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“Voyages and Visions – A European Influence” On Display at Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk May 25 to June 23

by Erika Giovanetti

May 29, 2013. Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk unveiled its Spring Group Exhibition featuring “Voyages and Visions – A European Influence” by gallery artists Helen Farson, Gina Strumpf and Sharon Rusch Shaver, who enjoy travelling and painting in European regions such as Tuscany, Italy and the Provence region of France. The exhibit shows from May 25 until June 23.

The Spring Group Exhibition consists of a wide range of subject matter, but much of the artwork contains a rustic, natural element. Flowers, landscapes, and farms frequent the gallery and cover the spectrum from abstract to realism.

Farson's "A French Blue Lunch (Les Dames Galantes)"
Farson’s “A French Blue Lunch (Les Dames Galantes)”

Featuring a great turnout, the reception for the exhibition was Saturday, May 25, where Farson, Strumpf, and Shaver met for the first time.

“It was really nice to see them all meet and chat about their work,” said Toni Carlton, owner of the gallery.

“Voyages and Visions” features oil paintings on canvas capturing each artist’s interpretation of the atmosphere of the scenic European countries they visited. Subject matter ranges from café scenes to architecture and landscapes. Each painting displays the artist’s individual travelling experiences and vision of her European travels.

Farson has an elegant painting style that relates a sense of Old World charm. She uses oil paints on canvas, painting in an impressionist style with clear colors. One featured piece of hers, “A French Blue Lunch,” portrays a scene at a sidewalk café, a representation of the European way of life.

Farson teaches a workshop at Carlton Gallery September 24, 25 and 26 called “Keeping it Loose, Lively, and Fresh.” The class will focus on painting European landscapes, still life, florals, and more.

Strumpf uses patterns of light and shadow to inspire her work. Strumpf has travelled to Southern France and Tuscany for studies and workshops to focus on her skills and expand her vision by experiencing the European culture firsthand. “Red Umbrella” is a work of hers that utilizes the light, shadows, and reflections of a rainy day with her distinctive style.

The critically acclaimed Shaver also fronts the exhibition. Shaver is an award-winning and published artist who was commissioned to do a painting for the White House, which is in its permanent collection. Born into a family of painters, Shaver’s artistic talent allowed her to travel and visit galleries in the U.S. and Europe. She now teaches oil painting workshops in Europe.

New art by the standing gallery artists is also on display in the gallery for its spring exhibition and 31st anniversary. These artists work through various mediums, producing art ranging from traditional to contemporary in paintings, glass, wood, sculpture, clay, fiber and fine jewelry.

The gallery recently went through renovations to open the second floor to guests. A new staircase allows patrons to visit Toni Carlton’s gallery, which features her own artwork.

“We expanded the gallery with an indoor stairwell. It’s a nice expansion and opening of the gallery,” said Carlton.

Carlton Gallery’s next exhibition begins with a reception on Saturday, June 22, from 2 to 5 p.m., and features artist Andrew Braitman’s “Approaching the Edge of Color.” The exhibition lasts until July 21. Braitman also teaches workshops at the Carlton Gallery. To sign up for workshops, click here

Carlton Gallery is located at 10360 N.C. 105 in Banner Elk. For more information, click here or call the gallery at 828-963-4288.