OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION
MAY 22 – JUNE 6, 2015
The city of Charleston is transformed during Spoleto season. The theaters come alive with nightly performances, and the streets are filled with artists, actors, dancers, musicians and their fans. And Marion Square, home to the annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition, is arguably the hub of it all.
Since 1979, the park has welcomed South Carolina artists and their fans. Despite the early summer heat, dozens of artists from throughout the region arrive daily to showcase their original artwork, ranging from serene landscapes to portraits and photography.
Exhibit co-chair Victoria Platt Ellis has been a part of the exhibit for 25 years. “It does feel like an art camp because we encourage the artists to work while they’re there,” she says. “There’s a lot of camaraderie between the artists. … It is sort of like a big family.”
And as you might expect of a close-knit crew kept in close quarters for 16 days, they know how to let loose every now and then. “I’ve seen things happen that are just plain defending against the heat,” Ellis says, mentioning solo cup races and ransomed paintings.
Despite the occasional silliness, the exhibit is a rare chance to see some of the Lowcountry’s greatest talent all in one place.
To inquire about purchasing the artists’ work before or after the exhibition, please visit the artists’ websites for more information.
Carole Carberry is a multimedia artist with a particular interest in watercolor, calligraphy and printmaking. Her work has been described as having a lyrical quality, with pieces affirming the beauty in our world. Pieces echo the strong yet graceful curve of a swan’s neck, the gentle bend of a flower’s leaf, or the pleasing arrangement of shape, color, light and shadow.
From an early age, Carberry enjoyed an inherited artistic ability and a love for drawing. Her formal art training included studies at Montana State University, specialized instruction in fine art pencil and eggtempera methods, and graduate studies in printmaking at the University of South Carolina.
Carberry is a Member in Excellence with the South Carolina Watermedia Society, and was represented in the 2014 show with her original acrylic on canvas, Siesta Splendor. She is also president of the Sumter Artists Guild in South Carolina. She has taught college-level art appreciation classes and instructed workshops in calligraphy and watercolor. Her work is currently on view at Courtyard Art Gallery in downtown Charleston.
After years of dabbling in the art world, investment broker Kevin LePrince finally traded in his broker suit for his paintbrush in 2003. Not long after his departure from finance, his stylistic depictions of Lowcountry wildlife captured the attention of collectors.
In 2013, LePrince created the first of several wine labels for winemaker Bjoern Lawner. This newfound friendship and business partnership will result in more wine labels and creations to come. LePrince also traveled to Boston to unveil his Forged by Fire painting, commissioned by the New England Center for Art and Technology, which now hangs in the center’s boardroom.
In the fall of 2014, LePrince pledged to auction more than 30 paintings over the course of one year and to give half of the proceeds to charity. His collections can be found in many local and national businesses. LePrince’s new studio gallery, LePrince Fine Art, opened this spring at 184 King St. The space is his primary studio where he paints every day and also shows the works of other artists. LePrince currently lives in downtown Charleston with his family.
Floyd Gordon, critically acclaimed artist and one of South Carolina’s treasures, has a clientele of faithful collectors from coast to coast. He creates vivid, dazzling watercolors and potent acrylics from his studio gallery located in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
“I’ve always been fascinated by colors,” he says. “The first time I really remember applying my fascination was when I started school and the teacher gave us crayons and a coloring book. I was so fascinated by the colors and the pictures that I colored every page. I didn’t have another coloring book, so I drew pictures to color and took my book to the teacher,” he recalls.
Gordon says in order to paint a picture, he has to first see it in his mind. “I keep adding colors and details until it looks good to me. If it’s not right to me, it won’t be right to anyone else,” he says. “I have never done galleries, and I rarely do commissioned paintings—I paint pictures that I like, and if I do them right, other people will like them, too.”
Kathy Crowther’s paintings are detailed studies of nature painted in gouache and outlined in ink. She is known for her unique style of rendering flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
Crowther’s art education started at the age of 10 with classes at the Cleveland Art Museum. Formal training continued with high school, West Virginia University, Oglebay Institute, and the Cleveland Institute of Art.
Over the years, Crowther has had solo exhibits and has participated in juried shows throughout the country. “Every year, I bring a new body of work to Piccolo Spoleto,” she says. “My paintings range from formal bird portraits of egrets, herons and peacocks to whimsical renderings of parrots, sea turtles and ocean creatures. Many times, I spill over the mat, which adds another dimension to the painting and, like nature, a sense of continual growth.”
