PICCOLO SPOLETO FESTIVAL

This year would have marked the 41st edition of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which for 17 days every spring transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of the cultural vitality and diversity of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Showcasing the work of more than 80 South Carolina artists, the festival provides art lovers an opportunity to enjoy daily painting demonstrations and personally connect with the artists.

Launched in 1979 by the City of Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs, the event presents a varied program that includes visual art exhibitions, classical music, jazz, dance, theater and choral music, as well as cultural events and community celebrations.

We had the opportunity to sit down with some of the artists who were due to exhibit this year. Their work can be purchased by contacting them directly.

Fer Caggiano
FERCAGGIANO.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: It showcases a good selection of juried artists, and that makes it a nice, accessible fine art display to the general public.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: It is the longest-lasting festival I ever signed up for. I think that gives plenty of time for the art audience to be able to explore all the booths, view and buy without the pressure of a short-term festival.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: This is my debut year. I decided to sign up because of the festival’s good reputation. My friends say the length is brutal, but at the end it is totally worth it. I look forward to meeting new collectors.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: I believe art’s role is to shift people’s mindsets. As an artist, I see art as my voice. Sometimes I look to share the beauty that I perceive in the world, and sometimes I want to make people think and question a topic. I see every painting as a portal with the ability to transport people to a different mindset, triggering a set of emotions, whether bringing the observer to a peaceful place or encouraging their minds to venture into new ideas.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I am a painter mostly, but I love exploring new directions. It’s not uncommon to find mixed media added to oils. I did a lot of sculpturing when I was younger. It’s probably the reason why I feel so comfortable using the palette knife and doing such heavy impastos.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: I don’t think I can say I have one top favorite, but I could say I have a favorite period. I love Van Gogh, Henry Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Alphonse Mucha and Gustave Moreau. I am a colorist in my heart, so the artists that made such an amazing use of color are always an inspiration. I also love patterns and mythology, as well as figurative. When you see my night scenes, the Van Gogh influence is very clear. When you see my portraits, you will be able to notice Klimt’s. I love art books and I have a bookshelf filled up with them. I rarely run out of inspiration, but some days it is Matisse that will give me the push I need, some days it will be Schiele. Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: Life inspires me. One day I may crave painting a beach scene. Another day I just must work on a concept that is stuck in my head. My mind is constantly looking at the world for inspiration.
I have pages of ideas written down to work on. My hardest problem is deciding what is worth executing.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: I don’t have memory of a specific moment. I have loved drawing since my first box of crayons. Mom couldn’t stop me from sketching on the walls. I have always had an urge to paint, to create.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: I don’t think I have a structured process. Sometimes art just pours out, and I have some 15 canvases in progress simultaneously in my studio. When I get a commission piece, my process is completely different. I take tons of pictures, sketch on-site if possible, study the subject as much as I can so I can absorb its true nature. Only then I move on to the canvas, often using several pictures as reference so I can capture beyond a camera shutter. I am more about the feelings that will be triggered instead of achieving a photographic representation.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: I never know for sure. There is always something that could be worked on a bit more. It is a fine line where the artist must decide if the extra work is making it better or worse. At some point you just have to let go of a piece. I often look at pieces I did long before I keep thinking that I could “fix” something. It is hard. The hardest part of creating art. When does one stop?

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Gerardo Leccese
GERARDOLECCESEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: The festival does a terrific job at showcasing the wide variety of art—especially fine art.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: The variety of art—music, dance and visual—brings out many types of customers who would possibly never attend a visual arts festival. I think the diversity of the attendees is what makes the festival such a success.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival?
A: This will be my fourth time participating.
Q: Why do you keep returning?
A: I’m a local artist, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival is a great way to get exposure without leaving my hometown.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Art is a way to pull together many different cultures.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: As a mixed-media artist, my art is an incorporation of all the various medias that I’ve studied, which include interior design, architecture, painting and photography, with the result of unique pieces with lots of texture, depth and bold colors.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: I have been influenced by many different artists, so that would be difficult to say! But I do lean toward modern style and colors.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: My life experiences: travel, family, diverse cultures, life.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting? A: When I was 12, I attended Istituto d’Arte in the Basilicata region of Italy. I think this is when I really started to focus on my art.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: The process is different with each painting, and therefore each one is unique. I can be inspired by a pattern, a photo, a color or a unique shape. My art is a combination of materials and photography. Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: When I sign it and frame it.

