‘Becoming One with Nature’
Artist Bennette Rowan firmly believes in striving to become one
with nature. It’s a way of life for her, and she feels that plants and animals can teach us many
“Connection with nature has been the underlying theme of most of my paintings over the years,” Rowan said. “I garden organically with native and indigenous plants, shrubs and trees. This is such an important part of my life that it simply has to be reflected in my paintings.”
Alta Vista Gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde said, “It’s only natural that we would host a show for her with the theme of ‘Becoming One with Nature.’ Rowan is a master gardener, so when she portrays plants in her oil paintings, she reveals the unique personalities of each plant. She also reveals the special bonds between the animals and people that she portrays among the plants.”
The artist will be at the gallery for an opening reception Saturday, July 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
A regionally acclaimed artist, Rowan has created 15 new oils in the theme of “Becoming One with Nature,” including her new favorite, which features a woman enjoying a gazing globe in a flower garden.
“My favorite painting tends to be the one I most recently finished,” Rowan said. “However, I do love those gazing globes among flowers, and I also love the flowers in my garden landscape painting, titled ‘Sanctuary,’ because they are the flowers that I grow outside of my studio, such as black-eyed Susans and purple cone flowers. I refer to my back lawn as ‘The Sanctuary’ or ‘The Habitat,’ because there are so many wonderful plants and animals there.”
The “Becoming One with Nature” show is hanging now through Aug. 19 and features subjects, such as deer eating from an apple tree, fox kits playing, a “Tree of Life” with horses, a covered bridge over a river, a buffalo skull, a woman in her flower garden, summer flowers, bears, a wolf and a horseback rider admiring a mountain view. Canvas sizes in this show range from six by six inches to 30 by 40 inches.
The new oils feature Rowan’s signature gestural, painterly strokes and bold color palette.
“My favorite colors to use in paintings are the primary triad of red, yellow, and blue,” Rowan said, “or the secondary triad of orange, green and purple.”
“Bennette Rowan is also acclaimed in the area of painting animals,” Hyde said. “She was even honored by the American Kennel Club for her paintings of dogs. The AKC invited her to be listed on its select registry of artists who paint dogs. It’s a very short list, so this is a huge honor for her.
“Therefore, her new show includes paintings of dogs and other animals, as well as plants — and some of the paintings feature humans interacting with both plants and animals. Interaction with nature is an important component in Rowan’s new show. Therefore, many of the paintings include human figures interacting with nature.”
When asked why she paints, Rowans said, “I can’t imagine not painting. It’s such an integral part of my life. I paint every day for up to six hours per day. I get so excited, as I watch things come together in light and space. I delight in composing images that capture the essence of my subjects, whether they are figures, landscapes, animals or flowers. I spend time first thinking about concept and content, and then I paint from the heart, working with gestural, loose strokes. My intent is to create works with emotional impact — a balance of intellect and intuition, technique and happy accidents.
“My paintings are about how I see. My hope is that viewers of my art will bring their own perceptions, memories and experiences to their viewing of the painting, and they’ll relate to it through their own unique lenses.”
Hyde added, “My favorite painting in this show is an example of this relationship between the viewer and the subjects in a painting. The piece shows a gnarled antique apple tree, like the one on the front lawn of Alta Vista Gallery, and there are deer eating apples from the tree, just like the deer do here, so this creates emotional content in the painting.”
Rowan said that her work has been influenced by the works of Georgia O’Keefe and Vincent Van Gogh, as well the many workshops she attends, such as a recent one led by Boston artist Catherine Kehoe. Rowan graduated from Agnes Scott College and has studied art all over the country, including the Art Student League in New York City.
Artist receptions are held at Alta Vista Gallery on every fourth Saturday, June through October. Refreshments are served at the receptions and include tastes from Shelton Vineyards.
The next reception will feature impressionist painter Sheila Hancock on Aug. 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These events are part of the monthly Greater Avery Tour de Art. Map brochures for the tour are available at Alta Vista Gallery and at the 12 other stops on the tour.
Alta Vista Gallery shows more than 100 artists in oils, watercolors, pastels and prints, as well as stained glass, fused glass, jewelry, art tiles and Mangum pottery.
The gallery 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 and only 10 minutes from Boone or Banner Elk. For more information, including directions, visit http://www.altavistagallery.com, http://www.facebook.com/AltaVistaGallery or call (828) 963-5247.
Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring news items submitted by local galleries.
For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at email@example.com or (828) 264-6397.