By Mary Karr

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth…it is the time for home”

Edith Setwell

This is also the time to reflect on all the joys and excitement of the past year and look forward positively to an even better year.

We, whose lives are intrinsically entwined into the world of the arts welcome the new season with much anticipation.  Now is the chance to relax and start a new painting or project that will keep us enthused and warm inside, busy and productive.  I enjoy painting the flowers that bloom in the other seasons in my garden during the year, but it is with great pleasure that I can choose as a subject for a picture which shines inside my windows in the winter.  There might be a dusting of snow in the crisp air, but there are many beautiful birds to watch in the bird feeders, bird baths, and bird houses that are just waiting for me to paint.  What could be more cheerful on a cold winter day than to see a pair of crimson red cardinals or the downy woodpecker dining around the feeders?  With a background of green holly, ivy, and some evergreens it is an ideal start for a watercolor.

One of the special art interests of mine is the great and distinctive American artists all the way from Winslow Homer and Sargant to Carolyn Brady, Edward Hopper and Andy Warhol.  I am particularly drawn to their watercolors and am amazed how they were able to improvise and take advantage of any little accidents and transform them into something extraordinary.

“Painting in watercolor is a little like skippering a sailboat.  You set a destination and plot a course that will get you there, but you do not expect to arrive by following a straight line.”  Christopher Finch

The art show held by the Lake Lure Artists in early winter at the Lake Lure Town Hall was a big success and we hope to repeat it again.  After a busy and active holiday season our group is optimistically looking ahead to the New Year with plans for new and interesting activities including gallery openings and art shows.  Their paintings, photographs, pottery and craft works are constantly being changed and exhibited in our local restaurants, the Mountains Library, and in individual homes and galleries. Please check them out.  Join us some second or fourth Thursday morning at 9:30 every month for our fun and interesting meetings.  If you are a budding artist I am sure you will find encouragement, help, and hope in this special group of artists to aid you in your way to a bright and fascinating life in the world of art.

Fredrick Church is the current star attraction at the Renolda Museum of American Art in Winston- Salem.  He is one of the most famous American painters, world acclaimed as an icon among the prestigious Hudson River Artists.  This exhibition recalls a recent Hudson River cruise we took.  We were treated to a glorious tour of his home and museum along the river.  I am looking forward to a visit to the current show and will give you a report in the next issue of The Mountain Breeze.