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John Albrecht
ISLANDBOYART.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: It is giving regional artists the opportunity to show their talents and showcase their work in a single setting. It gets everyone outside to see beautiful work.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: Many art festivals last only one day or a weekend. This art exhibit lasts 17 days. It can be a true challenge for artists to commit to such a long event, and sometimes the elements don’t cooperate. However, the benefit of access for artists to speak with collectors, and for collectors and enthusiasts to meet the artists, is exceptional. Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: This is my second year in the Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition. I enjoy meeting people and speaking about my work, getting feedback from prospects and making connections for future work. I was quite busy working on new pieces after the festival last year.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: As a retired engineer with little to no art training from school, I can’t really give you a technical answer to this question. But art appeals to me emotionally. I believe it appeals to each person in his/her own unique way and has been that way for centuries.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I’m an artist with a passion for the environment. I want to showcase the beauty of the place where I grew up. I love to paint en plein air (outdoors), where you can see the true colors, and the challenge of limiting what you are painting while outdoors, and the fact that you are chasing the sun means you must paint fast. Painting outside has made me pick up my pace of work just out of habit. Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: Currents masters Roger Dale Brown and Kathleen Hudson are artists I follow who are contemporary. I have been studying Roger’s work through his book, A Passion for Painting, earlier this year. He motivated me to attempt to do a painting a day, beginning in January, and I was fairly successful, completing over 20 pieces before being called off to some emergency project work on a house we own.
Kathleen Hudson is another current “master” who I follow. She will hike several miles, carrying her paints on her back, complete a study on-site and then hike back out. Now that is dedication to getting the colors and the scene correct.
Joaquín Sorolla is another master (1863–1923) whose work I was able to see in a museum in Madrid, Spain, and who I have copied through some class exercises.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I’m inspired by the desire to evoke emotion in such beautiful scenery all around us. The challenge to “chase the sun” as I paint outside is a test of ability and speed. At the times when you actually pull it off, you’re like, “Yes! It worked.” There is an ongoing desire to discover color, techniques for producing paint quality and producing art that can be deemed as “fine art.”
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: I drew a lot of boats and marsh scenes as a kid, and my mother enrolled me in art classes with Ms. Gore several doors down the street. She encouraged me to stick with it but other “interests” took over. My wife later gave me a painting class with local artists Martin Ahrens and Joyce Hall of The Studio. That was in 2001.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: I will begin either on-site or in the studio with thumbnail sketches of a particular subject or scene. The composition must be close or the scene will be in vain. The sketching process will hopefully identify problems before I begin. A quick underpainting is done, usually with either a bright red or a neutral tone, such as raw sienna—a color I discovered by studying Roger D. Brown’s work. Darks are roughed in, and the scene will take shape as lights are added.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: I will typically ask, “Does it read ‘crab’? OK, then, it’s done.” Well, not really, but the painting can
be overworked, if I’m not careful. The sketching process helps keep me out of trouble and leads me to the end. A lot of times, I have the finished product in my head before I ever start. It’s important to begin with the end in mind, if I can steal that from the book Good to Great.

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Katherine Curtis Hester
CURTISHESTERGALLERY.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival provides artists the opportunity to share their work with the Charleston community, visitors to the area, art collectors and youth.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: The beautiful setting and wonderful people of the area make this festival unique.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: Last year was my first year exhibiting my work at the festival, and it was a wonderful experience. The “veteran” artists, many who have participated in the festival for decades, were so warm and welcoming. They encouraged and helped me in so many ways to make sure my first year was successful. The other artists were so excited for me when I made my first sale. We celebrated as if I’d won a gold medal in the Olympics. The kind and exceptional artists in this group make this festival such a fun place to be!
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Connecting with people through art to inspire and collaborate is the most important role of artists. I work with several groups of seniors, many who struggle to communicate, and working with them to create art helps seniors express themselves. Even just looking at a piece of art and talking about it with seniors can completely lift their mood.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I am a painter working in oil and acrylics.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: My favorite artist is my dad, Tom Curtis. He has a way of painting birds and other wildlife that seems to capture their personalities. His foundation of drawing skills and conspicuous depth of knowledge in his subject matter gives his art a real sense of soul. Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I am inspired by my environment. Taking long walks and noticing birds, boats or the changing colors of the sky over the water often compels me to paint what is all around me.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: I first got interested in painting as a young girl. My dad is a biologist and artist. Growing up, he always pointed out different species of birds, kinds of trees and the way the light changes, making interesting shadows. Observing nature helped to build a foundation of knowledge that I use today in my painting. The willingness to learn and take risks when creating art are two important concepts my dad has taught me over the years.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: Inspired by an idea from nature and observing where the light falls on shapes is the starting point from which I begin a painting. I then paint large shapes of darker values before moving on to smaller shapes in lighter values.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: I know that a piece is finished when I step back from it and see an image that tells a story and just feels right.