From her current home in Beaufort, South Carolina, Crowther travels the South to exhibit her work. She’s won her fair share of awards, but the best reward is hearing people say that her paintings make them happy!
Susan Colwell has been drawing for as long as she can remember. She had her first solo exhibition at a Toledo, Ohio, art gallery while still a teenager. At the end of her freshman year of high school, her family moved to Zurich where her love of art was cemented.
Colwell earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After traveling throughout Europe, she lived in California, working as an artist in an advertising agency, before moving to Charleston.
“I am moved by the everchanging light and atmosphere in the Lowcountry, and I strive to re-create the feeling or mood of a place or moment,” she says. “The subtleties of light, reflections on the water, and the softness I see and feel in the landscape greatly influence me.”
Large, loose, impetuous strokes and juicy color typify the artist’s abstract impressionist oil paintings. “I try to recapture my feelings about a place by using color and form, producing a presence of space, mood and light,” she says.
Pat Forsberg is an award-winning artist who lives and paints in Charleston. She studied art at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida, and has studied with esteemed artist Elizabeth Bronson for several years. Her most recent award was the Charleston Artist Guild’s 2008 People’s Choice Award sponsored by First Federal Bank of Charleston.
“I feel that living in the Lowcountry is a blessing for any artist as it is rich with subject matter, and we have a community that appreciates art,”Forsberg says. “The water, marshes and architecture are all spectacular subjects, and I love painting them all. I’m especially drawn to still life … I love scouring local antiques shops for objects to incorporate into my set-ups—it is a great excuse to shop!”
At this year’s Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition, patrons can expect to see that Forsberg’s work has been taken up a notch. “I meet with a group of local artists once a month for lunch, art talk and critiques. They tell me that my work has become more luminous and painterly, and that is what I have been striving for,” she says.
Kellie Jacobs has spent her life watching the seasons change among the marshes and beaches of the South Carolina coast. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Jacobs decided to pursue a professional career as a painter.
Working primarily in pastel, she paints landscapes using atmosphere and light to create mood and expression in her art. “I am fascinated with the light at the end of the day,” she says. “When the evening sun is low and warm, touching the tops of the sand dunes and grasses of the marsh, that is the time of day I love best.”
Jacobs’ juxtaposition of bright colors and soft textures appeals to both domestic and international collectors. Traveling to foreign locations has also enhanced her ability to manipulate her chosen medium of pastel to produce desirable and collectible artwork.
Many of her works hang in prestigious corporate and private collections nationally and abroad. Her art is also on view in Charleston galleries including Coco Vivo Art and Design, Hamlet Fine Art Gallery and Lowcountry Artists Art Gallery.
Vicki Ellis developed an interest in the beauty of creation at an early age. “Ever since I was a little girl drawing with a stick in the dirt when my mother sent me outside to play, I have been fascinated with fitting shapes together to create designs,” she says. “What brought my creations to life were the activities of drawing and painting.”
As her life’s journey continued, her addiction to art grew, and she was drawn into a web that she could not escape—nor did she want to. “Each progression in my career has humbled me, but also made me stronger and more confident of the correctness of my choices.”
She adds: “My love and satisfaction with life began as a little girl drawing in the dirt. The woman that I am today also began as a little girl drawing in the dirt. In my mind’s eye, I will always be the little girl drawing with a stick in the dirt.”
The artist lives and maintains a studio in Summerville, South Carolina, and is co-owner of the Ellis-Nicholson Gallery at 1 1/2 Broad St. in Charleston.
South Carolina native Madison Latimer has spent much of her career depicting her feathered friends in oils and acrylics, but her work took on new meaning following a tragedy that claimed the lives of three relatives in 1994. “As my family and I healed from that loss, I began to understand and experience a deeper connection with the energy that provides life for all of us,” Latimer explains. “I felt directed to express this feeling through my art.”
Latimer paints the birds and other animals around her grandmother’s farm, which is now her home. Her work helps her tell stories of creation, disappointment and survival that are common threads in our collective human experience.
“I paint my guineas with expressions that are happy, joyful or even startled,” says Latimer, “because we all recognize those emotions and respond to them. Especially when we laugh, we’re acknowledging the energy of life that is in all of us.”
Although her paintings are often classified as folk art, Latimer feels she shares a greater connection with outsider art, which is defined as work produced by self-taught artists who are not part of the artistic establishment.
