SEWE to host Local Artists Exhibit: Meet the makers
By Olivia PoolSpecial to The Post and Courier – Thursday, February 7, 2013
The annual Southeastern Wildlife Expo always brings excitement to the Lowcountry with the numerous events and awe-inspiring showcases of incredible animals and artwork from all over the country.
But what’s truly exciting this year is the fact that about a quarter of the more than 100 artists featured at SEWE have local ties and will be honored in the Local Artists Exhibit at The Mills House Hotel, 115 Meeting St.
Meet the local artists:
Anita Blewer spent more than 20 years raising children and working with horses before she decided to start taking painting classes from local artists.
A gifted natural, it wasn’t long before painting became a career for her. She says she enjoys capturing the beauty of the Lowcountry marshes and woodlands of Charleston, Beaufort, Hunting Island and “Old Florida.” Blewer’s work won first place in the 2001 Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Artists’ Exhibition; she has a piece in the Museum and Gallery of Collage in Serfines, France; some of her works are part of the mayor of North Charleston’s collection; and she’s won numerous awards. She loves that her biggest fans remain her family. debostic.wix.com/abfineart
Anne Bradford has had an interesting life, living in all kinds of inspirational places. Although born in England, she was raised in Canada and the United States.
She spent 12 years working as a graphic/multimedia designer and fine artist in New York before she moved to San Diego, then just north of San Francisco, and now to Charleston. She continues her work as a fine art painter, often focusing on the Charleston landscape as well as wildlife paintings. www.annebradfordgallery.com
“The South is a place where tea is sweet and accents are sweeter, macaroni and cheese is a vegetable, front porches are wide and words are long. Buttermilk pie is a staple. Y’all is the only proper noun. Chicken is fried and biscuits come with cream gravy. Everything is darlin’ and someone’s heart is always being blessed,” says Pat Branning, author of the book “Shrimp, Collards, and Grits.”
Even though the book has more than 200 Lowcountry recipes, this is not your average cookbook. The coffee table-style book also features 150 fine art paintings by famous Southern artists such as Ray Ellis, Nancy Ricker Rhett, John Carroll Doyle and Joe Bowler, among others. www.shrimpcollardsgrits.com
Local woodworker Capers Cauthen uses reclaimed wood from historic homes throughout Charleston County to create new pieces of furniture. He truly loves the fact that his business, Landrum Tables LLC, is based on using pieces of wood that others see as trash and turning them into beautiful works of art.
He says he is deeply inspired by “his father, Henry F. Cauthen, the former director of the Preservation Society, who taught him everything he knows about furniture, antiques and design.” Examples of Cauthen’s work can be found all around town, including at Charleston City Gallery, Two Boroughs Larder, Bull Street Gourmet, Indigo and Cotton, FIG and The Grocery. www.landrumtables.com
Born and raised in Charleston “during a period of time when families were large and incomes modest,” Kathy Clark’s fondest childhood memories include crabbing and fishing off the local dock with her family.
The Lowcountry is a huge part of who she is, and her love of it is evident in her landscape paintings of the place she’s always called home. Her art career began later in life after her children were grown. After her mother died, she stumbled on some of her sketches and drawings, and she felt as if her mother were sending her a message to express herself artistically to bring her out of her grieving period. www.kathyclarkfineart.com
When an interior designer decides to become a painter, you can wager that the painting most likely will be one that is created to look amazing in a home. Anna Cox has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design and a master’s in urban and regional planning. She also has had significant schooling in fine art including classes at the Corcoran School of Art & Design in Washington with Ellen Zelano, even traveling to Italy for further study with Zelano.
Cox is now an accomplished landscape painter with her works appearing regularly at the Gibbes’ Kiawah Art and House Tour. “When I paint, I like to visualize the painting complementing an actual interior space — likely due to my experience as an interior designer. It feels great when the artwork has found its home.” www.annacoxstudio.com
Elizabeth Curry grew up the daughter of a longtime area fisherman and has been throwing reels, casting nets and dropping crab traps “from here to Murrells Inlet” her entire life.
The artist says her inspiration to work with wooden historical windows came to her on a backroads drive on Wadamalaw Island, when she “passed a stack of old shotgun shack windows set out for trash. Later that day ... my mind turned back to those windows. I went back and loaded up every window.”
She now re-creates the view of the marshland using dried floral arrangements, local grasses, washed up shells, fallen butterflies and dragonflies. www.charlestonviews.net
Alice Ann Dobbin
It’s been said that Alice Ann Dobbin’s work “touches the soul.” At a young age, she started her studies of art. She began at Carnegie Mellon University, following that up with a degree in art at Washington & Jefferson College and teaching art as an adjunct professor. She also has a degree in communications from Penn State and has authored two books.
Dobbin is a member of the American Impressionist Society as well as the Oil Painters of America, and her work has been featured in American Art Collector Magazine. Her work is included in the collections of former President George W. Bush and at Washington & Jefferson College, as well as in corporate and private collections throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. She describes her work as “impressionistic palette knife paintings (that) exhibit lush textures, at times almost sculptural, combined with detailed brushwork to emphasize the focal point.” www.adobbin.net
Award-winning artist Pat Forsberg studied at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., as well as with well-known artist Elizabeth Bronson for multiple years. She has won numerous awards, including the Charleston Artist Guild’s 2008 People’s Choice Award sponsored by First Federal Bank of Charleston. Forsberg currently lives and paints in Charleston. www.patforsberg.com
Not yet familiar with the fish camps of the region’s Sea Islands? Author and photographer Janet Garrity has created a published book about these fish camps. They are “a very old, generational tradition that is part of being raised on the river,” she says.