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Kathy Clark
KATHYCLARKFINEART.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has proven itself to be a cultural success in promoting and introducing fine art to the general public. It is an extension of the art and cultural events of the Spoleto Festival, educating and enhancing the community of the arts and artists.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: It is unique in the sense that the artists are all residents from South Carolina, and it lasts for 17 continuous days.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: I have been participating since 2004, which makes this my 17th consecutive year. I return each year to experience the camaraderie of the other artists, introducing my art to the visitors and local community, and making sales to support my art career.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Art has an important role in our society. It is a means of self-expression. It speaks without words to communicate a message to those who admire the ability of an artist’s creation. It provides another perspective to a subject and creates a reaction from the viewer.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I am a palette knife painter who works in oils.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: I am a fan of Richard Schmid, C.W. Mundy and Andre Kohn. I admire their technique, color palette and subject matters.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: I am a baby boomer who discovered art after finding my late mother’s early drawings that she had left me. She was and is my inspiration to create art for others to enjoy.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: My process begins with an idea, then a drawing (sometimes a small painting) and then color studies.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: This is sometimes the hardest part of painting.

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Merrie McNair
MERRIEMCNAIR.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: Piccolo Spoleto Festival (PSF) is known globally for its curation of great art, be it for theater, music or the visual arts. The festival sets the stage for guests and locals to immerse themselves in art and with the confidence that the fine arts have been juried, thereby assuring diversity and collector quality.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: The variety and the quality are clearly what set the festival apart, and the fact that it spans more than two weeks, with so many of the venues being within strolling distance. Lastly, the festival provides a chance to stroll the park, meet the artists, see live demonstrations in a relaxing and engaging way. I love the chance to meet all the people who make their way to the park—from the strollers to the serious art seekers.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: While I’ve been exhibiting for eight years, I’ve been attending PSF events for more than 30 years. With all its size, there is still an intimacy about the festival that draws me in. I remember plays and musical performances of many styles; my home is filled with paintings I’ve purchased through the years.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: There is no way to answer that briefly. Art is fundamental in any healthy, vibrant culture. We learn from it; we heal with it; we can lose ourselves in it. It records history as well as moods. It reflects our souls and inspires our dreams. A world without art would be an expressionless society, and one that could most likely not sustain.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I hope I am one who is always learning, evolving and grateful for the chance to be expressive in my work. Having trained and worked as an interior designer for years, I always found a joy in helping others express themselves in their home with color, textures and unique style. Now to take those skills to canvas with brushes and knives is so satisfying.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: Different artists bring quite different inspirations. I love the traditionalist masters, the impressionists and the modernists all the same. And moreover, when I really think of artists that I love, many of these are the talented “partners in crime” that I’ve come to know through PSF. With over 80 artists in the park, and with countless galleries around the Lowcountry, we have a community of friends that gets me excited to grab a brush every day.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I am clearly inspired by nature. I’m drawn to God’s palette in all that is around us. I admire any artist who makes me pause by capturing color and light in a striking manner. I feel so fortunate to live here with all our coastal town has to offer—the beach, the tidal creeks, the light filtering through the oaks, and hands down we have the best sunsets anywhere.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: My father painted as a hobby, and I grew up always feeling something was inside me as well.
I began my artistic journey with the incredible mentoring of Laurie Meyer, and so many artists have since helped me bring something unique to my paintings.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: As trite as it sounds, I start with something that inspires me. I take hundreds and hundreds
of photos of clouds, sunsets and reflections. I then think through composition and do several thumbnail sketches to evaluate size and focal point. From there I spend a good bit of time mixing my palette to achieve just the right colors to translate the vision. Honestly, some pieces paint themselves while others marinate over weeks. I just work off of how they make me feel.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: You have touched on one of the hardest things about painting for me. I am constantly feeling a need to tinker, to adjust something—a color, a shape, a texture. I know I need to walk away. The key is in the balance and to not overwork a piece. I admit I cross that line sometimes.

