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‘Voyages and Visions’

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Article Published: May. 22, 2013 | Modified: May. 22, 2013
‘Voyages and Visions’

'French Village' by Sharon Rusch Shaver

Spring is in the air with a European flair at Carlton Gallery.

The Banner Elk gallery hosts its Spring Group Exhibition Celebration Saturday, May 25, from 2 to 5 p.m., featuring new art by standing gallery artists, whose work ranges from traditional to contemporary in paintings, glass, wood, sculpture, clay, fiber and fine jewelry.

Paintings by Andrew Braitman, Kevin Beck, Egi Antonaccio, Ray Byram and Connie Winters include subject matter ranging from abstracted landscapes and Tuscan landscapes to Blue Ridge vistas and urban landscapes.

Contemporary figurative works by Warren Dennis and Mike Ham are “colorful, energetic, enjoyable and entertaining for the viewer,” gallery owner Toni Carlton said, while still life paintings by Mary Martha McKinley and watercolors from Freeman Beard “capture the color, mood and tranquility of their painting subject.”

A special exhibition, “Voyages and Visions: A European Influence” by Helen Farson, Gina Strumpf and Sharon Rusch Shaver — gallery artists who enjoy travelling and painting in the Provence region of France and the Tuscany area of Italy — will also be featured.

“Each artist has captured in oils on canvas her interpretation of the atmosphere, comportment and beauty found in these fascinating countries,” Carlton said. “Lively café scenes, tranquil landscapes and riveting street scenes reflecting the artist’s experience and vision of her European travels capture the ambience and minute details in each painting.”

Helen Farson expresses her vision of her European travels by what she refers to as “mapping her journey with brush and color,” as each of her painting forays has made its own map across her heart.

“She renders oil paintings in her distinct, impressionistic style with clear colors and lyrical brushwork full of Old World charm,” Carlton said. “Farson’s ‘A French Blue Lunch,’ a sidewalk café scene, which is a way of life in the European culture, evokes a relaxing and calming ambience, with the brilliant blue awnings shading the diners.”

Gina Strumpf, described by Carlton as “a prolific painter with natural talent,” has travelled for studies and workshops in Southern France and Tuscany to hone her skills and expand her vision. Strumpf said she loves travelling to stimulating locations and painting en plein air (outdoors).

Strumpf said she is inspired by patterns of light and shadow and renders her paintings to capture the excitement she feels for her subject matter. She has a distinctive style in her popular “Red Umbrella” cityscapes, with reflections that make one yearn to walk in the rain, Carlton said.

Sharon Rusch Shaver renders oil paintings in her unique perspective with subtle undertones, while working en plein air. She grew up on Grand Island, N.Y., with parents who were oil painters, though not professionally. They were very encouraging when informed of Shaver’s drawing talent. The opportunity to travel in the United States and Europe, visiting art galleries and museums, inspired her to pursue a painting career.

Shaver is an award-winning, published artist who was commissioned to do a painting for the White House, which is now a part of its permanent collection. She teaches oil painting workshops and, most recently, in Europe where she experienced the subject matter for her engaging paintings.

The Spring Group Exhibition runs through July 23, as the gallery begins its 31st year of showcasing fine art in all mediums. The “Voyages and Visions: A European Influence” exhibition and artists’ reception allows one to observe paintings with a different view and meet Farson, Strumpf and Shaver. This exhibition continues through June 18.

Carlton Gallery is located 10 miles south of Boone and seven miles north of Linville on N.C. 105 South in the Grandfather Mountain community. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For information on artists, exhibitions or workshops, call (828) 963-4288 or visit

Gallery Times

Gallery Times is a weekly news feature of The Mountain Times, featuring short news items submitted by local galleries.

For more information or to make a submission, contact editor Frank Ruggiero at ( or (828) 264-6397.

Additional Images

'French Village' by Sharon Rusch Shaver

'A French Blue Lunch' by Helen Farson

'Watch Over Me' by Gina Strumpf

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