The Charleston Lowcountry and its history have played an important role in Kathy Clark’s life and art. She often focuses on landscapes that reflect enduring feelings for the place she calls home.
“Having spent my entire life living on the islands of Charleston has definitely influenced my appreciation for history and the ever-changing tidal creeks, marshes, rivers and ocean,” Clark says. “For me, translating these visions on paper or canvas has been one of the most satisfying ways of expressing myself.”
Clark’s artistic abilities have developed from a number of sources, including studies with the Gibbes Museum of Art. More recent studies have explored palette knife painting with James Pratt, an artist from New Zealand, and figure drawing with Karen Vecchioni.
Clark’s work is a combination of impressionism with a touch of realism. She does not follow any defined approach. It is derived from a confluence of varied sources of inspiration. She connects with the subject and brings out the beauty of its meaning.
Laurie Meyer has lived and painted in Charleston for more than 30 years. A lover of light and color effects in oil paint and watercolor, the artist challenges herself to create magical elements in each painting she completes.
A primarily self-taught artist, Meyer has also studied with many local and nationally recognized master artists who subscribe to the concept of creating atmosphere and depth in an alla prima method.
“I am not unique in stating that my goal each time I visit a blank canvas is to create depth, dimension and a sense of space in atmosphere,” she says.
This year, Piccolo visitors can expect to find her signature landscapes as well as figurative paintings and scenes from her travels. Her favorite things about Piccolo Spoleto? “The camaraderie and friendships, the sharing of art stories, the support of colleagues, the practical jokes, the creative games we create to pass the time, and of course, meeting art lovers and collectors and having time to know the people who bring my work into their home.”
Sheryl Stalnaker finds joy in depicting Lowcountry life through her artwork—especially the ocean. “I took up surfing over a year ago, spending most of my time on my surfboard studying the sky and water, and unfortunately, not catching many waves,” she says. “Looking at the moving, reflective water and changing sky and light while on a surfboard is mesmerizing. Now, if I could just balance an easel on my board.”
Stalnaker often begins a painting on location and studies her subject from life, rather than just working from photographs, which gives her the feeling she wants to convey in her work. She builds up layers of paint using a brush and palette knife, both adding paint and scraping it away. This adds depth and an interesting textural element to her work.
“My landscapes show a perspective that draws the viewer into the painting,” she explains. “I want to transport the viewers away from their hectic lives into the scene, where they can hear the waves crash, feel the current, smell the pluff mud, hear the blue crab scurrying away on the dock.”
Lisa Willits moved to Charleston more than 25 years ago from her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. While working as a technician in a research lab by day, she began taking evening art classes at the Gibbes Museum School.
After experimenting with several different mediums, Willits chose oil painting because it best captured her love of color. With the encouragement of family and friends, she took the leap and began working full time as a painter in 2005.
Willits is most inspired by the natural beauty of the South Carolina coast and strives to capture its enchanting atmosphere. “My paintings explore the things about the landscape that fascinate me: the colors and glow of early morning or evening skies, the incredible cloud formations here on the coast, the ever-changing seascapes, and the vistas that stretch out to forever,” she says.
She is an exhibiting member of the Charleston Artist Guild, an associate member of Oil Painters of America, and past coordinator of Charleston Outdoor Painters Association. She was also a past director of Artistic Growth for the Charleston Artist Guild.
Dianne MunKittrick has been a nature lover since childhood. Her early career was spent outdoors in the natural resources field. She’s done everything from radio tracking deer and elk to cooking and eating rattlesnake.
When her children were school-aged, MunKittrick returned to college and received a degree in graphic design. “It was then that I realized I could combine both my loves. I now use my love of drawing and painting to describe my other loves, nature and wildlife,” she says.
Over time, her work has changed from an illustrative depiction of her subjects to a more emotional rendering. “My earlier works were more concerned with getting the feathers or fur right,” she remembers. “My current works are reflections of the effect the subject has on me. I’m not trying to capture the accurate details of a scene or animal; I’m trying to describe the essence or soul of the subject.”
The artist lives with her husband on the shore of a small, secluded cove of Lake Marion. The beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife provide her with ample ideas and inspiration for her artwork.
Born in 1956 in rural Dillon, South Carolina, a town more noted for the glitzy South of the Border tourist attraction than fine art, Monnie Johnson started life with an innate talent so good that his fourth grade teacher accused him of tracing a portrait of George Washington rather than applauding the freehand copy he’d actually made.
