For a while, the ALHC tried using other locations. Supplemental evening programs to accommodate painters who worked weekdays were also tried. Now the regular monthly meetings have returned to the Opportunity House on Sunday afternoons. We can only hope that the bridge program will not expand to Sunday afternoons, since the Opportunity House’s meeting room and hallways provide such good space to display the work of members and featured guests.
Water colorist Pamela Haddock delivered a demonstration of her technique for the April 19 meeting. Haddock lives in the Sylva area, in the “real” Western North Carolina. (In the opinion of people living in the coves and on the ridges towards the Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville is simply the gateway to the west.) Many of Haddock’s landscapes are drawn from this picturesque area.
In less than one hour, Haddock completed a 20”x30” painting, starting with a drawn pencil sketch on 140lb cold press paper that had been thoroughly wetted front and back and placed on a composite board to be held in place by surface tension. While the white areas were somewhat dried, even they were still damp. Using large brushes and rapid gestures, she introduced pigment profusely. The water still on the paper blended the colors. Scratches and hard edges were used to add detail. The result was a rapid-fire quality painting.
Haddock has that unusual ability to lecture while painting, with a dry sense of humor that leavened the afternoon. The time passed quickly and informatively. Several knowledgeable ALHC members asked penetrating questions about some of the unusual aspects of her technique, including where to get the composite board she uses (“Lowes”) and about the Fredrix Watercolor Canvas that is the surface for several of the other paintings now at the Opportunity House for April. In addition to cold press paper and the watercolor canvas, she also uses Strathmore Illustration Board Vellum for some paintings.
Among the paintings on display are the superb “Daylily Dance” and “Sunset Storm,” both painted on canvas. “Daylily Dance” gracefully evokes the movement of the flowers in the zephyr winds. “Sunset Storm” catches the magic moment when the sun, setting behind you, underlights the clouds. Both of these paintings are art of the moment, with an inner life of transience captured by the artist.
In addition to the booth that she maintains at Woolworth Walk in downtown Asheville, Pamela Haddock sells her work through her website pamhaddock.com. This is such a comprehensive and fine website that I have not attached illustrations to this column. Going to her site and making your own choice of paintings to examine online will better serve you. Clicking on “Hendersonville Show” will display the art now on the walls of the Opportunity House. (But be warned: the colors on the screen do not do justice to the colors in the original of "Sunset Storm.") Clicking on “Browser’s Gallery” will display other recent work. There is also a link to WoolworthWalk.com.
The Art League of Henderson County recognizes that there are dedicated artists in the region at all skill levels in two-dimensional media. Calling itself “WNC's All-Inclusive Art Group,” the ALHC welcomes members ranging from the most timid and tentative amateur to the most flamboyant and confident professional. It is a friendly group with workshops and group activities that are helpful to all members. Readers living anywhere in Western North Carolina can find out more at artleague.net.