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Monnie Johnson
MONNIEJOHNSONFINEART.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: In my humble opinion, I think it promotes change. Typically representative of cultural,
social, political or personal differences. The Piccolo Spoleto Outdoor Art Exhibition (PSOAE) in particular represents an artist’s perspective, visually. Arts are of value to any community as it reflects change.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: I personally enjoy the fact that the show promotes South Carolina artists alone. We have become nationally and internationally known as an integral part of the Charleston arts community, yet it reflects South Carolina’s change—whatever that may be at the time.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: I was juried into the show in 1987, and shortly thereafter left the show and Charleston to finish up my military career as an Air Force officer. After serving the remainder of my 20 years of an Air Force career, my wife, Lesley (who is a co-coordinator for the show), and I retired back to our beloved Charleston in 2002. In 2005 I reapplied and was once again juried. As the years progress from my involvement in this show, so have my collectors and sales. I enjoy the interaction and voices of those who visit us in Marion Square each year. I have been actively involved for 16 years.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: The arts are vehicles wherein people express their universal thoughts and emotions, whether
it be political, personal or social. It’s usually a representation of current events, and of course for an artist, it’s that person’s experiences, ideas or life experiences at that moment in time. Some 2-D arts are so breathtaking that it makes one pause, even if for a brief moment, allowing one to rest within the mind of that art’s thoughts and presentation while trying to interpret and understand what message is being conveyed via that particular artist’s renderings.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: An impressionist. I leave a lot undone on the canvas, purposefully. It’s your interpretation of the piece, as well as mine, that guides you through the visual space. My art is a guide only.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: Christian Hook and Jeremy Mann. Take a look at their work and you’ll see why.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: My life experiences. Blessed by the good Lord above my entire life—family, career and my strong faith.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting? A: A college professor’s wife, Billie Sumner, was a watercolorist. Her paintings in watercolor literally moved my artistic soul.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: It simply begins with a thought. Then I process with a visual idea about the thoughts that tug at my senses, encouraging me to produce something from them. I work through the idea, the concept, the colors, the perspective and the layout in my mind, which may be in the works in my head for a long time before it becomes a reality for me. My application of the painting on canvas is done fairly quickly. When I’m ready, it doesn’t take me long to produce a piece. I work predominantly in oils but am proficient in watercolors as well.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: As an artist, I know. It has to have my concepts breathing throughout the canvas. It has to have life within, and that to me means light, color and composition.

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Tommy Beaver 
TOMMYBEAVER.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: It helps promote art by allowing artist and art buyer and enthusiast to interact and have a wide selection of art to look at and admire in a nice Charleston setting.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: It’s unique because of the length of the show and its diverse selection of art.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: This is my second year. I keep returning because it’s a great place to promote my art.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Art has a significant role in our society by giving people an escape from our chaotic world—an opportunity to enjoy its beauty and spark emotions we can relate to. When you have a piece of art in your home that you love, it has a calming effect on the mind.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I’m an impressionist contemporary artist who works in oil paintings.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: My father is my favorite artist. He was an exceptional watercolor and oil painter—one of
the best I’ve ever seen with colors and his large brushstrokes.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I’m inspired by the beauty of nature that surrounds us—the ocean, marshes, moonlit nights, the mountains and the historical buildings, and the charm of Charleston.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting? A: I got interested in painting years ago, when I started collecting art from the 1960s. I was also influenced by my father. 
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: My process is to select a scene that catches my eyes. Then I begin to lay down the base coat, then continue to work across the painting, working in the details and applying different layers.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: I know a piece is finished when I look at it and I’m satisfied that I can’t improve it any further.