Johnson has a voracious appetite for learning and growing and has taken many courses, participated in workshops, and studied the work of hundreds of artists in galleries and museums. Among others, he credits Charleston artists Laurie Meyer and Rick Reinert and his gallery colleagues in Charleston and Summerville as influences in his signature style.
The essence of that style is Johnson’s focus on light and the use of broad brushstrokes and color. He relishes seeing and painting scenes of the rainy season in Charleston with its reflections of architecture, lampposts and other objects, and people on or near glistening sidewalks. It’s the mood of the moment that Johnson captures in these rainy day pieces of art.
Carla Johannesmeyer is an emerging artist who entered the Charleston art community in 2013. She was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, where she first developed her love of art.
After serving several years as a commissioned officer in the Navy, she began a civilian career as an architect in Charleston, facilitating and managing design and construction for the Navy while also raising a large family.
Her background in architecture and design combined with her love of the arts and a keen eye for composition, light and color has led her to immerse herself in oil painting. Until recently, she painted for the pure joy of artistic expression, learning by doing, and only shared her work with close family and friends. In 2013, she sought to reach a broader audience.
Johannesmeyer’s paintings are reminiscent of bolder impressionists but border on expressionism. She prefers a large brush and paints with visible, confident brushstrokes, layering lush color to evoke light, shadow and reflections in her landscape, architectural, still life and figurative subjects.
Alicia Leeke studied art at Columbia College. During her sophomore year, she vacationed in Paris and visited the Louvre, where she fell in love with the work of the French impressionists. Her travels to paint landscapes during plein-air painting sessions led her to produce a body of beautiful abstract paintings inspired by nature’s ever-changing scenery. More recently, photographers Susan Kae Grant of Texas and John E. Powell of Columbia, South Carolina, have inspired her to produce a body of work combining conceptual art, photography and digital mixed media.
Leeke works in series that include abstract and impressionistic landscapes, French and digital mixed-media cityscapes, geometric abstracts and an upcoming conceptual body of digital paintings about the important role of phytoplankton. The exhibition also seeks to educate the scientific community about the importance of art in science. In 2014, she was awarded a grant to produce a traveling exhibition,View from Under the Microscope: Science-based Learning Through Art, which will travel to the Mitchell Hill Gallery in Charleston this fall.
Tami Cardnella began her painting career in the decorative painting industry with a love for folk art. After many years, a friend asked her to take a traditional oil painting class, she accepted the challenge, and she hasn’t looked back.
The artist has made oils her focus for the last 20 years, studying with various teachers across the country.
“As a painter, my goal is using paint and canvas to show things most of us don’t take the time or fail to see in our busy lives,” Cardnella says. “The way morning shadows slash across the walls of steep village streets or a swan’s feathers glowing in a hundred variations of white.”
Now based in Greenville, S.C., she says her style hasn’t changed since leaving the Lowcountry. “I’m still looking to paint beautiful subjects that interest me,” she says. “We do have a more seasonal climate, so leaves changing colors and a long spring of beautiful flowering trees, this intrigues me.”
Visitors to Piccolo Spoleto can expect to see pieces from Cardnella’s newest series, featuring dramatic skies along with beautiful water lilies and florals.
Armed with an unorthodox arsenal of knives, dry brushes and assorted unconventional implements, Tate Nation paints in multiple layers of acrylics on canvas-covered wood panels, creating vibrant paintings that are drenched in texture. His non-traditional paintings are a lively medley of bold compositions, festive themes and a vivid color palette influenced by Caribbean art.
Nation’s works have been commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service, Coca-Cola, Delta and United Airlines, Canon USA, and Time-Life, among many others. His paintings and prints are held in private and public collections worldwide and have appeared in numerous national publications.
A former freelance illustrator and featured artist for the 2000 and 2010 Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Nation has also illustrated more than a dozen books, served as illustrator-in-residence for the Gibbes Museum of Art, and has been awarded many honors for his fine art paintings and illustrations. Two of his original works have been exhibited in the Society of Illustrators’ Museum of American Illustration in New York City.
257 King St. Charleston
A native of Wisconsin, Nancy Rushing moved south at the young age of seven. She attended school and college in South Carolina. Shortly after college, she married and moved to Charleston with her husband who came to teach chemistry at The Citadel. She earned a masters degree in learning disabilities at night and taught during the day.
Rushing has been involved in drawing and painting as long as she can remember. When she was young, her mother drew paper dolls and made clothes for them. Rushing gradually began creating her own and has since spent many years in self-study, especially in the areas of color and value. She has enjoyed working in both watercolor and pastel.
