A message from the Watauga Arts Council:
Oct. 5, 2012. The Watauga County Arts Council’s gallery (located in the Green Building at 783 W. King St.) features two gallery exhibitions each month. During the month of October, the two exhibits will be provided by The Blowing Rock Artist Group and the Artists of the Serendipity Gallery. The October exhibits will be featured at a reception on Oct. 5 from 6-8:30 p.m. Special music will be provided by “The Oompahs,” a traditional German music and polka band.
Blowing Rock Artist Group
The Blowing Rock Artist Group is a lively collection of artists who meet weekly at the Blowing Rock Library. Usually there are anywhere from 5 to 10 artists present, encouraging each other and offering critiques when requested. They work individually on their own artistic creations, which range from oil to acrylic to mixed media collage. The current exhibit features the work of eight artists: Ann Reed, Betsy Harris, Carole Sue Furman, Frances Atkinson, Janice Carter, Kathy Leahey, Mary Ann Baggstrom, Nancy Cope and Peggy Carlson.
Ann Reed expresses that painting is a joy for her in so many different ways – planning the colors to play together, creating light moods, painting a scene as her mind would like to see it. Lighting is key to her … how it hits the landscape or an object is the spark for the beginning of her paintings. She is predominately an oil painter, but also has a strong watercolor background. She began painting with oils as a young adult in Atlanta, discovering that the genetics of her talented wood carver father and an “artist” grandmother had been passed down to her. The passion of creating paintings was initiated! Her oil and watercolor painting have been most influenced by instructors Doris Hancock, Margaret Watts, Bonnie Brown Fergus, Joe Miller, and Jim Richards. Traveling to France for two art workshops with notable artist Connie Winters was the most fun. When Ann travels, whether it is far away or locally, a camera is usually at hand to capture the moment.
Betsy Harris started painting while living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, taking classes from Mary Ekroos, a well known seascape and portrait artist in the Chesapeake Bay region. Betsy’s chosen medium at that time was pastel which she still enjoys. It was while painting with an artist group in Florida that she was encouraged to paint with acrylics which led her to painting seascapes and the savannas of interior Florida. After painting in a class with the now deceased Jim Crompton, she became enamored with the buttery quality of oil paints. It is presently her preferred medium. Although Betsy continues to take classes from accomplished painters from time to time, she is on a road to developing her own individual style.
Carole Sue Furman grew up in Rochester, New York and received her undergrad degree from Buffalo State Teachers College and a Masters degree from Nazareth College. She moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in 2000. She is a member of the Wilmington Art Association as well as the Blowing Rock Art League and has been juried into the Azalea Art Show and had the honor of having a piece of work hanging in the “State of the Art- Art of the State” show at the Cameron Art Museum in 2011. She studied water color under Mary Ellen Golden and now work in both water colors as well as Acrylics. Painting Landscapes excites her and she says, “To me nothing is more beautiful than what Mother Nature has created.“
After years of pursuing her love of music, Frances Atkinson decided it was time to take her passion for art seriously as well. She began taking workshops with nationally known artists that involved many different mediums. Frances has been invited to have several one person exhibitions and has been an award winner in juried shows including the South Carolina watercolor traveling show. On a personal note, she has recently become a permanent resident of Boone, NC, and enjoys being the organist for the “little church on the hill”, Friendship Methodist Church.
With A Decorative Painting background and having taught the craft for twelve years, Janice Carter decided when moving to Blowing Rock in 1997 that she would like to begin painting on canvas. She attended numerous classes and workshops offered by outstanding professional artists known to live in and visit our artistic community. She enjoys painting with acrylics and oils and a number of her paintings hang in private homes. This has encouraged her to continue painting. The opportunity to paint with the Blowing Rock Artist Group is delightful and continues to be a fun, learning and rewarding experience to Janice as the group shares ideas, suggestions and critiques, inspiring each of them to reach for higher goals.
Kathy Leahey is originally from Syracuse, New York and since childhood, art has been a main factor in her life. She has studied art in various schools across the country and continues to further her education by participating in workshops ranging from life drawing, oil painting, and mixed media collages. She and her husband owned a printing company in Raleigh, NC, and after moving to Blowing Rock, owned an American craft gallery on Main Street. She has studied to be a docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art and is currently a docent at Blowing Rock Art & History Museum. Her work is a culmination of her passion for nature and design, and can be described as vibrant, dynamic and colorful. She has exhibited in several galleries, including: Upstairs Gallery and Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock; Todd Mercantile, Todd, NC; Ashe County Center for Arts, West Jefferson, NC; Housatonic Community College, Bridgeport, Ct; and The Convention Center in Columbus Ohio.
