Lita Gatlin's Parkway art at Blowing Rock Frameworks
During this, the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is no shortage of folks traveling the magnificent roadway with cameras hoping to capture its beauty and wonder.
One such person with a camera is taking pictures so that she can later put those colors onto canvas with oil paints.
Charlotte-based artist Lita Gatlin is currently exhibiting 20 of her latest oil paintings at Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery. The new exhibit is titled "Colors of the High Country" and was put together especially for the 75th anniversary of the Parkway.
An artist's reception for the exhibition will take place at Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery on Saturday, July 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
"I'm an avid runner and hiker, so I love to come up to the mountains and take photos of places and paint them later in my studio," Gatlin said. "I love how the High Country changes so much with the changing of the seasons. The colors become completely different."
Gatlin has spent much of her life in the Southeast and the natural vistas of this part of the country-from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Coast-form the basis of many of her landscapes. She has also visited Europe numerous times and has found a different source of inspiration for her oil paintings on that continent.
As a young artist, Gatlin started her career with an interest in pen and ink and pencil sketches. Once she found the magical colors of oil paints, she was hooked.
"It has been my goal to develop my own artistic style," Gatlin said. "I take one or two painting workshops a year, not to imitate anyone else's style, but rather to gain one or two nuggets of information that I can use in my own way."
For this new exhibit, Gatlin has mountain landscapes of all sizes, from small 6" x 6" works to larger pieces that measure 40" x 52". The works include scenes of Moses Cone Estate and Linville Falls.
"I love how the mountains here are so green when you are in them, but look like all shades of blue when you look at them from a distance," Gatlin said. "There are shades of purple and teal and blue. I was talking to my daughter about what colors I would have to mix to capture those colors, and she just laughed at me.
"I am always amazed at the colors in nature and how they constantly change with daylight and atmosphere. Whether it is people or animals, I love to capture life being lived."
Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery is located in the Food Lion Shopping Center on U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (828) 295-0041 or visit http://www.blowingrockgalleries.com.