Rushing says that the feeling she gets when painting has little to do with words. When using watercolor, it’s all about the delicious feel when one color is dropped into another. With pastels, it’s the soft, buttery texture of her favorite pastels combined with the intensity of pure pigment layered together or juxtaposed next to one another that lead to a feeling of delight as she works.
Caryn Smith is inspired by the play of light and shadow on nature and her surroundings. The Chicago native has lived in Charleston for 20 years, finding endless inspiration in the beautiful Lowcountry and from trips abroad.
The contemporary landscape painter pushes color in her work using rich oils, and she also enjoys the freedom of painting abstracts. She takes visual cues from nature, siphoning imagery from memory or imagination. She loves color and texture, and uses these elements to create a harmonious balance between spontaneity and control.
After college at Ole Miss and Ray College of Design in Chicago, Smith enjoyed a career as a residential interior designer for 12 years before devoting herself to painting full time. Her clients always requested a painting incorporated in her designs.
Smith’s work can currently be seen at her home studio on George Street downtown, where she openly welcomes visitors. Please call first to see works in progress.
Amelia (“Mimi”) Whaley was born in Charleston, grew up on Edisto Beach and presently lives in Mount Pleasant. In 1985, her father gave her watercolor lessons for Christmas, and, she remembers, “the moment the brush filled with paint and water touched the paper, something connected deep inside me, and I knew what I was born to do.”
While watercolor is her favorite art medium, she also works in acrylic, collage, mixed media, encaustic and oil.
“Art is a journey,” she says. “The more I see, the more I listen, the more I experience, the more I learn to use the tools to make art, the better able I am to express my vision and emotional content through painting, collage, writing and other creative endeavors.”
Additionally, she enjoys teaching and helping others discover their creative gifts, frequently leading day or weekend workshops in painting, watercolor journaling, collage and the release of creative play. “I am fortunate to live in a part of our country where the color, beauty and accessibility of the natural environment provide me with daily inspiration to paint and to share the wealth of the Lowcountry’s scenery.”
Rick Reinert’s formal art education took place in the early 1970s at Western Kentucky University. His skills continued to evolve over the years, and he exhibited large, expressionistic works in one-man shows throughout Germany and Canada.
Painting nine hours a day, seven days a week, Reinert continues to challenge himself as one of America’s most prolific painters. “I find myself at times at one with the canvas, softening edges with brushstrokes while simultaneously adding wide, strong strokes of definition,” Reinert says.
This dedication and hard work have paid off, and his paintings have won accolades across the country. Throughout his career, he’s won numerous Best of Show awards. In 2012, his painting Dusk at King and Queen was given the “Best of Show, Mayor’s Purchase Award” at the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition. His work hangs in private collections throughout the world.
“Painting is a constant challenge and can be both sublime and difficult,” Reinert says, “and I would not have it any other way.”
Steven Jordan is a professional artist who lives in Mount Pleasant. A native of Anderson, South Carolina, he majored in painting at the University of South Carolina then continued his studies at the Art Students League in New York City.
Jordan’s paintings have won more than 75 regional and national awards. For the past 10 years, he has worked primarily in oils, and he was accepted into the 2011 Oil Painters of America National Exhibition where he represented South Carolina. Jordan’s art can be seen at the Portfolio Art Gallery in Columbia, S.C., and his gallery in The Common at Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant. Weather permitting, you may find him painting at the new boardwalk at Shem Creek Park.
Colleen Wiessmann has been active in arts her entire life. After studying at the horticulture school of the New York Botanical Gardens, she worked as an interior plantscaper for 25 years, which transformed into a love of texture and design.
Wiessmann likes to tell a story in her abstract paintings through words, lines and symbols. She uses collage and layering techniques to create dimensional artwork to capture the viewer’s eye and emotion.
“By channeling my energy into the creative process, my work becomes both a part of me and a reflection of life as seen through an artist’s eye,” she says.
Wiessmann lives on Seabrook Island, where she serves as president of the Seabrook Island Artist Guild.
Elaine Berlin creates original works of art in the acrylic medium on canvas and paper. Each painting creates an atmosphere of harmony, reflecting a love for color with attention to the final vision. Her clientele embrace the intuitive design and oneness portrayed in every work.