Mary Ann Baggstrom is an acrylic artist specializing in “realism” in her paintings of wildlife, flowers and landscapes. She began her painting career in the mid 1980’s as a decorative artist and teacher. As a member of the National Society of Decorative Artists, she attended many of their conventions and workshops and in 1990 was awarded the recognition of “Certified Decorative Artist”. After retiring to Blowing Rock in 2006, she was inspired by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains to go in a new direction with her work and put that beauty on canvas. “I have never lived in an area that so inspires me to observe and paint as do the views and wildlife we have in the High Country. I’m sure I will never run out of subjects to paint.”
Nancy Cope says that during her thirty eight years in the classrooms of several states teaching about her grandparents’ adopted county she has always encouraged projects that encompass art. Her great grandfather was a “gold leafer” from Prussia and her grandfather was into art as well. Since her retirement from teaching she has focused on skills of oil and acrylic painting. Some of her former students actually challenged her to start taking classes. So she has studied for the last ten summers with prominent local artists of the high country, trying her hand in oils and acrylic. An art education advocate, she believes that all students can find themselves in art and that the history of one’s family can create a sense of appreciation for all levels of artwork and handiwork.
Peggy Carlson was born in Columbus, Georgia but now divides her time between Blowing Rock, NC and Tallahassee, FL.. At age nine she started taking art lessons. During her senior year in high school, her watercolor won first place in a district contest in the state of Georgia. Peggy attended Florida State University where she majored in Art and minored in Art History. After teaching art, she returned to school and received a masters degree in Interior Design. She worked for an architectural firm for one year and then opened her own interior design and architectural firm and practiced interior design for over thirty years. She has exhibited in the juried transparent watercolor show entitled Watercolor West in Riverside, CA., as well as, the Summer Showcase and The Plantation Wildlife Festival in Thomasville, GA. She exhibited at Edgewood Cottage in August of 2011. Her paintings can be found in several private collections in Florida, North Carolina and Georgia and in the Blowing Rock Gallery. Peggy enjoys many creative processes, including painting, writing, furniture design, and sculpture.At present, painting takes most of her time and she prefers the mediums of oil and watercolor. Her subjects include landscapes, wildlife, botanicals and people. When painting portraits, she likes to capture the character of the individual. When painting landscapes, she tries to catch the essence of the various seasons from a foggy trail to a snowy creek. All provide challenges to see if the moment can be expressed through paint. She feels that no matter what the subject either people, landscapes, animals or flowers that the image should speak to the viewer. Needless to say, she considers it a real blessing that she has the opportunity to paint and is surrounded by one of the most idyllic environments in the world.
Artists of the Serendipity Gallery
Senior adults in the High Country are literally waiting in line to become part of the art classes offered through the Lois E. Harrell Senior Center and the Cove Creek Senior Center. Taught year-round by Marsha Holmes, these classes offer students instruction in painting and drawing. They not only benefit from the instruction, they also seem to enjoy a wonderful camaraderie and are the core of the Arts Council’s volunteer workforce for its new gallery and gift shop. The Serendipity Gallery was once called the Senior Gallery and has been sponsored since the late 1980s by the Watauga County Arts Council. Some months the gallery features the work of a single artist. Other months, the exhibit is a group exhibition. This month’s participating artists are Helen Carroll, Linda Norman, Linda Lielbriedis, Mahala Porth, Janie Endress, Susan Lindgren, Barbara Hinkle, Judy Clarke, Cherry Burns, and Pegge Laine.
The Arts Council’s gallery, which occupies space donated to them by John Winkler, Roger Wright, and Kenneth Wilcox, also features a gift shop filled with baskets, lampwork beads, pottery, cards, purses, scarves, and small works of art created by local artists as well as CDs by local musicians, books by local authors, and much more. The Gift Shop is open most weekdays now since the main business office of the Arts Council has been recently relocated to the gallery. Volunteers keep the gallery open on weekends as well. Artists who are interested in selling their work through the gift shop may submit an application form available on their website at www.watauga-arts.org. For information, call the Arts Council at 264-1789.