by Mary Karr

With a fresh new year before us it is the perfect time to slow down after an exceptional year filled with much activity and experiences both joyous and sad.  Even a cold and frosty day holds many possibilities.

“What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?”
John Steinbeck

On a brisk January day I watch the rabbits and squirrels in my garden and remember with much fondness a trip not long ago to the lake country shore in England to the home of Beatrice Potter in Near Sawrey.  The winding roads filled with many trees and stone walls covered in moss and ivy reminded me of my home in Lake Lure.  The beloved author and illustrator of the Peter Rabbit books, recognized all over the world, lived in a special and lovely part of England.  Her beautiful art and stories have survived through many generations of children, a huge tribute to an outstanding artist.

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
St. Francis of Assisi

Another famous painter of mine is Winslow Homer who is also known as an illustrator along with being chiefly celebrated for his nature paintings of life on or near the sea.  I am particularly drawn to his watercolors, many of which are waterfront locations around the shores of New Jersey and Gloucester and places on Cape Ann.  A favorite painting is “Winding Line” (1875).  This portrays a contemplative fisherman, winding line, sitting on the edge of his boat, moored on a pebbly beach.  This remarkable painting was executed in oil. These outstanding artists remain alive in our minds and hearts even though the lived over a hundred years ago.

The weather might be a bit crisp outside, but there are many blissful ideas to explore in the Hickory Nut Gorge.  A new selection of art by the Lake Lure Artists is on display in restaurants and the Mountains Branch Library.  Our group is pleased that new members have joined us this past year, and we can’t wait to have them share their talents with us.  There might be snowflakes drifting around outside, but the artists will be busy painting and creating art getting ready for art shows and meetings, celebrating the talents and accomplishments of our members.  We are happy to share our appreciation for art and its history with others.