Born, raised and educated in the Lowcountry, Berlin has exhibited at Piccolo Spoleto for over 20 years. Her painting Rembrandt’s Favorite was selected as the official Piccolo Spoleto poster of 2007. Named for her golden retriever Rembrandt, the painting graced the covers of thousands of booklets and brochures.
Her work can also be seen year-round in the windows of Berlin’s on King Street in downtown Charleston.
Since 1989, John Michiels has been making monochrome images of Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry. His favorite subject matter includes landscapes, cityscapes and portraits of historic buildings and homes.
Michiels uses his digital medium format camera for nearly all of his fine art work. His photographs are printed, mounted and framed using archival processes and the finest materials.
Current prints are offered in editions of 45 or less.
Michiels continues to gain recognition at the annual Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition, where he’s received nine awards, including two for first place and a best of show/ Mayor’s Purchase Award.
A true world citizen, Sabine Avcalade’s personality is reflected in her artwork. Having experienced life in locations such as Martinique, Switzerland, Senegal, Provence, and New Orleans has greatly contributed to her appreciation of both nature’s vivid palette and the human spirit.
She considers her painting an escape and an adventure. “My goal is to use the ordinary to be extraordinary with a style that is figurative, exploding with detail and yet uncomplicated,” she says.
Through her work, she redefines her surroundings with uncomplicated ease. When an idea takes hold of her, it becomes the point of departure, and eventually the painting will begin to follow its own path.
“When we have difficulty finding ourselves, the struggle for discovery should give strength and resolve to continue the evolution of one’s work,” she says. “This struggle is essential, for it will give way to the fruits of your labor.”
Charleston native Christine Crosby worked in the financial industry until a heart attack followed by triple bypass surgery at the age of 34 made her take stock of what was important in her life. A lifelong love of art led to a new and less stressful career. What began as therapy quickly became her passion. She took workshops with several well-known local artists and then branched out, studying on her own to develop her personal and distinctive style.
A lifetime of exploring the Carolina Lowcountry has dictated her subject matter. The marshes, beaches and swamps and the creatures that inhabit them are her inspirations. “Art is my escape,” she says. “It is my hope that viewers of my paintings find the same peace and tranquility that I experience as I create them.”
AUSTIN GRACE SMITH
Charleston native Austin Grace Smith grew up summering at the family beach house where her love affair with the sky and sea began. Her work is heavily influenced by the strength and ever-changing nature of the ocean. The vibrant colors that light up the sky fascinate and push her to create coastal landscapes that are distinct.
Working in acrylic on handpicked birch panels, she allows the character of the wood grain to remain exposed, speaking to the natural elements surrounding the Carolinas and beyond.
“I began painting on wood grain when a friend of mine gave me an old boat hatch and suggested that I use it for my series of tide clocks,” she says.
As for Piccolo, she promises she’s working on something brand new. “I’m adding boats!” she exclaims. Visit her booth and maybe one of her new paintings will sail away with you.
Austin Grace Smith
Oil painter Hilarie Lambert will tell you she enjoys painting the familiar: vintage toys, notable architecture or coastal scenes— but nothing about her work is “ordinary.” Through the filter of light in an egret’s wings in flight, or the way a newspaper crumbles under just-caught blue crabs, Lambert reveals the beauty in what we might have forgotten or gotten too busy to notice: the magic of the everyday.
The world in Lambert’s paintings is seen through her sense of humor and love of whimsy. She paints the rainy day in Paris, not the sunny one, the forgotten radio on the shelf, or the boy feeding pigeons in St. Mark’s Square (instead of the majestic basilica), all illustrating her joy in the edges of things, the side streets, the back doors.
This style gives the viewer a definite sense of the artist’s hand and vision at work in the finished piece, and deepens the feeling of connection between subject and artist.
Nine years ago, Chris Rutigliano began her journey with paint, never suspecting that it would lead to participating in juried art shows, showing her work in galleries, being a board member for the Charleston Artist Guild, donating pieces of art to charity events and fundraisers, and much more.
“It’s such a beautiful place—one can hardly not want to paint or photograph or somehow capture the beauty of the Lowcountry,” Rutigliano says of her adopted home. “The colors, the skies, the sunsets, the wildlife, the historic district, the galleries, the artists—it is a haven for any artistic endeavor.”
Presently, she is represented by Michael Cyra Gallery at Freshfields Village on Kiawah Island and 14th Street Antiques Gallery in Atlanta. For the past eight years, she has been a juried artist exhibiting her work at the Piccolo Spoleto Art in the Park exhibition at Marion Square.
