OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION MAY 25 – JUNE 10, 2018, MARION SQUARE
This year, Piccolo Spoleto’s signature event—the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition— will celebrate its 39th year.
For two weeks, in Marion Square in the heart of Charleston, festivalgoers have the unique opportunity to view the most recent works from 70 of the state’s most renowned artists.
From watercolors, oils and acrylics to photography, each piece has an opportunity to earn the exhibit’s top prize—the Billie Sumner Award, formerly the Mayor’s Choice Award. Renamed this year in her memory, the award honors Sumner, who was an accomplished artist and director of the outdoor art show for nearly 20 years.
Continue reading to learn more about some of the artists who will be featured. The artists’ work will be available for purchase during the exhibition, or artists can be contacted directly through their websites, where you can shop prior to or following the Festival.
PICCOLO SPOLETO OUTDOOR ART EXHIBITION
Monday to Thursday
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday to Sunday
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Combining her love of art with a natural gift in math, Carla Johannesmeyer graduated with a degree in architecture from Virginia Tech, enhancing her education with studio art courses in drawing, printmaking, photography and film.
While she continued to draw, Johannesmeyer went on to have a successful career as an architect, environmental design leader and expert in process improvement.
With a keen eye for composition, Johannesmeyer blends a sense of geometric rhythm and lyrical freedom in her art. Her oil paintings are reminiscent of post-impressionist artists 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 subjects. She continually pursues learning experiences that challenge her point of view, weaving these perspectives into her work.
This year, she continues her studies of the figure within architectural space and introduces a new series of flora built on the concept of divine proportion. Her work can be viewed at ArtFields 2018, the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition and on her website.
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.”
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, both nationally and abroad. Jacobs’ work can be seen online and at the Lowcountry Artists Gallery at 148 East Bay St.
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.
Known amongst his friends as the Saltwater Cowboy, Bob Graham is a Charleston-based artist and co-owner of Studio 151 Fine Arts (175 Church St.). For Graham, every person has a story to tell, and throughout his many travels, Graham is drawn to the faces he encounters. “It is the people of each place that make it special,” he says. “The ones you meet in line at the supermarket, while you are having lunch or simply pass by on the street; they make a place and give it life.” Those are the lives that Graham aims to capture in his work.
Graham’s extensive career has earned him no less than 500 local and national awards, including the Mayor’s Purchase award at the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit in 2014 and 2016, and in 2015 he received the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibit First Place award for his total body of work. In 2016 he also picked up the First Place award in the drawing category in the Piccolo Juried Art Exhibition at City Gallery.
South Carolina artist Sandra Roper was an art major at the University of South Carolina before her path led her to a career in advertising. But 17 years ago, the Greenville native left the corporate world to stay at home with her two sons. “I wanted to go to all of their ball games,” she says. “And then I started painting again and things just evolved from there—and I never missed any ball games.”
Painting in watercolors, Roper finds inspiration in the creativity and brilliance of Charleston’s eclectic styles of architecture and from the passion, perseverance and dedication people have for their work and traditions.
These days, Roper is working on a series of ordinary people doing extraordinary things—oyster shuckers, shrimpers, farmers, hog butchers—as a way of preserving the stories of waning art forms.
You can find Roper’s paintings at the Lowcountry Artist Gallery at 148 East Bay St. or on her website.
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 and associate member of Oil Painters of America. Her paintings are currently on display at Lowcountry Artists Gallery at 148 East Bay St.
Painter Sheryl Stalnaker finds joy in depicting saltwater life and the beauty of her Lowcountry surroundings. “I love being outside and studying the scenes around me,” she says. “Looking at the moving, reflective water or changing skies and light is mesmerizing.”
Stalnaker often begins a painting on location, studying her subject live rather than simply working from photographs, which brings her works to life. With brushes and a palette knife, she builds layers of paint, adding depth and interesting textures. “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 and into the scene, where they can sense the morning air, feel the afternoon heat, smell the pluff mud or hear the sounds of nature.”
Stalnaker is represented by the Martin Gallery in Charleston.
Merrie McNair is a South Carolina native who spent childhood summers roaming the beaches and tidal waters of the Lowcountry. McNair moved to New York in 1982 and attended Parsons School of Design. Here, she discovered her love of color and textures, which she used 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 more modern palette knife interpretations of landscapes. A member of the Charleston Artist Guild, McNair sells primarily through private showings and her website.
