Linville Ridge painter Joan Sporn knows all about the emotional journeys that life heaves at us, hence her new art show’s title, “An Emotional Journey: Contemporary Impressionist Oils.”
The public is invited to Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis to chat with the artist on Saturday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served at the reception and the show will hang through mid July.
“Joan Sporn is the hero of everyone who knows her,” said gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde, who has represented the artist for 17 years. “She always stays positive. She is always friendly and thoughtful and has a smile for everyone, no matter what is going on in her life. She says that creating paintings is her therapy, but I think that her paintings are therapy for all of us who get to view them.”
Because the artist’s work tends to evolve ever year, Sporn’s latest batch of 23 oils are different from her past work.
“I hope that, as people look at my paintings, they have a good journey that brings them joy,” Sporn said. “I wanted to be a bit more abstract because abstract paintings are more about emotions and about letting the painting take you somewhere.”
Hyde agrees that the viewer’s experience is equally as significant as the artists in this show.
“These new paintings create more of an emotional journey for the viewer, who will be forced to think and to feel to see where the painting takes them,” said Hyde. “Part of the viewers’ emotional journey is from the many colors that Sporn uses, because colors make us feel various emotions.”
“An Emotional Journey” features a large variety of shapes, sizes and subjects, including: rivers, lakes, mountain views, forests, flowers, waterfalls, historic farmhouses and barns, chefs and musicians.
Hyde said Sporn has remained the gallery’s best-selling artist for many years, a trend she anticipates will continue in the future.
“There is a quote from the famous painter Matisse that sums up Joan’s work: ‘Creativity takes courage,’” Hyde said. “To paint the way Joan Sporn does really does take courage, and people admire that.”
Sporn said she’s been pushing color to its limits in her latest works, and she likes it when viewers compare it to that of Wolf Kahn, a colorist painter she admires.
Sporn also said the following about “An Emotional Journey” and her recent works:
“I’m also trying to be more abstract, yet definable. I still want the viewer to know what they’re looking at, but I don’t want to show too many details, yet I don’t want to lose the subject. The hardest thing is to decide what to put in a painting and what to leave out. I’m trying harder to create simplicity.
“After many years of painting, I feel like I have new vision now. I used to see a photo and paint what the photo had in it. Now, I can look at a photo that I’ve used in the past, but create a painting that is nothing like the photo or the older paintings that came from it. I can re-invent that old photo and make a new painting that looks how I want it to look, independent of the photo, using my imagination.
“Another thing I did differently this year was no sketches! I wanted my paintings to be more spontaneous, and there were some nice surprises!
“This is how I’ve always wanted to paint, and I’m having fun with it. While painting, I don’t think about what other people like. I paint what Joan Sporn likes. I like a small realistic touch, but not so much that it tells me everything. I think people should use their imaginations and create their own story for a painting.”
Alta Vista Gallery hosts monthly receptions as part of the “Tour de Art” event series, which is held on the fourth Saturday of each month between June and November in Avery County.
Alta Vista’s July 23 event, “Mountain Vistas,” will feature new oils by Sheila Wood Hancock.
Map-brochures for “Tour de Art” are available at Alta Vista Gallery and at the other sites on the tour.
Alta Vista Gallery is located at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex, only 10 minutes from Boone or Banner Elk. The two-story gallery is located in a National Register of Historic Properties farmhouse and is also currently showing new works by more than 100 other artists in oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, collage and limited edition prints, as well as sculptures, stained glass, art tiles and Mangum Pottery.
For more information, including a map and directions, visit www.altavistagallery.com, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247, or visit the gallery’s page on Facebook.