Nature Inspired exhibit to be July 5

Jun 24, 2013
Photo by: Nina Howard "AHH" mixed media

The Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 will host an exhibition called, Nature Inspired beginning Wednesday, July 3 through Saturday, July 27, 2013. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am-5pm. Nature Inspired celebrates the form of mixed media used to express the influence of nature on its creator. An artist’s reception will be held Friday, July 5 during Art After Dark from 6-9pm.


The term “mixed media” refers to a visual art technique that uses various art mediums in one work and was first used in the early 20th Century.  Mixed media can achieve many different effects to the viewer. Nature Inspired is an exhibit that expresses the artist’s influences from nature and the world around them.


The featured artists of Nature Inspired include: Norma B. Hendrix, Nina Howard, Dawn Behling, and Nancy Blevins.

Norma B. Hendrix maintains a studio practice in Franklin, N.C. Hendrixx has been an Artist in Residence at major artist residencies in both the U.S. and France.  She has served as an active teacher at Western Carolina University and has taught and directed community art programs for over 30 years.  She is the Executive Director of Cullowhee Mountain ARTS, a non-profit organization committed to supporting artists and students in learning communities through workshops and programs.  As an artist, her work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the Southeastern U.S. and is included in several private collections.

Nina Howard has been called a Renaissance woman by her peers and friends.  An artist, interior designer, massage therapist, polarity therapist, licensed esthetician, educator, and entrepreneur, Nina synthesizes all her talents, creating beauty and wellness in all that she does.  In 1994, Nina closed her art, design, and massage studio in Waynesville and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she created Bellanina Day Spa and Institute.  The physical day spa became the walls for her Ann Arbor gallery.  Still retaining 50% ownership, Nina is back in Waynesville, N.C.  Nina has painted hundreds of paintings since her art career began in New York City.  In 1982, she received her first commission and has continued for 30 years to produce commissioned pieces while pursuing other interests in the healing arts.  She says her abstract paintings connect her to the DIVINE and are done when she “gets out of the way” and allows the spirit to flow through her.

Dawn Behling earned her BFA in Textile Design from East Carolina University, where she also discovered her love of screen printing and dyeing on various fibers.  Using her sense of color and visual texture, Behling created a way of combining her textile sensibilities and love of printing and painting into a unique artistic style.  She continued to explore this unique artistic vision by earning a MFA at Western Carolina University.  “I love color, texture, and nature. My creative research currently explores the use of organic, abstract images that are taken from nature and recreated in two-dimensional, mixed media work. I love to take photographs out in nature; I collect these images dozens of times in one piece so they become unrecognizable, abstract designs.  I focus on small areas of nature and image them as their own micro-environments.  I create my own interpretation of these environments by working with visual texture and repeated pattern in a painterly way, primarily on paper and stretched canvas, however, my work includes a wide range of mediums, from wearable scarves to mixed-media collage pieces.”

Nancy Blevins is a Haywood County native who learned silk dye painting from Belgian artist, Judith Hue, 35 years ago.  This technique is used for clothing, wall hangings, and framed art.  Nancy is a long time member of the Blue Ridge Watermedia Society; her mediums include silk dye painting, watercolor, and mixed media.  Her watercolor education includes workshops with Pat Weaver, Sue Archer, Harry Thompson, Fred Graff, and Sonya Terpening.  She has exhibited at the Biltmore Estate, Studio D, Leapin’ Frog Gallery, West Queen Studio, and in local street fairs.  While striving for expressive color, Nancy demonstrates that the techniques used in silk painting and watercolor are interchangeable and complement each art piece.

Although, the term “mixed media” has only been around since the early 20th Century, this form of art has been used since the 1400s with the application of gold leaf to paintings and other various art forms.  Haywood County Arts Council’s Gallery 86 exhibition, Nature Inspired, celebrates the form of mixed media used to express the influence of nature on its creator.

For more information about Nature Inspired as well as other exhibits, programs or events, visit the Haywood County Arts Council online at or or call 452-0593.

The mission of the Haywood County Arts Council is to build partnerships that promote art and artists, explore new cultural opportunities, and preserve mountain artistic heritage. This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.

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