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Sheryl Stalnaker
SHERYLSTALNAKER.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: The art show allows visitors daily interaction with the artists. Visitors can learn about the artists’ inspirations and creative processes, and they can also watch the artists painting on-site.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: The show is juried, meaning artists must be selected to participate, thus the quality of work is high. The length of the show also allows multiple opportunities to attend.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: I’ve lost count! I’ve been exhibiting many years, through recessions and boom times, severe storms and beautiful weather. I love the yearly reunion with clients and fellow artists, while also meeting new visitors.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Art allows us to pause, reflect, feel and question. In a world that is increasingly becoming more high-tech and often isolating, art allows us to connect in a personal and meaningful way with others.
Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I’m an optimistic artist. I try to find the joy in my subjects, using a contemporary impressionistic style. Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: There are many artists I admire, but I love Sargent’s brushwork and portrayal of light; Richard Diebenkorn’s compositions and color; Charles Rennie MackIntosh’s stylized florals; and South Carolina native Brian Rutenberg’s textures and color.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I’m most inspired by nature, interesting compositions and textures. My fellow artist friends also keep me motivated and inspired. Charleston has a very close, supportive artist community. If I ever feel isolated in my studio, it is easy to connect with artist friends by meeting up to paint or talk art over a cup of coffee.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: Art and painting have been a part of my life since I was a child, but I had a career turning point when I was in my late 20s and I borrowed money from my corporate job 401(k) to attend a painting workshop in Italy. I was hooked after that and eventually transitioned into painting and teaching art full time.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: After starting with a quick sketch and underpainting, I build up layers of paint using both a palette knife and brush, sometimes incorporating cold wax into my paint mixtures. Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: When I think I’m close to finished I take photos of my work, which allows me to view the painting more objectively. With a few more finishing touches, the painting tells me to “walk away.”

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Sandra W. Roper
SANDRAROPER.COM

Q: How does the Piccolo Spoleto Festival help promote fine art?
A: It’s spectacular event and South Carolina’s premier juried outdoor art exhibition, bringing in thousands of art fans from all around the world and allowing each artist the opportunity to present his/her work.
Q: What makes the Piccolo Spoleto Festival more unique than other art festivals you participate in or attend?
A: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival is 17 days long, with lots of special events from all the arts going on each day to attract a very diverse crowd of people. The outdoor exhibition is a juried show, allowing only top artists to participate. Over the years, Piccolo Spoleto has done an exceptional job maintaining the high quality and integrity of the fine arts.
Q: The Piccolo Spoleto Festival has been in Charleston since 1979. How long have you been participating in the festival? Why do you keep returning?
A: This will be my fifth year participating. I never thought I would enjoy the outdoor tent shows, but I have found that I absolutely love it! I meet people from all around the world. I enjoy talking with them and sharing with them my work and my techniques. I have made many new friends and collectors.
Q: In your opinion, what is art’s role in society?
A: Each artist demonstrates his/her own unique creativity, inspiring and bringing joy to those they meet. It is this mode of creativity that encourages everyone to interact together and socialize more. Q: What type of artist are you?
A: I am primarily a watercolor artist. I enjoy painting scenes of the Lowcountry, and I am always overwhelmed by the beauty and creativity of Charleston’s centuries-old architecture. It all beckons me to paint.
Q: Who is your favorite artist and why?
A: My first inspiration was Virginia Fouche Bolton’s watercolor paintings. She was one of South Carolina’s foremost female watercolor artists. I admired her transparency and beautiful, bright and colorful paintings.
Q: What or who inspires you? Please explain why. A: I am inspired by the passion I see in people. I love to paint people who are dedicated to their work and are proud to have mastered their craft.
I enjoy painting fishermen, oyster shuckers and sweetgrass basketmakers who have dedicated their life to their trade.
Q: How did you first get interested in painting?
A: I have always enjoyed going to art museums and galleries to see good art. Seeing beautiful paintings inspires me to want to paint and pushes me to work to achieve the next level.
Q: Walk us through your process.
A: My best paintings are the ones of a scene
or person who has personally inspired me in some way. I always do a better job when I have a connection. I also look for good lighting situations, which make the paintings more interesting. I try to start each painting by sketching out thumbnail drawings of how I want the painting to look. This way I can plan out my composition, lighting and color scheme.
Q: When do you know a piece is finished?
A: A painting is finished when you cannot add anything to it that will improve on the painting. For me, that is usually easier said than done.