Artists can be generous people.
This Friday’s opening reception for “Leaving Winter, Welcoming Spring” at the Chapel Hill Art Gallery highlights this generosity. The gallery has invited the Orange County Artists Guild to share its East Franklin Street space to help promote the guild’s first spring tour this weekend.
“The (gallery) artists are really excited about the double purpose of the reception,” said gallery board member David Taylor, who helped bring about the collaboration.
A hyanciths pastel by Taylor graces the front of the flyer for the spring tour, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. A flower catalog inspired this piece.
“An unusual start for me,” Taylor said, “but it seems to be perfect for the saturated color that pastels can create.”
Everywhere he looks, Taylor sees images he wants to get down on paper or canvas. “The way a friend holds her hand while talking, I think how I would draw it. Faces, trees, children playing,” he said. “I try to capture a beautiful, fleeting image and preserve it.”
Visitors to Trudy Thomson’s studio at 15 Woodside Trail in Chapel Hill will get to intimately experience some of the fleeting images that inspire her fused glass pieces and her marbled silks. “I love looking at patterns and as I look at the creek on my property right now I am seeing patterns of light moving down,” Thomason said. The patterns on the trees are just astounding.”
For years, Thomson has woven cloth and painted silk. “But I got into glass about 14 years ago and went nuts,” Thomson said. “The glass pieces kind of magnified what you would see by looking very closely at a woven piece.”
Lately, her glass pieces are celebrating landscapes, such as “Birds Flying Over a Mountain Pass,” which will be in the exhibit. Another is a framed piece of her marbled silk called “Rosebuds,” created in an intricate process that begins by dropping silk on top of acrylic paint.
Mother Nature also informs Heather Delisle’s clay works: cedar tiles and spheres.
“Nature is such a big inspiration since it is always present in our lives,” Delisle said. When Delisle moved to Hillsborough in 2001, she was already making her spheres, firing them in her kiln with sawdust. One day she was walking by an old bouquet of flowers, interspersed with goldenrod.
“I thought ‘let’s just try some of these plants and see what happens’ so I grabbed them and put them in the kiln. The plant made one of the most amazing imprints I have ever seen,” Delisle said. “It was one of the moments that take you down a new path.”
When Carol Retsch-Bogart’s children, now 28 and 32, were little, she started making valentines with them using potato stamps. “The valentines took off and became these mixed-media collages. There are people who now have 20 years of them,” Retsch-Bogart said.
Now, with several exhibits under her belt, this mixed-media artist who has just joined the gallery and is opening her Chapel Hill home studio on the spring tour, is having just as much fun making her pieces as she did with her children.
“I just love to play. I love texture, color, layers, and mixing things together. I love ticket stubs and old labels and pieces of French paper from a baguette. Retsch-Bogart said. “My art is made in the moment, and is unconscious and meditative for me.”
In her professional life as a therapist, Retsch-Bogart is always listening, thinking, and trying to process.
“In my art, it is kind of the opposite,” she sad. “I like to not think so much.” If paint spills, the artist is elated, going with the literal flow to see where it will take her. She uses encaustic media in some of her work, a medium which involves intense heat, and there are times when things that should not burn, do. “I call these the ‘happy accidents’ because they add something. Most of the time the happy accidents are the favorite part of my work.”
The exhibit ends April 28 ( chapelhillartgallery.com). Other artists on the tour include Deborah Harris, Ruthananda, Emily Lees, Eduardo Lapetina, Jane Levy, Bernice Koff, Carolyn Doyle, Barbara Higgins, Jeannette Johnson, Hollie Taylor, Natalie Boorman, Nadine Zenobi, Gail Schaefer, David Terry, and Vera Shanley.
Deborah R. Myer writes about the arts each month. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org