Growing up in Amarillo, Beth Williams developed a deep appreciation for the minimalist beauty of the west Texas plains. The influence of this uncluttered terrain and her love of nature are reflected today in her minimalist landscape paintings of the many places she has visited, including the Lowcountry.
Williams’ work gives particular attention to the sky in the simplified marsh, river, ocean and seashore genres that she paints. Having begun her art career in watercolor, she now works mostly in pastel. She prefers the medium for its rich color, fluidity and luminous texture, which allow her to capture the ever-changing light and give her work its strong atmospheric quality.
When Williams is not painting, she enjoys spending time with family, hiking the outdoors, travel, photography and visiting galleries and museums, all of which continue to enrich and influence her work.
Debbie Fornell is a native Texan who grew up in a small country town surrounded by a large extended family. After graduating from Texas A&M with a business degree, she moved to Charleston with her husband. Since raising her two children, she began pursuing her true passion for painting.
Fornell has studied with artists including Laurie Meyer, Rick Reinert, Mark Horton, Camille Przewodek and Colin Page. As an avid learner, she continues her training with a great deal of self-study.
The artist has been fortunate enough to live abroad and travel quite extensively. Along with the charm and beauty of the Lowcountry, this has given her an endless range of painting opportunities.
“My family has always supported me and given me great encouragement,” Fornell says. “I feel truly blessed to be on this life journey as a painter.”
Susan Roberts is a former special education teacher whose interest in photography was piqued in 1977 when her husband handed her his camera on their honeymoon and encouraged her to take photographs for an article he was writing. When the magazine used mostly Roberts’ photographs to illustrate the article, she began to study photography seriously.
“My goal, my continual challenge, is to seek out transcendent moments in light and time in the everyday world and to capture them so that their impact on me can be felt by those who will be viewing the resulting photographs,” Roberts says. “I have no desire to alter what I see, but instead simply want to use natural light and to frame and compose my photographs in such a way that what inspires me will be the focus of the photograph.”
Diane Odachowski is an award-winning artist and gallery owner who lives in downtown Charleston. Growing up in a suburb of New York City, she was greatly influenced by her grandfather, who was a famous international fashion designer. She formalized her love of art by earning a degree from the duCret School of the Arts in New Jersey.
After moving to Charleston with her family in 1996, Odachowski furthered her schooling with art classes at the College of Charleston and the historic Gibbes Museum of Art.
The artist has worked in watercolor and pastel, but now considers herself primarily an oil painter. Often working plein air, she specializes in landscapes, architecture, still life and figures. Her strength lies in the use of color and its relationship to the play of light and shadow. You can find her painting in her studio gallery and graciously greeting her many customers.
Born in Montreal in 1952, Helen Beacham is a contemporary painter whose work reflects self-expression and artistic interpretation based on her active 30-year career in the arts.
She works primarily in watercolor and acrylics, having studied with Dick Phillips, Brent Funderburk, Milford Zornes and others. Her diverse body of work includes everything from charming Lowcountry scenes—including live oak trees and South of Broad piazzas—to landscapes with a more international flair, showing scenes from Italy, France and beyond.
Beacham serves as a juror and workshop instructor in the United States and abroad. Her work is in many private and corporate collections throughout the United States, Canada, England, Kuwait, Australia and other countries. You can find her latest work at the Mary Martin Gallery of Fine Art at 103 Broad St., in downtown Charleston.
With a painterly and impressionistic style, Tammy Papa captures the evocativeness of beautiful Lowcountry scenes, from the marshes and beaches near her Isle of Palms home to architecture, still life and figures. Attuned to the play of light, she uses a warm and sophisticated palette to imbue her oils and pastels with signature radiance.
A longtime South Carolina resident who studied music before majoring in studio art at the University of South Carolina, Papa has always been drawn to creative endeavors. She won numerous Addy Awards in her former career as an art director for David Rawle and Associates in Charleston and Lee Helmer Design.
In 1996, she devoted herself to painting full time, specializing in oils and pastels. She enjoys sharing her talents through teaching drawing, watercolor and pastel workshops. She is represented locally by Sandpiper Gallery and Edward Dare Gallery.
Jennifer Koach’s formal training in fine arts started at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and continues to this day. “I painted throughout my 25-year career as an interior designer and antiques dealer. Living outside the United States for almost 20 years gave me varied experiences and locations from which to draw inspiration,” she says.