Her book, “Goin’ Down the River, Fish Camps of the Sea Islands,” captures the special character of these fascinating places through her photos and stories. Originally from Ithaca, N.Y., Garrity moved to Beaufort in 2008. Even though her professional career was in marketing and sales, her love for photography since age 8 has been her lifelong passion. www.garrity.com
Woodturner Ashley Harwood gives fallen trees a second life as artful bowls, ornaments and even earrings. She discovered her craft at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina after enrolling in a workshop with her father.
She considered a career in glass blowing while earning an art degree from Carnegie Mellon University but liked the salvage aspect of working with wood. Her work has caught the attention of collectors including Paul Richelson, chief curator at the Mobile Museum of Art in Alabama. www.ashleyharwood.net
Christina Louise Hewson
Artist Christina Hewson was born and raised in Awendaw. Since she was homeschooled through high school, she says she had plenty of time to explore personal interests such as swimming, drawing, piano, math and science. It was this time in her life that helped her develop an interest in wildlife, the human body and music.
When she went to the College of Charleston, she fell in love with drawing. “I love to capture the souls of living creatures in as pure and simple a style as possible. My sincere hope is that you enjoy my art and that my art will in some way benefit animals of all species. Although I am currently absorbed in the study of dogs, I plan to make time in the future to study the human body and large cats.” www.christinahewson.com
“I am fascinated with the light at the end of the day. When the evening sun is low and warm touching the tops of the sand dunes and grasses of the marsh is the time of day I love best,” says pastel artist Kellie Jacobs. She uses atmosphere and light to create mood and expression in her work, which is in collections locally as well as internationally. kelliejacobsart.com
Diane Odachowski attributes her creativity to her grandfather, who was a famous fashion designer in New York. She has spent many years studying at the likes of the Du Cret School of Art, the Art Institutes of Atlanta, Cincinnati and Buffalo, and also the New Jersey School of Visual Arts.
When she moved to Charleston in 1996, she and her husband used their imaginations to restore two period homes in the Historic District for which they were awarded a Carolopolis Award for Restoration.
Odachowski has worked in watercolor and pastels but now considers herself primarily an oil painter who specializes in landscape, architecture, still-life and figures. She is a juried member of the Charleston Artist Guild and the Charleston Plein Air Painters, and has won numerous awards for her paintings.
Born in Columbia, Curtis Phillips began his artistic endeavors early on, studying art, piano, printmaking and portraiture. He also has spent time growing and learning in many different places.
He moved to Los Angeles to further his career but felt disconnected with the city and moved back to South Carolina to teach art. He then felt he needed something else and moved to New York, where he stayed and trained for quite some time. “I learned more in my stay in New York City than at any other time in my career. That experience had a profound impact on my work,” he says.
Now back in Charleston, he works as a professional artist. His artwork can be found in public and private collections throughout the country. www.phillipsart.net
Vicki Robinson is an oil painter who resides in Mount Pleasant.
Hunter and fisherman Ben Ross grew up experiencing, and falling in love with, the great outdoors of South Carolina. As he got older and many of his friends were getting married, he wanted to wear something more interesting than your basic black bow tie. Never one to conform, he ended up creating his own bow tie — one that combined his love of the outdoors and being well dressed. It was made out of turkey feathers.
On his own wedding day, Ross gave all his groomsmen their own Brackish Bow Ties. They were such a hit that Ross now has a business making and selling them. No two are the same. www.brackishbowties.com
Award-winning oil painter Sheryl Stalnaker’s work long has been part of Piccolo Spoleto and SEWE, as well as the Telfair Museum of Art Fair in Savannah. She also exhibits regularly in galleries in the Carolinas and Georgia. Her palette knife paintings focus on beautiful light and intersection perspectives in her compositions. One of her pieces was chosen as the official poster image for the 2011 Charleston Farmers Market as well as the 2011 Old Village Home, Garden & Art Tour. www.sherylstalnaker.com
Peter Van Voris
Peter Van Voris, a resident of Daniel Island, creates tables from wine barrels.
Painter Lisa Willits has a bachelor’s and master’s in biology and was employed in the biomedical research field. As a hobby in the mid-’90s, she started taking photography, drawing and painting classes at the Gibbes Museum School. She recounts that after years of storing the paintings from these classes under the bed in her guest room, friends and family encouraged her to get her art “out there” for others to see. Willits now works as a full-time professional painter and has since 2005. As an avid lover of the outdoors, she says that skies, water and trees are her favorite things to paint, and she loves to paint plein air. Willits is an exhibiting member of the Charleston Artist Guild, an associate member of Oil Painters of America and formerly the coordinator of Charleston Outdoor Painters. www.lisawillits.com
“Influenced by natural elements, my art is a reflection of the environment in which I live. Using organic and recycled materials — bone, driftwood, scrap metal, etc., my sculptures depict continuous life cycles that consciously and unconsciously permeate our awareness,” says artist Matt Wilson. He says he hopes that his sculptures will help others to appreciate the simple things from which he derives inspiration.