Hundreds are grieving the loss of beloved Linville Ridge artist Joan Sporn who died this year following an extended battle with cancer. Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis represented Sporn for 21 years and is hosting her art show, “Contemporary Impressionism,” and the Sporn family is donating 10% of the proceeds of her sales to cancer research.
Sporn’s show will feature 25 to 30 framed oil paintings and will hang from July 17 to August 14.
On July 28, the public is invited to attend the show’s opening reception. Drop in from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to enjoy the show and to mingle with others celebrating together how Sporn’s work mirrors her life.
“Sporn’s art always mirrored her life,” says gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde. “Colorful. Energetic. Emotional. Bold. Fun. That’s why she was the gallery’s best-selling artist for two decades. Customers love her bright colors and heavy, bold brush strokes and palette-knife marks.
“Matisse said, ‘Creativity takes courage,’ and it definitely takes courage to paint in the bold way that Joan did, so I’ll add courage to the list of attributes. She also had courage in her battle with ovarian cancer, doing all she could to enjoy life. She was always a positive person – before cancer and during it.
“Her personality was genuine and friendly, so she was loved by everyone who met her. She always asked how you were doing, and then she truly listened. And fun, she was so much fun! She laughed a lot, which made people feel happy around her. There’s a lot we can learn from how Joan lived.
“The gallery often gets e-mail notes from customers saying how much they liked Joan and how they enjoy the Sporn paintings they own. She is missed by so many. The High Country has lost a treasure — a wonderful person, as well as a successful artist.”
The Sporn show features oil paintings in a variety of sizes and subjects, including: rivers, mountains, trees, musicians, chefs, flower gardens.
Sporn began making art as a child. As a young adult, she painted in the “Abstract Expressionist” style. In the 1990s, she studied weekly with the late Jim Crompton, whose Impressionist style influenced Sporn’s work a great deal.
“After many years of studying with Crompton, Joan’s very loose Impressionist style caused her to become Alta Vista Gallery’s best-seller,” says Hyde.
“When Jim Crompton died, Joan began taking as many classes as she could, with as many different teachers as she could find. She felt it was important to keep learning throughout life, to stretch yourself, to not get in a rut. For example, she was planning to do a workshop a few days before she died, and she was painting right up to the end.
“The current Sporn paintings shown at Alta Vista Gallery are Contemporary Impressionist style, because they push to the edge some things, like color choices. Joan always said that she liked her paintings to be ‘a bit abstract, but not so abstract that people don’t know what they’re looking at. Abstraction is about emotions, and I want viewers of my art to have a good journey that brings them joy.’
“Joan also often said, ‘My art is my therapy.’ But I say that her art is our therapy, for all of us who get to enjoy it.”
Directions to the gallery: Alta Vista Gallery is located in a National Register historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis – between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex – only 10 minutes from Boone. For info, call 828/963-5247 or visit www.AltaVistaGallery.com or the gallery’s page on Facebook.
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