Koach has painted theater and TV backdrops, fabrics, wall finishes and architectural renderings, and her wall murals grace the Hong Kong International schools, La Perla stores, as well as private residences. Her watercolors, acrylics and oils have been exhibited and sold around the world.
“Now I am living in Charleston, painting full time and still learning and growing as an artist,” she says. Koach is a juried member of the Charleston Artist Guild, Oil Painters of America, and the Women Painters of the Southeast.
Amanda McLenon is a passionate conservationist on a unique path. Her career progressed from high school science teacher, to coral reef scientist for NOAA, to marine biologist performing research in Antarctica. She has since become a published author, certified yoga teacher, flyfisherwoman, and unexpectedly, a full-time marine artist.
In 2009, she discovered her talent by reverse-painting a redfish on glass, which is still her most highly collectible work. McLenon’s artistic career has taken on a life of its own with invitations to exhibit at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, Piccolo Spoleto, and several galleries.
In 2012, she received the prestigious Lowcountry Artist of the Year Award. Amanda’s love for wildlife is reflected in her work, and this year she will combine her passions as an Ambassador to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Rescue Program.
Artist and equestrian Joyce Hall grew up in the heart of Maryland horse country where at an early age she began observing and drawing horses. After teaching the equestrian program for Tulane University and establishing the riding programs for the College of Charleston and the Citadel, she retired to devote all her time to painting and teaching art.
Hall has exhibited in many museum and international juried and invitational exhibitions. She is a signature member of AFC and SAA and signature associate member of FAAEA. She is represented by The Studio Gallery in Charleston and the Rutledge Gallery in Camden, S.C. She teaches oil painting and is owner of The Studio. She also conducts workshops nationally.
Merrie McNair is a South Carolina native who spent childhood summers roaming the beaches and tidal waters of the Lowcountry. Having moved to New York in 1982, McNair attended Parsons School of Design and began using her love of color and textures to create interior spaces reflective of her clients’ lifestyles. She now expresses herself through paint with a style that provides that special balance between realism and impressionism. “I hope my paintings evoke the senses … a vacation, a childhood memory or a feeling that only nature can inspire,” she says.
At the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition this year, McNair will display Lowcountry scenes, from creek sunsets to plated oysters, along with some more modern interpretations of palm fronds and shrimp boats. A member of the Charleston Artist Guild, McNair sells primarily through private showings and is available for commissioned art.
Steven Hyatt is a photographer and printer based in Charleston. In addition to his photography, he is also president of a printing business called Imaging Arts Printing.
“My interest in photography emerged in my teenage years as an extension of a general desire to create,” Hyatt says. “Years later, as a philosophy and religious studies major at the College of Charleston, I would often spend time ‘studying’ in the Unitarian Church’s incredibly unique and alive cemetery. Many years after that, I found myself back at the same church wondering how I could capture what I was both seeing and experiencing in that space.” The effort to meet that challenge gave birth to the Churches of Charleston Project, which has since expanded to include churches throughout the world.
Hyatt also does a wide array of photography ranging from architecture to portraits of birds of prey to landscapes and abstract fine art photography.
Unique, interesting, cheerful and funky are all words that Lu Bentley’s clients have used to describe her work. On her website, she calls her light-and-dark-filled creations “magical shadow paintings.” And indeed, shadows are a consistent theme in her work, whether she’s painting the intricate shadow of palm fronds on an East Bay building or the shadow of a rocking chair upon a front porch.
“I love to show shadows and reflections, which are an extension of the physical,” Bentley says. “My work is an attempt to show that this extension has far-reaching effects. We are usually unaware of the influences we have on the people and the world around us. As a visual experience, I hope to remind people of the importance of our ever-expanding personal energy.”
Her paintings can be found at the Art Central Gallery in Summerville, South Carolina.
The top award-winning artwork of Joanne Evans has been twice recognized as “Museum Quality” by Early American Life magazine’s national review of traditional artists. Her work has also been selected to “The Best Traditional Artists in America” every year since 2004. Additionally, she has won “Best of Show” and “First Place” awards at Piccolo Spoleto.
Her post-reformation, masterwork-style oils feature glazing and layering of paint to create vibrancy of color, depth, detail and highlighting common to the 17th and 18th century great masters. Post-reformation masterworks changed from religious art, financed by the church, to representations of nature, animals, flowers, pastoral and/or farm scenes, and the beauty of everyday life. Although no longer strictly religious, these masterworks were clearly joyful, uplifting, and spiritual. This is the traditional artwork of Joanne Evans.