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Visionary art at Carlton Gallery

Article Published: Oct. 19, 2009 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Visionary art at Carlton Gallery

Carlton Gallery continues its 27th Autumn Exhibition with special emphasis on Visionary Art as a feature of the fifth Avery Tour de Art on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Avery Tour de Art affords the opportunity to visit all the galleries and artists' studios in the Avery coalition.

The gallery will exhibit new work by local artists Debbie Arnold and Toni Carlton, whose visionary or imaginative art conveys different images and encompasses many schemes.

Debbie Arnold was one of the first artists to exhibit at Carlton Gallery. Her formal graphic arts training and love of oriental art influences her paintings. She utilizes the fluidity and lightness learned through years as a watercolorist with the quality of acrylic paints to be layered. Arnold's individualistic style consists of 15 to 20 layers of transparent paint to create intricate paintings that shimmer with the layered colors.

Arnold is greatly inspired by nature, although she does not paint scenes or existing scenarios, but puts together a puzzle from her subconscious. Her subject matter comes from visions or dreams that take a long time to evolve before the actual painting begins. She says her artwork is more of a stream of consciousness.

Arnold's accomplishments include several one and two person shows, as well as entry in numerous juried and invitational exhibits. Her work is included nationally in corporate, public and private collections.

Toni Carlton's main focus for her art is the connection between all people to spread peace, whether it is in one's heart or throughout the world. Her mixed media collages and paintings project an ethereal world created through her poetic imagination. Carlton depicts a magnitude of emotions in her canvases that spark a connection with the viewer.

From a young age, Carlton knew she wanted a career in art. After earning a B.S. from Appalachian State University, where she double majored in fine art and industrial arts with a minor in art marketing, she started Woven Works Art Gallery and Studios, which was later changed to Carlton Gallery.

Carlton realizes she is fortunate that art has sustained her for many years regardless of the many challenges, and she is true to herself by painting exactly what she wants to paint. Carlton said, "My media in my art work continues to change. I began my art career as a fiber artist creating contemporary weavings and basketry which changed to mixed media drawings and paintings in the early '90s. Now, my artwork is mixed media collage incorporating woven textures to come full circle back to my early woven works. My message in my paintings and mixed media has always been the same, showing the connection of all our relations and the spirit of the heart."

Recently, Carlton's artwork was shown in two calligraphy exhibitions in Seoul, Korea, a Modern Biennial Exhibition in June 2009, and a World Calligraphy Exhibition in September 2009. Both conveyed messages of peace.

During the Avery Tour de Art on Saturday, Carlton's studio will be open with a representation of the many works of art she has created throughout her career, along with a slide-show of her early woven works. She will be available for discussion.

Carlton Gallery's 27th Autumn Exhibition runs through Nov, 15. The gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and 7 miles north of Linville in the Grandfather Community. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit

Gallery Times
Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of the Focus section of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.
For more information, contact entertainment editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.

Additional Images

'Waiting for the Music' by Debbie Arnold

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