By Mary Karr

Though summer is just around the corner, spring is wonderful with the yellow daffodils in bloom.  It was indeed a welcome and especially lovely sight to see my garden come alive, and I began again to paint the flowers popping up around us.  The photographers are out in the gardens also to capture the beauty of the flowers through their lenses.  I remember those words of Sir Walter Scott:  “Nothing is more the child of art than the garden”.

In the past before the days of photography the only way to capture a family get together or preserve the likeness of a relative or friend was to have a portrait painted.  The same went for gardens.  Even though photographs have an enormous appeal today, nothing seems to hold the charm of a beautifully executed and conceived original likeness painted in oil, watercolors, or charcoal.  It is critical, however, and sometimes difficult to find and select an artist whose abilities will provide an outcome that is satisfactory.  If one is interested in pursuing this intention a good starting point is to attend an antique or art fair which would give access to a broad variety of artists whose skills and style you admire.  There are also society agents and advertisements in numerous art magazines.  There are fewer good portrait painters than good portrait photographers.  It is well to look through portfolios of the artist’s work.

Some artists, both painters and photographers, like the freedom of choosing their own particular style and others will paint or photograph with different instructions from the buyer.  This includes the pose, the clothing, colors, and the background.  As far as the cost of painted portraits, watercolor and charcoal are sometimes more affordable than oil, but that depends on the experience and talent of the artist.  Some portrait painters are happy to work from photographs, but unless the commission involves a posthumous portrait, the artist would have to take his or her own photographs.  In the end there are few possessions as worthy as a portrait to pass down through the generations.

We have in our Lake Lure Artists group quite a few photographers who are quite actively engaged in their passions of artistic endeavor.  In our home some of my prized possessions of artwork that hang on my walls are photographs done by my friends, Milan Moravec, Nancy Hoopes and Ellen Jacques.  All of them, including Milan’s wife, Jana, are excellent examples of the many talented members of our growing art group whose art work is displayed at the Mountains Library, and many Hickory Nut Gorge restaurants and galleries.  Please support these local artists and obtain some fine works of art.