Tag Archives: John Collette Fine Art

John Collette Fine Art in Cashiers NC

John Collette Fine Art’s new Cashiers gallery is a celebration of light and art.

If John Collette Fine Art in Highlands were a big Like on your art gallery radar, wait until you see his new digs at 104 Highway 107 South, just across the street from Cashiers Exxon.

Art is all about light, and Collette’s new space is crafted to showcase each hand-selected piece in the glorious illumination the artist intended.  Two large rooms with cathedral ceilings give the new area a spacious, mountain-air feel. There is an extended porch out back for parties and workshops, informally dubbed the Diva Deck (for Collette’s delightful canine mascot, Diva). Up front there is a covered porch dedicated to weekend painters looking for an inspirational retreat.

Of course, favorite regional, as well as nationally known artists fill the gallery with their celebrated color, texture, form, line and masterful composition. New this year, Scott Upton, whose atmospheric abstractions play with multi-layered textural exploration, is a staple at Collette’s Gallery. His innovative studies in depth and reflective surfaces are an exquisite complement to any decor.

Jane Smithers’ work, another new addition, continues to soar.  Intertwined in a painterly Tapestry of Life are her art, her teaching, and her travel. Each of these is in inseparable partnership with the others. Life experiences build layer upon layer on her canvases: the rich burnt sienna of African soil, the azure skies over France, the creamy white sands of Maine’s coast, the love she has for all. It’s no wonder people follow her worldwide to catch her magical light.

Karen Weihs, another popular artist and regular to the Collette collection, says of her work, “As an oil painter and colorist, I love to create images that depict endless visual space. Forsaking all details, I conjure patterns of light, air and reflection that feel ethereal and diffused. Layered pigments, contrasting colors and geometric shapes breathe life into my images, and while my landscapes are minimal in representational content, I find viewers often see the
familiar in the abstract.”

And if you are intrigued by the Diva connection, you will love Mary Engle’s work. In describing her dog sculptures she says, “For me, the animal image symbolizes a bridge between the rational world of humans and the instinctual world of nature. My sculptural goal is to capture an animal’s gesture or movement. The surfaces of the sculptures are rich in texture and refer to human creations, memory, and patterns. Through my work, I aspire to create whimsical animated creatures that reveal a spiritual presence I feel animals possess.”

And these are but a few of the exceptional artists whose work fills Collette’s magnificent new gallery space. Stop by for a visit, dance with Diva, bring your paints and easel for a week-end workshop or get-away, or simply stroll the rooms and feast your eyes on word-class Art.

Visit www.johncollettefineart.com or stop by his new gallery space in Cashiers. Call (828 526-0339 for more information.

Cover Artist Vivian Jendzio

Vivian Jendzio brilliantly blurs the line between drawing and painting, fusing charcoal, pencil, ink, pastel, watercolor and acrylic into her own dynamic style. In her work the physical, emotional and spiritual merge. Images move, advancing, receding, shifting side to side, creating a layered tension that makes surfaces come alive.

Her background in both physical education and fine art translates into a kinetic approach to art. Imagine choreographing a dance: a rush across space, a fluid turn, an embrace, a tumble, a yield to another, a push away, and a final flurry of passion as the dancers surrender to each other. That is the kind of physicality Jendzio brings to her artwork…  a rush of feelings built upon layers and layers of sketches, gestural drawings, figurative work, observation, movement… the sheer physical work. These layers flow across her surfaces, then unite as the natural world surrenders to the emotional.

While part of her work’s appeal is its spontaneity and immediacy, it is built upon scores of preparatory sketches. She will clip a huge piece of paper to a wall and begin creating. She works intuitively. There is a communion between her, her materials, and her animal images… each member of the trio contributing to the artistic dialogue. She might spend days creating a painting’s elements. Then she begins building layer upon layer until finally the components congeal. She says, “After intense anatomical drawings, studies of light on form, the pieces are ready to begin. Each layer must be completely dry before the series of glazing and impasto can be applied. The work becomes intense and autonomic. Because of the in-depth analysis of the subjects, the pieces are depicted with complete feeling and emotion.”

