Artists and gardeners — a partnership

Apr 09, 2014
This a photo of a collage by Wendy Cordwell

The Haywood Arts Council and the Master Gardeners of Haywood County are coordinating their efforts to bring both the visual artist's perspective and the gardener's vision of the beauty of our mountain gardens and landscapes together for the second time.

This will be realized through an art exhibit, "Artists and Gardeners — A Partnership," to be held at the Haywood County Arts Council, Gallery 86 on Main Street, Waynesville on April 30 to May 31. The show will be the kick off to the gardening season with the Master Gardeners Tour to be held the following month.

Through a selection process, 16 artists have been chosen to represent their own interpretation of mountain gardens as well as items that might be placed in gardens.

These artists include Patti Best, painting, Susan Balentine, pottery lanterns, Wendy Cordwell, painting and collage, Chris Coulter, natural material birdhouses, Suzanne LeClaire, painting and wind chimes, Mary Decker, painting, Bob Hammach, pottery planters, Annsie Budde Holman, pottery, Jo Kelley, painting, Francine Manor, shaker boxes and game boards, Emily Metcalf, painted rocks, Neal and Elesia Osman, wooden bowls, Teresa Sizemore, metal sculpture, Oksana Stark, quilts, Sam Stark, glass.

All mediums will be represented, including pottery, glass, watercolor, oils, acrylics, wood and textiles. Some artists will be using photographs of the actual tour gardens for inspiration, others will be using elements of gardens such as texture and color, or incorporating what one may see in a garden, such as plants, flowers and trees as aspects of their work.

"This year we will be expanding our repertoire of art to include three dimensional functional items that could be placed in a garden as well as more traditional two dimensional works," said Noretta Taylor, board gallery liaison.

Another feature of this melding of art and gardens represented on the tour.

"When one tours a selected garden, taking in all the shapes, textures and colors of that garden landscape and the vision of the person we brought it all together, an artist on site will be doing the same thing while creating a vision on paper or canvas," said Suzanne LeClaire, liaison between Master Gardeners and Gallery 86. "This is called plain air painting, which in French literally means 'in the open air.'"

LeClaire will be an wrists painting on site at one of the gardens on tour. She is a three-year full-time resident and a 25-year summer resident of the area. She has 28 years of experience teaching in public schools and has been doing art shows since 1972.

"When working outdoors, I must work quickly, or I will lose the light. I do take photos for reference if the light changes. Vegetables as well as flowers also change from day to day," LeClaire said about the challenges facing plain air painters. "I look forward to working in one of the gardens the day of the garden tour. I welcome the chance to speak about art and gardening, especially to children."

Cordwell, a local collage artist, will be represented in the show but she will be including garden inspired collage work as well as watercolor paintings. She started off in watercolor but after seeing an art exhibit on painting and collage, she bought a book that explained the process and taught her how to do it.

"It seemed like a nice break from watercolor but has proven to be much more fun than expected, and always brings back my childhood memories of cutting and pasting papers," she said.

Coulter, a new resident to Waynesville, will have his natural material birdhouses on display.

"I have always had a special fondness for wood and all of its attributes and incorporate the natural beauty of various woods into items I make by hand," he said. "The birdhouses are made from poplar and birch bark, willow twigs and pesky cypress."

The show will be held April 30 through May 31. A reception for the artists will be held during Art After Dark from 6 to 9 p.m. May 2. Gallery 86 hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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