Tahlequah Daily Press


February 4, 2014

After retiring, sculpting is Lucht’s new ‘job’

TAHLEQUAH — When viewing art through the ages, people can learn a lot about history – including clothing styles, landscapes of communities and people who attended events.

They can also discover what paints were made of, what stones were used for creating statues, and even where silver, gold or bronze came from. The elements, like what gemstones or colors are used, can be clues.

When artist Becky Lucht was growing up, she never cared for history – at least not until she starting taking art history classes in college.

“Then suddenly, everything began to have a context for me,” said Lucht.

For Lucht, artists are like historians, interpreting cultural change, events and emotions and helping articulate the collective thinking of each era.

“And I think that’s an important job,” Lucht said. “I used to think I was driven to make art because I wanted to leave something tangible behind, but now I think it’s just part of who I am.”

About a year ago, Lucht retired from the Muskogee Phoenix as the advertising director, and was formerly the marketing director.

“I think it’s tough to make it [as an artist]. You really have to have a strong drive and work ethic and confidence in yourself and talent,” she said.

Currently she’s concentrating on soapstone sculptures and watercolors, but she’s pretty much dabbled in everything.

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve been making art. I know I hated coloring books and trying to ‘stay in the lines.’ I always wanted to draw my own pictures,” she said.

Her artistic expression was influenced by growing up in the rural community of Garner, Iowa.

“The rural, bucolic Iowa scenery shows up in my color palette, which tends toward the earthy colors, and perhaps my tendency to revert to livestock when I can’t think of anything else to paint,” she said.

After she graduated from the University of Minnesota, Mankato, with a degree in art, her plan to be a teacher was soon diverted.

“I discovered that wasn’t really my calling. I was more attracted to commercial art and graphic design, then to marketing,” said Lucht.

In her past artistic endeavors, she has especially enjoyed bronze-casting, silver-smithing and stained glass, in addition to painting. Inspiration comes from nature and other artists.

“I’ve been obsessed with horses my entire life” she said. “I started drawing horses in third or fourth grade with enough success that my friends said I should be an artist. From such humble beginnings, the seed was planted.”

As life cycles around, she seems to be in a horsey phase now.

“I really like doing architectural type paintings, and hope to get back to that soon,” she said. “And I love doing paintings with a little surrealism.”

In addition to sculpture, Lucht is planning a series of paintings and photos of small-town Oklahoma.

“I love looking at small houses in small towns and imagining the stories they tell,” she said.

Art reflects the era in which it is created. For Lucht, some of the cutting-edge work right now can be pretty bizarre.

“Perhaps it’s because we are in such a period of transition, with the electronic world pushing the explosion of available information in the world exponentially. I think it’s a reflection of information overload and uncertainty,” she said.

After retiring last year, Lucht said she’s been frenetic, like a kid let out of school, joining things and saying “yes” to everything she could.

“I was so excited to finally have time to follow my heart and couldn’t wait to get back into my art. Then I realized I had ‘painting reluctance,’ and was having a hard time even starting a painting, because I was feeling so rusty,” she said.

But soapstone sculpture, a three-dimensional form, helped get her started again.

“Then, for some reason, I thought it would be good to paint some cows, despite my obvious horse bias,” she said. “Cows just don’t seem to have as much soul, so my thinking was I wouldn’t have to try to capture more than the moment with them. Horses are so beautiful and soulful, I just wasn’t ready to try them.”

Stone sculpture is pretty physical, according to Lucht.

“It’s not overly forgiving if you mess up, but I’m learning the importance of getting the basics right, symmetrical where they should be, and patience,” she said. “Jim [Roaix] is great. He encourages you to do your own thing but is always there with an answer when you need him.”

There is a rhythm to sculpture that she loves.

“I find myself getting into a zone when I’m working on a piece, which is very hypnotic. I also love the serendipity of the finishing part of a project when the grain and color of the stone is finally revealed and the ugly duckling turns into the swan,” said Lucht.

She and husband Darrell Lucht have two grown children, Heather Lopez of Oklahoma City and Dylan Lucht of Fort Gibson, and six grandchildren.

She serves on a few boards, is working on a master gardener certification and avidly competes in long-distance trail riding with the North American Trail Riding Conference with her Missouri fox trotter, “Tango.”

Text Only
  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • alcohol-info.jpg Alcohol screening can be critical

    It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
    Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
    Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn-CCSO-2.jpg Law enforcement agencies to get new facility

    Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
    The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
    “This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Holiday Inn.tif Promise Hotels to build Holiday Inn Express prototype

    Tulsa-based company Promise Hotels broke ground recently on the nation’s first new Holiday Inn Express & Suites prototype. The new 46,000 square foot, 80-room hotel will be in Tahlequah near the intersection of South Muskogee Avenue and the highway loop.
    Construction will begin immediately with an anticipated completion date of February 2015. The $7.22 million hotel will feature a new contemporary look with an indoor pool, sauna, fitness center, and larger meeting room.

    April 9, 2014 3 Photos


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?