When asked what lights her creative fires, she replies, “Nature’s internal powers have become the source of inspiration for my paintings. They reflect weight and balance, power and release, synchronization and contraposition.  Many paintings utilize opposition through use of color, split planes, and visual fields. It is through these visual forces that the dynamics and the internalization of energy, life, and the reverence for it are revealed.”

Jendzio’s artwork has won numerous awards. She has exhibited in many prestigious shows and galleries. Her pieces are highly sought after for collections both private and corporate.

To see more of her work visit John Collette Fine Art Gallery at 381 Main Street in Highlands or in Cashiers at 104 Hwy 107 South. They can be reached by calling (828) 743-7977  or (828) 526-0339 or visit the gallery online at www.johncollettefineart.com.

by Donna Rhodes

The Art of Karen Lawrence

by Luke Osteen

Karen Lawrence’s oil paintings, on display at John Collette Fine Art, are glimpses into an elegant world where pure sunlight spills across polished surfaces and shadows are softened to beguiling effect.

“The elegance of the curved archway, the drama of tall ceilings and open French doors, the intimacy of an overstuffed chair with a good reading lamp, are all elements of scenes waiting to be painted,” she explains. “For me, the other essential element is light. I’m especially excited by the play of bright sunlight streaking across the floor or warm lamplight drawing one to a comfortable place.” 

Karen’s always been intrigued by interiors. She’s been exploring them in oils since 1997. 

From 1985 to 1997 she specialized in watercolors. Karen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Related Arts and Crafts from the University of Tennessee, but she learned painting from various prominent watercolor teachers in the earlier years.

“Artist friends have been so pivotal as I have developed as a painter — Anne first took me to a Atlanta Artists Center meeting; Adele encouraged me, saying, ‘You must paint more interiors;’ Ellen took my paintings to the owner of a great gallery, even though he asked her not to, and he accepted them; and Clara has driven me literally and figuratively every day to explore the art world and to paint with my heart.” 

That ‘every day’ discipline is critical to the level of detail and almost instinctive application of light to her paintings.  

 “Now I have to paint every day at TULA Art Center in Buckhead, where I have had a studio since 1997,” she says. “Of course sometimes I’m out photographing beautiful homes and meeting the people who live in them. I’m intrigued by how people live and the common thread that connects us with our past. I enjoy painting interiors of houses with history and rooms filled with beloved treasures. But even those rooms we live our busy lives in today tell rich stories about their residents. I loosely paint a corner of the room, centering on a comfortable old footed bathtub, a lovely dining room with a lit candelabra, a cozy fireplace and overstuffed chair, or maybe a grand piano catching the morning sun. I hope to capture these things in paintings that will be enjoyed by our great grandchildren. I love to paint Still Life, too. It’s very relaxing after fighting with the perspective of chair legs. All in all, I can’t imagine having a better job than I do…getting paid for what I love to do anyway!”

You can catch a glimpse into Karen’s undeniably sunny worldview at John Collette Fine Art, 381 Main Street in Highlands as well as 104 Highway 107 South in Cashiers.  

Mase Lucas at John Collette Fine Art

You can’t help but be enchanted by the horses in Mase Lucas’s masterful paintings, now on display at John Collette Fine Art.

Usually solitary, but sometimes paired with a companion, these aren’t ambling pasture grazers. They are clearly free spirits, unfettered by bridle and untouched by the crop. There’s an undeniable nobility to them, a majestic blending of sinew and nonchalant grace, and, if you look carefully, a touch of the steppe that hasn’t been extinguished despite 6,000 years of “domestication.”

In fact, the equines in Mase’s paintings, with their unvarnished muscularity and suggestion of wildness, bear a kinship with the horses that gallop across the cave walls at Lascaux. That eerie parallel is reinforced by her color choices, which seem to be drawn from clays and mineral pigments. And her backgrounds are evocative of what geologists refer to as “deep time,” that sense that they’ve been weathered and leached since before the retreat of the last Ice Age.

Equally clear is the reverence that Mase brings to each of her works.

“First of all, I think that to capture in a painting the true essence of ‘horse,’ it’s necessary to have an interest in them that transcends anything that they can do for us, no matter how useful or lovely that might be,” she explains.  “There should be a deep interest in observing and understanding their relationships to one another and in trying to understand their fascinating language…which although largely silent, is specific.

