Area painter exhibits in Blowing Rock bank
Ted Eikman has a secret to painting a perfect oil-paint waterfall.
"I use my left hand when painting waterfalls," Eikman said. "That lack of control seems to actually capture the water in a really exciting way."
Eikman is a local painter who lives in the High Country, painting the landscapes of the region.
He currently has an exhibition of local scenes in downtown Blowing Rock, at the Wachovia (a Wells Fargo Company) on Main Street.
His art features representations of nature, which began when he was a child growing up in rural Indiana.
"I used to go for hikes in back of the house, saw all the little turtles and the birds in the trees - started drawing a lot," Eikman said.
To use his love of art, he became an art teacher in St. Petersberg, Fla., where he fashioned many different kinds of art, from jewelry casting and fabrication to sculpting in alabaster.
While he enjoys those media, Eikman's favorite is still oil painting.
"Painting can be done at any age, and your arms won't wear out," Eikman said. "As far as I'm concerned, oil painting is the way to go."
His art that is on display right now is a set of oil paintings of views of the local flora and fauna of the High Country, from the trail at Moses Cone Park to the rarely seen back-view of Grandfather Mountain.
"An artist has to draw out the subtleties in nature, from places that most people just don't look," Eikman said. "Art has always been in me, an appreciation of nature and color."
Eikman is inspired by the observable qualities of nature, and by looking deeper than the surface may show.
"A lot of your ideas come from what is around you," Eikman said. "The color green in a tree is unbelievable - it's lighter greens and darker greens and blue-greens, things that people don't see right away when they see them. In a piece of artwork, all those things are in there.
Observation and analyzing what about a tree makes it interesting."
Eikman and his wife, Beth, began living in the High Country in 1977, eventually acquiring a 150-year-old cabin that they moved from Deep Gap to Huckleberry Knob.
The couple appreciates the nature around them and always seems to have pets around, including a wire-haired fox terrier most of the time.
When he isn't painting the scenes of the High Country or playing with his pets, Eikman can be found playing the violin.
"Oil painting and playing the violin are the two hardest things I've done in my life," Eikman said. "To get to a certain level in those two things really takes a lifetime."
Eikman takes lessons in the High Country with former Appalachian State University professor Glen Muegel, and he plays first violin in the Sun Coast Symphony in St. Petersberg, Fla.
"My goal is to eventually play Mendelssohn's Opus 64," Eikman said. "It is a very difficult piece, and I can play parts of it, but eventually I want to be able to stand up and play it in front of people."
One of the most impressive moments in Eikman's career as an artist came when Eikman was working on paintings and bringing them to Blowing Rock with him.
Richard Evans Younger, a world-renowned nature artist who lived in Blowing Rock, would preview his work every year.
He gave him ideas about how to develop his background, middle ground, and foreground, and other pointers on how to improve the overall picture that Eikman was conveying.
"He never gave me any kind of compliment until one day, he said, 'You can call yourself an artist now,'" Eikman said. "That was one of the proudest moments of my life."
The exhibition of Eikman's work will be in Blowing Rock until the end of August.