‘Autumn in the High Country’
Impressionist oil painter Amos Westmoreland has brought the colors of autumn into Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis, and he’ll be at the gallery this Saturday, Oct. 26, to reveal his new works in the theme of “Autumn in the High Country.”
The public is invited to meet Westmoreland at Saturday’s artist reception at Alta Vista, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Refreshments include birthday cake to celebrate the gallery’s 23rd anniversary.
Westmoreland’s show will hang through mid-November. It includes 20 oils depicting various scenes in the Blue Ridge, such as autumn trees, Fraser firs, pastoral valleys and mountain rivers. Canvas sizes range from 30 by 40 inches down to oils small enough to sit on a small tabletop easel.
“Westmoreland is the most recent addition to my gallery,” said gallery owner Maria Hyde. “His work has been a gift for the gallery’s 23rd birthday, because my customers are truly enjoying his show already. Also, since he’s new to our area, his prices are still very reasonable.
“His style is very loose and gestural, and he is a colorist, so his paintings feature many layers of various colors — often very bold colors — and customers have an emotional response to these colors, as well as to his impressionist style of capturing a moment in time by portraying the light of that moment. Also, many of his paintings have a moody, evocative quality that begs viewers to connect with their own feelings.”
Westmoreland said that he paints based on the many photos he shoots of the High Country, especially the Valle Crucis area.
“The hard part is narrowing down the images that will work in my style, which I call CBS,” he said. “Colorful. Bold. Simple.”
His hope for customers is that his paintings “will cause them to pause and reflect, to take some time to have their own personal moment with the painting. If people pause and give my paintings a moment of their time, I really do appreciate that. Also, as a colorist, I hope they’ll look at my work and think, ‘I really love those colors and that heavy texture.’ My paintings have colors from my imagination, and I also spend a lot of energy in creating heavy texture with the palette knife.
“I believe that an artist’s work should connect emotionally and/or spiritually with the viewer. That’s what I strive for. That’s what art is all about.”
Westmoreland said that he initially was a very realistic painter, until he met Carolyn Blaylock, who became his mentor. He realized that he couldn’t “paint within the lines” any longer.
“As I continue to paint with Carolyn,” Westmoreland said, “I’ve realized that painting is no longer just fun. It has become a huge part of my life and a huge part of my spirit.
“I get so excited about the process of painting: selecting the subject, cropping images for composition, choosing the right canvas, block-ins, etc. It’s all about the process. That’s how I grow as an artist. Signing a finished painting is an event; creating art is a process.”
Westmoreland said his favorite colors to use in painting are alizarin crimson, cadmium orange and ultramarine blue and that viewers of his show at Alta Vista Gallery will enjoy these colors in his paintings of autumn scenes.
Saturday’s event is part of the Greater Avery Tour de Art, which is held every fourth Saturday, from June through November. Map-brochures for the tour are available at Alta Vista and the other 12 galleries and studios on the tour.
On Nov. 30, Alta Vista will host its annual Christmas Open House, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring Christmas décor, snacks and gift ideas.
Alta Vista Gallery also shows more than 100 other artists in various mediums, including oil, watercolor, pastels, prints, handmade jewelry, stained glass, fused glass, art tiles and Mangum pottery.
Alta Vista is located in a National Register of Historic Places farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. For a map and directions, visit http://www.altavistagallery.com or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247.
Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring news items submitted by local galleries.
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