CHARLESTON, SC -- After helping my daughter move out of her dorm room at The College of Charleston a couple of weeks ago (which, I must say, is a creative challenge all its own, due to the lack of on-street parking!), I stayed on for a few more days to attend an art workshop.
Of course, I love painting anytime and anywhere, but painting at the Church of Our Saviour on Johns Island for two days was a highlight for me because I discovered an amazing series of paintings in its narthex. The artist is none other than Mary Whyte, one of my favorites.
I was first introduced to Whyte's work several years ago when I had the privilege of seeing her "Working South" show at the Greenville (SC) County Museum of Art. Whyte is known for her watercolor work, but the series at the church was done in oils. I was told she used child members of the church as her models. The frames were handcrafted by her former husband and are a work of art in themselves, each one with its portion of the Bible verse Isaiah 42:10 inscribed in calligraphic gold leaf. At breaktime, I would stand before them in awe and admiration. My fascination with them also seemed to confirm my recent creative urges to paint more people.
My second favorite thing about the week was exploring Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. For the second day of the workshop, we painted en plein air there. I stayed on and walked the trails (my phone told me I logged over 9 miles that day!), having the best time photographing peacocks, egrets, flora and alligators. Most exciting was hearing two gators bellowing in the creek. Wow! What an incredibly beautiful place.
I was recently honored to contribute to a very worthy cause by donating one of my paintings to a silent charity auction.
OneWorld Health's vision is to see impoverished communities take ownership in a sustainable healthcare model, so that they become empowered to bring about long-term change and tangible improvements in their health and quality of life. Their mission is to provide quality, affordable healthcare to people in need. By the year 2020, they plan to have 20 health centers built throughout Uganda and Nicaragua.
"We are driven by the conviction that we’re all created equal in the image of God, but not all of us are treated equally. We believe that where you are born should not determine whether you have the ability to meet basic human needs like healthcare." -- OneWorld Health0
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA -- As we do every year, my family enjoyed a beautiful Easter on St. Simons Island, where I grew up.
My mother still resides on the island and is a member of historical Christ Church Frederica. We attended the Easter vigils there and at its sister parish, St. Ignatius. The church is very blessed to have floral designer David Lowe (of Edward On St. Simons) as a member, because he creates the most INCREDIBLE floral arrangements both inside and outside of the building.
Got in a little putt putt, beach walking, bike riding, sunset watching, and painting while there. Always a fabulous time! I love the Golden Isles!
Through The Eyes of Unfamiliarity
"Strangers Passing Through" was inspired from a day I spent painting en plein air at a friend's farm in Rockwell, NC, a couple of years ago. Though it was December, it was quite warm, hovering around 70 degrees.--not unlike the majority of this most recent winter!
I read once in a book on creativity how we are more observant in places where we are strangers. I guess that lines up with the old adage, "Familiarity breeds contempt."
May we always have new eyes to see, even those things that we know like the back of our hand.
"We're all strangers passing through a place and time afternoon
Life is but a vision in a window that we're peeking through."
--from Difference Maker by needtobreathe
YADKINVILLE, NC--My latest show, "Steel Forests: Leaves, Limbs and Landscapes" opened last night at the Yadkin Arts Council. The show is a collaborative one featuring the incredible sculptures of Howard Bemus alongside some of my landscape paintings. It will remain on exhibit through March 30, 2018.
Howard is a classically-trained Bonsai artist who creates "trees you can't kill" out of metal.
Howard, whom I found to be as delightful and personable as he is creative, studied art in college and worked in commercial photography for many years.
When photography moved into the digital realm, Howard felt it was time for a change. He became interested in the art of Bonsai and moved to Florida to study under a master. There, he learned to create the shapes and textures of real trees that he would eventually translate through his sculpture. He took a job at a friend’s metal shop in Greensboro, discovered welding and began experimenting with the scraps of metal left over from each day’s work. (source: Fox8News)
In addition to the pleasure of meeting Howard and having my paintings displayed amongst his beautiful sculptures, I was also thrilled to see what a truly gorgeous space the Wellborn Gallery is. The gallery also serves as the lobby of the Willingham Theater. I was intrigued by its great-looking lineup, which includes several fun musicals like "Footloose" and "Almost Heaven" as well as concerts by popular musicians such as the Malpass Brothers (fair warning: get your tickets early if you see something you like, as many are already sold out!).
I was told by Yadkin Chamber Director Bobby Todd there are 15 vineyards in the Yadkinville area, which promote many events and festivals. If you're looking for the perfect Valentine's weekend or other romantic getaway, consider booking one of the area's charming bed-and-breakfasts, attending a wine and food event, and seeing a concert or dramatic performance at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center--you simply can't go wrong! The Center is also home to multiple art galleries, artist studios, creative classrooms, and the Center Bistro. Click here to read more about the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center and its history in this article from Our State Magazine.
Billboards displaying artwork
What do Charlotte, Charleston, Beaufort and Las Vegas have in common? These cities, along with 10 others, are home to ArtPop Street Galleries.
Perhaps you’ve been in one of these cities and noticed a billboard or digital display in the airport which featured an artwork and the artist’s name. Maybe it caught your eye and possibly even lifted your spirits or intrigued you enough to google the artist or ArtPop.
ArtPop’s mission is to promote local artists’ work and make art accessible to communities through available media space. Quite literally a “street gallery,” ArtPop promotes the work of local artists on available media space – billboards, buses, news racks, airports – turning roads, highways and thoroughfares into opportunities for artistic appreciation and discovery.
My Artwork on a billboard
I was recently honored to have my art chosen as one of the 20 pieces which will grace billboards and other public media in the greater Charlotte area throughout 2018. My painting, “Where My Help Comes From,” is now greeting travelers from a billboard on Interstate 85 northbound, just past Exit 63 – often a place where traffic stalls due to construction.
“In a time when arts budgets are on the chopping block and we struggle to disconnect from our devices, public art is more important than ever. So much more than a beautiful addition to our urban landscape, public art unites, strengthens and grows communities. ArtPop ensures those communities always have access to art by supporting the artists that create it, giving them huge public canvases on which to create.” – Artpop Street Gallery website
Thanks, ArtPop, for helping us #enjoyyourcommute by enriching the view above the concrete jungle.
This painting, "Where My Help Comes From" (24X48 inches, oil on canvas), was inspired by a view I caught on the Blue Ridge Parkway last summer. My husband and I were enjoying a stay at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. While he was in a business meeting, I took the opportunity to explore--one of my very favorite things to do! I drove the Parkway, stopping at various places and soaking up the beauty.
The title is from Psalm 121:, a song of ascents.:
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains--
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.."
Holy Bible, New International Version®