BETSY JONES MCDONALD
Charleston artist Betsy Jones McDonald began her artistic training as a teen with watercolorist Geri Davis of Columbus, Georgia. She went on to study fine art at Columbus State University, and her eye for design was later put to work as a design manager during her years working in visual merchandising.
After moving to Columbia, South Carolina, McDonald began doing murals, which is when she realized her true love lay in large-format painting. She’s pursued oil on canvas ever since and paints using only primary colors, custom mixing all her own hues. McDonald also co-owned Island Art Gallery in Pawleys Island for four years, where she continues to regularly teach color theory workshops.
These days, McDonald’s art is inspired by the marsh surrounding her Daniel Island studio. “I love the colors of the marsh and the way they change with the seasons and the tides,” she says. “Every time you look at the marsh, you see something different, and I’m fascinated by that.”
You can find her paintings exhibited at Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, Island Art Gallery in Pawleys Island, Perspective Gallery in Mount Pleasant and at the Charleston Artist Guild Gallery.
Betsy Jones McDonald
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.
Artist Carole Carberry was born in Montana into a family that shared a natural artistic ability and a love for drawing. Specialized courses in fine art pencil and dry-brush egg tempera methods honed Carberry’s drawing skills and initiated a lifelong adventure with painting.
Her watercolors have been included twice in the prestigious traveling exhibition, Show of the South, curated by the South Carolina Watermedia Society, where she is a Member in Excellence. Watercolor is Carberry’s preferred medium, but it is a medium with limitations. Acrylics have allowed Carberry to accomplish what watercolor cannot. Her first acrylic, Siesta Splendor, was included in the Watermedia Society’s annual SCWS show in 2014 and was a breakthrough for Carberry in both color palette and style.
Long-necked birds are her favorite subject matter. “It is the graceful arch of a swan’s neck, the colorful beaks of herons and the ethereal quality of feathers that I find beautiful and attempt to share in my work,” she says.
Dividing each year between South Carolina and Montana, Carberry is active in the Sumter South Carolina Artists Guild and is co-chair for two summer art festivals in Polson, Montana.
HILARIE LAMBERT STUDIO
Hilarie Lambert’s fine art career began when she moved to Charleston 17 years ago. She previously worked as art director for a major corporation in the Finger Lakes of New York. With the move came a new career in painting, and she has been painting the landscape here in the Lowcountry and in Europe ever since.
Lambert is well known for her generous paint application— brushing layers of color across the canvas. She puts down the paint in quick, loose but strong brushstrokes, imparting energy and a spontaneous sensibility to each work. The resulting patches of colors and shapes come together to form her signature style, which is best described as contemporary impressionism. Her work has won numerous national awards, recognition in major art magazines, and opportunities to teach workshops in France and Argentina just this past year.
Her work can be found at the Principle Gallery at 125 Meeting St.
Hilarie Lambert Studio
JENNIFER SWAIN KOACH
Jennifer Koach is a North Carolina native who spent much of her adult life living overseas, working as an interior designer and painter. She has painted backdrops for theater, murals for commercial buildings and studied faux painting in Italy. Now she lives in Kiawah Island and paints full time.
When Koach isn’t putting a brush to canvas in her Meeting Street studio, her work can be found in Church Street’s Studio 151, where she is an exhibiting artist. She started primarily as a figurative artist, capturing emotions and personality through the body position. People who are going about their daily lives doing ordinary things is a favorite subject.
This year she continues with her White Towel series of nude women—women who expose themselves with confidence to the world. They are painted in oil on foreign language newspapers to indicate the camaraderie that women share.
Jennifer Swain Koach
A native of Louisiana, Katherine DuTremble has been an artist since the age of 7.
Now living in Charleston, DuTremble produces awardwinning works in printmaking and oils, which are in private and corporate collections internationally.
DuTremble was named one of the Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art for 2016, 2017 and 2018 by Art Tour International. She has exhibited at Piccolo Spoleto for 29 years.
You can view DuTremble’s works and illustrated poetry book on her website, at CHD Interiors located in Mount Pleasant and Murrells Inlet, or by appointment in her Mount Pleasant studio. Commissions welcomed.