‘Trees’ grow at Alta Vista Gallery

Article Published: Jun. 26 | Modified: Jun. 26
‘Trees’ grow at Alta Vista Gallery

'Boating on Price Lake' by Joan Sporn

A veritable forest of art is growing at Alta Vista Gallery, as area artist Joan Sporn unveils her latest exhibit, “Trees.”

The public is invited to meet Sporn and see her new show at Alta Vista Gallery’s opening reception this Saturday, June 28, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show will hang through mid-July.

Inspired by Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees,” the Linville painter has graced Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis with 26 new oils depicting various types of trees in landscape paintings — in more colors than ever before.

“I like it when people compare my new work to Wolf Kahn, a colorist painter who I really like,” Sporn said. “This year, I’ve been pushing color — pushing it to the next level, pushing it to its limits. I still use a lot of colors that I’ve used often, but this year, I’m using them in different combinations.”

This new batch of paintings by Sporn is a bit different from her past work, according to gallery owner Maria Santomasso-Hyde, who has represented Sporn for 15 years, watching the work evolve every year.

“These new paintings create more of an emotional journey for the viewer, who will be forced to think and to feel, to see where the painting takes them,” Santomasso-Hyde said. “There is also a lot of life and movement in the new work. These are not merely portraits of trees. These trees have important work to do for the paintings. These trees are dancing, waving, guarding mountain streams, encircling a fisherman or a couple canoeing on Price Lake, or enhancing a field of lupines or sunflowers. The trees show perspective.

“The paintings also have finesse, a sense that Joan was thinking about each stroke’s placement, although the strokes are even more loose and gestural than ever. She is also combining brush and palette-knife together more often than she used to do. She has been my best-selling artist for years, and looking at the 26 new paintings, I can see that trend continuing. There is a quote from the famous painter, Matisse, that sums up Joan’s work: ‘Creativity takes courage.’ To paint the way Joan Sporn does really does take courage, and people admire that.”

When asked why the new works are different from past works, Sporn said, “I was trying on purpose to be more abstract, yet definable. I still want the viewer to know what they’re looking at — but I don’t want to show too many details, yet I don’t want to lose the subject. The hardest thing is to decide what to put in a painting and what to leave out, but I’m trying harder to create simplicity.

“After many years of painting, I feel like I have new vision now. I used to see a photo and paint what the photo had in it. Now, I can look at a photo that I’ve used in the past, but create a painting that is nothing like the photo or the older paintings that came from it. I can re-invent that old photo and make a new painting that looks how I want it to look, independent of the photo, using my imagination.

“Another thing I did differently this year was more sketches. I’ll play around with up to six sketches on small bits of paper, doing it in different ways. Then, when I begin to paint it on canvas, I have a definite direction in mind, a plan, which helps me focus on the design and composition. Of course, you still always have some nice surprises.

“This is how I’ve always wanted to paint, and I’m having fun with it. While painting, I don’t think about what other people like. I paint what Joan Sporn likes. I like a small realistic touch, but not so much that it tells me everything. I think people should use their imaginations and create their own story for a painting.

“I also wanted to be more abstract because they seem exciting to me. Abstract paintings are also more about emotions and about letting the painting take you somewhere.”

The new paintings feature a variety of sizes, from 8x10 inches to 30x48 inches.

Alta Vista Gallery hosts monthly receptions as part of the Tour de Art, which is held on the fourth Saturday of each month, June through October. The July 26 event, “The Power of Yellow,” will feature new oils by Bennette Rowan.

Map-brochures for “Tour de Art” are available at Alta Vista Gallery and at the other sites on the tour.
Alta Vista Gallery is located at 2839 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex, only 10 minutes from Boone. The two-story gallery is located in a National Register of Historic Places farmhouse and is also currently showing new works by more than 100 other artists in watercolors, oils, pastels, collage and limited-edition prints, as well as sculptures, stained-glass, art tiles, fused-glass jewelry and Mangum Pottery.

For more information, including a map and directions, visit http://www.altavistagallery.com, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247, or visit the gallery’s page on Facebook.

Gallery Times

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 (frank@mountaintimes.com) or (828) 264-6397.

Additional Images

'Boating on Price Lake' by Joan Sporn

'Misty Lake Colors' by Joan Sporn

'Fantasy Forest' by Joan Sporn

'Mosaic of Autumn' by Joan Sporn

'Expecting a Catch' by Joan Sporn

'Rushing Stream' by Joan Sporn

'Wild Lupines' by Joan Sporn

'Setting Sun' by Joan Sporn

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