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Spartanburg, SC  29301
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Contemplating the Land

Spartanburg Artist’s Landscape Exhibit Depict Georgia and the Carolinas

Spartanburg resident Carol Story’s love of nature will be on display in her solo art exhibition Contemplating the Land at West Main Artists Co-op Aug. 6-31.

The representational oil paintings of landscapes in Georgia and the Carolinas will be free for public viewing Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Also, she will have a free and public reception on Thursday, Aug. 15, 5 to 9 p.m., during the city’s monthly ArtWalk.

“This collection of landscapes marries my enjoyment of the painting experience and my love for the out-of-doors,” the Co-op member said. “Many of these works are representative of my ramblings in Georgia, North and South Carolina -- even our own Spartanburg County. Others are from travels further afield. Whether riotous color or subtlety of shadow, the variety of beauty and insights to be learned from the land, sea, and sky are like no other inspiration to me.”

Painting is a relatively new pursuit for the career teacher, writer, and community service volunteer. The Georgia native is over 70 years old and has lived in Spartanburg for nearly 40 years. As the wife of a retired cardiologist, most of her life was focused on her family of three children and now eight grandchildren. It wasn’t until her “grandmother years” that she began to take art classes and producing her representational paintings. Professionally, she was a school teacher.

“While my father headed art departments at two Georgia colleges, my genes never prompted any pursuit of art myself until a few years ago. In the past 10 years, I have taken oil painting classes at Spartanburg Art Museum and workshops with various artists, including plein air painter Jim Carson in Saluda, NC,” she said. “I have been a member of West Main Artist Co-op in Spartanburg for nearly four years and have a studio there for displaying my work. I am blessed by the encouragement of this generous community of artists and appreciate the opportunity to grow in my craft and to exhibit there.

“Being able to exhibit at the Co-op is a bucket-list ambition fulfilled,” she continued. “As members, we have such great exposure, especially for someone like me who still considers herself somewhat of a novice. I am able, not only to have a one-woman show, but to rent studio space, which displays some-20 of my own paintings all the time.

‘I have spent my life teaching something to someone: public school elementary and middle grades, Girl Scout leader, and 25-plus years leading and teaching Bible studies, Story said. “I have served on several boards in the Spartanburg community and volunteered, as well. While I love to paint and would like to paint more, it takes a back seat to my family.”

Her work is usually considered to be representational, and this exhibit is in keeping with her established style. “This work is still in my wheelhouse of representational painting, but some are a bit looser than previous work,” she said. She hopes when people see her exhibit they will find “something familiar -- hopefully something that resonates with a memory, an emotion, or their own imagination -- an appreciation of natural landscapes and even the natural qualities reflected in man-made creation.”

Most of the paintings of various sizes will be for sale, ranging in price $200 to $400.

“As a life-long student of the spoken and written word, it is both a joy and a challenge to represent these landscapes in a visual language by contemplating the created work of God or constructed work of man,” Story said. “Seeing first and then seeking to capture the movement of clouds, reflections on water, or a palette of colors, I strive to communicate truth and beauty to each viewer, however differently. My hope is to arouse an emotion, elicit a memory, or challenge one’s imagination.”

West Main Artists Co-op normally has three art exhibitions each month, showcasing the work of its members and guest artists. It is one of Spartanburg’s leading nonprofit art agencies, with more than 50 members, of which about 30 have studios in what was once a three-story Baptist church on North Main Street. Most of the members are visual artists, both 2-D and 3-D. However, some are performing artists. The building also houses a ceramics studio, a printery, three galleries, two performance stages, and a two-room gift shop. The Co-op has the largest collection of locally made art this is constantly changing and available Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.