. Another client has helped arrange an opportunity to travel to Tanzania to teach indigent peoples how to print. Dinah views this as helping the people use their available resources – cotton fabric, plants, and fish – to produce artwork to sell.
Meanwhile, in the North Bay area Dinah and Betsy, “The Artist Wrangler”, are continuing to complete the interior of a new membership gallery in downtown Aransas Pass and hope to open before Christmas.
The gallery will include art by Bowman and a variety of other artists including jewelry, stained glass, pottery makers and ceramics with a courtyard for outdoor art. Another retail space’s interior has been redesigned next door. Dinah Bowman has become part of the Aransas Pass downtown revival.
Bowman’s art is shown at Latitudes restaurant in Rockport and in the Rockport Gallery. Rockport Gallery also has been acting as a framing satellite for Bowman Design and Framing. Dinah is part of My Coastal World from the southern end to the northern part.
Dinah’s birthday will be celebrated August 10, 2018, at Cactus Flower Interiors, 3009 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, Texas. Her art will be on display and she looks forward to meeting nature and art lover guests.
“I’m still having fun!” ~ Dinah Bowman