“It helps to have an appreciation for the mind of a prey animal. And then there’s our perceptions of beauty and power and kindness, too, which is in their eyes and in their patience with us.”

This respect for her subjects informs their revelation on the canvas.

“It’s my intention to convey their beauty without slipping into sentimentality and their power without engaging in overstatement,” she says. “The horses in my paintings are depicted without human influence or extraneous elements that would make the painting too literal. My horses, when not solitary, share a relationship with one another or with other – usually wild – species … often birds such as crows, magpies and egrets.”

Mase harnesses this keen appreciation of the horse to a lifetime of study and mastery of technique.

“I believe that no matter how heartfelt one’s connection is to the subject, a painting should first be about paint..the substance itself…color, composition and the development of an individual technique for putting that substance on a surface — a painterliness,” she says. “For me, this trumps emotional, political or even moral considerations and, the way I see it, without these painterly elements, a painting is unable to stand on its own, no matter how conscientious, the underlying statement or emotion. My aim is to make a painting a painting in its own right regardless of subject.”

OK, but what about the almost mystical vitality in her subjects?

“I think that comes from the way I paint eyes, but it’s nothing I can put into words exactly,” she says.

If you’d like to revel in the mystery of Mase Lucas’s equine subjects, visit John Collette Fine Art at 381 Main Street in Highlands.

Stuart Roper at John Collette Fine Art

When you gaze at Stuart Roper’s oil paintings at John Collette Fine Art, you’re struck by the easy play of light that serves both to illuminate the landscape and cast gentle shadows that infuse the scene with a sense of drama.

It’s as though Stuart’s managed to bottle the essence of a lazy summer day when colors soften and blur into one another and a humble rural field becomes a thing of almost transcendent beauty.

Now part of the effect is no doubt a reflection of his natural talent and a boyhood spent in the bucolic town of Brevard, North Carolina.

But it’s taken a lifetime of training and the sheer donkey work of learning technique to bring him to the walls of John Collette.

After painting and experimenting on his own for several years, he moved to Manhattan where he attended the Art Students League of New York.  While at the League, he studied primarily with Thomas Fogarty and John Howard Sanden, and with a later move to Philadelphia, he began his study of color theory under the direction of Gerry Wright.   This was his first introduction to working within the confines of a limited palette, and it remains his approach today.

“Interestingly, ‘limited,’ in this case is an oxymoron, as this restricted palette actually opens one’s eyes to the unlimited possibilities that exists within this working method,” he explains.

It was upon moving to Normandy, France, in 1991 that Stuart began painting primarily “en plein air,” a French term which means “in the open air.”

“Living in Normandy, the ‘cradle of impressionism,’ painting en plein air was the logical next step up the ladder of my artistic development,” Stuart says.

The cloudy skies of Normandy tempered his sunny tendencies and provided a subtle context to his landscapes that’s still apparent today.

But the man from Brevard needed blue skies and in early 1993 he moved to Provence in southern France, where he spent the next five years painting the hilltop villages and Mediterranean coast, while making return painting trips to Normandy as well as to Italy and Corsica.

After Stuart returned to the United States in 1998, The Grove Arcade Public Market in Asheville commissioned him to recreate the original 1920s finials that adorn the top of the building, and the City Parks and Recreation Department also commissioned him on the development of “Grove’s Vision,” a station on the city’s historical Urban Trail.

Making Asheville, North Carolina his new home base, he continues traveling and doing what he loves most…painting en plein air.

“My main goal in painting is to translate, not copy, my subject, whether it is a landscape, still-life or the figure,” he says. “I constantly remind myself that I have the best job in the world. I go where I like, paint what inspires me and get paid for finding beauty in the world around me. Each finished painting takes on a life of its own, and I hope the result will engage the viewer(s) in a way that might provoke thought, memories, emotions or, simply a new perspective and appreciation on the everyday things that surround them as well.”

You’ll find the fruits of this lifelong process of travel and observation at John Collette Fine Art, 381 Main Street in Highlands. John Collette has opened a second gallery at 104 Highway 107 South in Cashiers.