Impressionist oil painter Amos Westmoreland is also a Colorist, and he’s bringing the colors of autumn into Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis with a new show, “All Nature Sings.” The public is invited to meet the artist and hear his story at the show’s opening reception on Saturday, September 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Westmoreland’s show features 22 new paintings―created entirely with the palette knife. The show is hanging now through October 13 and includes oils depicting various scenes, such as autumn trees, pastoral valleys, light-dappled forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, and sheep. The show offers a variety of canvas sizes, ranging from 30 by 40 inches, down to six by six inches, small enough to sit on a tabletop easel or inside bookshelves.
Westmoreland says he enjoys being a Colorist painter, “because I like to paint landscape scenes that have mountains, which can anchor a painting with an added color that you normally would not use. It’s rare that you actually see a purple mountain through atmosphere, but as artists, we have that creative luxury to paint them any color that works in a painting.
“I prefer to paint very loose landscapes, and the palette knife helps in that process. Over the past several years, the palette knife has become my ‘weapon’ of choice when applying paint to canvas. It keeps me from focusing on details too quickly. Also, the biggest advantage is the distinct application of thick texture and powerful color.”
When asked which painting in this new show is his favorite, Westmoreland says, “I never pick a favorite painting in a show. They are all my favorites, or they would not be in the show. That’s like picking your favorite child. Some behave better than others, but it’s the difficult ones that demand more attention and you work the hardest on.”
Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde says that her favorite is the signature piece of the show, bearing its title, “All Nature Sings,” which is a line from a hymn.
“To me,” says Hyde, “the trees in this painting are lined up like a choir, joyfully singing out to the distant mountain. Westmoreland’s new paintings really do seem to sing! His strong use of color, layered with the palette knife, brings joy to the viewers―which is why he’s one of the best selling painters in my gallery.”
Westmoreland says that he paints based on the many photos he shoots, especially of the Valle Crucis area. He laughs, saying, “You can’t do a landscape show without a painting of the Watauga River! But seriously, the hard part is narrowing down my photos to the ones that will work in my style, which I call CBS. Colorful. Bold. Simple.”
Westmoreland says, “I actually try not to think too much while I’m painting, but first I spend a great deal of time thinking and analyzing the various stages of the painting. I get very excited about the process of painting! This year, my canvas preparation was different, because I wanted more texture than usual and spots of color showing in the under-painting.
“After I study my photo that I’m using for the subject of a painting to get the composition the way I want it and to identify the light source, I then use the rest of my time creating the painting the way that I want it to be. I try to not think about if anyone is going to like my painting, but to just be in the moment, in the process of painting. It’s important that I’ve done what I set out to do in capturing the mood or the feel of the painting. This year, I especially enjoyed how the palette knife paintings are more loose and fresh, with so much color and texture.”
His hope for customers is that his paintings “will cause them to pause and reflect, to take some time to have their own personal moment with the painting. I really do appreciate that. Also, as a Colorist, I hope they’ll look at my work and think, ‘I really love those colors and that heavy texture.’ I believe that an artist’s work should connect emotionally and/or spiritually with the viewer.”
The Artist Reception is a part of the monthly “Tour de Art,” which showcases seven galleries and studios. Maps of the tour are available at Alta Vista and at each stop on the tour. The event is held on the fourth Saturday of each month, June through November.
On October 22, the gallery will host plein air painter Monique Carr showing 25 new oils.
Alta Vista Gallery also shows more than 100 other artists in various mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastels, prints, stained glass, art tiles, and Mangum Pottery.
Alta Vista Gallery is located minutes from Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk, in a National Register historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Historic Valle Crucis, NC―between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. (For GPS, use Banner Elk zip code, 28604.)
For a map with written directions, visit the website. Please e-mail, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247, for more information. Also, follow the frequent posts on the gallery’s page on Facebook!