The Transylvania Times -

By Norah Davis
For The Transylvania Time 

'Art Of The Mountains' Show Benefits Nonprofits – Brevard NC


Sarah Sneeden poses with a small selection of her versatile work at her studio in Sherwood Forest. (Photos by Bonnie Jensen and Norah Davis)

Have you been looking for a special piece of art for a special place in your home, or a special gift for a special friend, or do you just enjoy browsing quality artwork while rubbing elbows with accomplished and recognized artists? If so, you'll find all of that at Art of the Mountains, an annual summer art show and sale in Brevard.

With exhibit booths for 20 artists from the mountains, the sale benefits local nonprofits. In 2015, the proceeds, minus the artists' percentages, raised $7,600 for nine charities.

This year, "Art of the Mountains" will be held Friday, July 22, from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at St. Philip's Episcopal Church at 256 East Main Street.

In addition to art demonstrations, refreshments, music, a raffle and the opportunity for live interaction with the artists, here's a sample of what awaits visitors at the "Art of the Mountains" sale:

The evocative photographs of Rob Travis include panoramas of peaks visible from the parkway, waterfalls, trees, winter scenes, birds, butterflies and wildlife images from the majestic to the minute. His work has appeared in publications such as Backpacker, Blue Ridge Country and WNC magazines, and has won numerous awards in national, regional, and local photography contests.

When the Cradle of Forestry commissioned Travis to photograph the vista from the 70-foot-high lookout tower at Fryingpan Mountain, he recalled making several visits. "I'd drive up at dawn, carry 30 pounds of gear, and climb six flights of stairs to the access hatch - and I don't like heights," he said. Today, his breathtaking, seven-foot-wide triptych is the centerpiece of the visitors' center, as the backdrop for the main information desk.

"I'm in love with color, contrast, saturation," said Travis.

His luminescent photos with their vibrant colors highlight the interplay of filtered sunlight on mountaintops and ethereal fog-filled valleys. He uses camera filters with techniques pioneered by Ansel Adams and then prints some photos on fine art canvas. For others, he uses a dye sublimation process in which heat and pressure infuse the images into recycled metal.

"The ink turns into a gas and sublimates into the metal with a very high fidelity," he said.

The result is photos that embody emotions of enormity and wonder translated onto lasting images.

Perhaps you prefer paintings? Artist Sarah Sneeden is amazingly versatile in oil and watercolor. She produces life-like portraits and impressionistic landscapes, exuberant cascades, mountains and meadows with strong brush strokes, rich color and a distinctive style.

"If a day goes by and I haven't painted, it's a wasted day," Sneeden said, reflecting on her long career of sketching en plein air where she can capture the play of natural light on her subjects. One of the highlights of that career was a two-year commissioned project in which she produced a series of 42 original oil paintings of waterfalls at DuPont State Recreational Forest. The paintings were collected into a book, "Treasures of the Forest," and two of her works now hang in DuPont's visitor center.

The Southeastern Association of KFC Franchises commissioned Sneeden to paint a portrait of Colonel Sanders for his 88th birthday, and 70 of her works hang in KFC restaurants. Sneeden, a high-energy free spirit, recalled dancing with the colonel at his birthday banquet, and her father finally acknowledging that she was a real artist and "not just a vagabond."

For works that are out of the ordinary, the black-and-white drawings of subjects from nature and landscapes by Richard Mayberry are executed in various media, including intaglio (popularly known as etchings), relief, lithography, woodcuts, engravings and graphite pencil. A native North Carolinian, Mayberry studied art at the University of South Florida and the New York Studio School, and earned a Master's of Fine Arts degree at Queens College, CUNY.

His long and distinguished career included artist-in-residence and visiting artist positions at various schools and colleges, plus print studio director at Spirit Square Center for the Arts in Charlotte. He has won a number of fellowships, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and best-in-show awards at juried art festivals awarding up to $20,000 in prize money. His drawings command prices from $800 to $15,000, and currently are shown at the Jerald Melberg Gallery in Charlotte, one of several galleries where he has had one-man shows.

Mayberry considers his print-making a direct extension of his drawing, but with different tools - plates or blocks instead of paper. He describes his landscapes as the trail left behind by an "almost mystical," spiritual and meditative process in which he attempts to translate transcendent states and the "infinity of what is seen" onto a surface. The exquisite realistic detail of his drawings, when viewed up close, transform into abstract pieces filled with movement, inner energy and rhythmical pattern that entice the viewer to become lost in the intricacy of the artist's world.

One of two potters at the "Art of the Mountains" show this year, Charlotte Farrand produces hand-built, one-of-a-kind bowls, plates, and other functional vessels such as pitchers and vases. Farrand likes the flexibility of being able to follow her own muse.

"I follow the clay," she said, noting that hand-built pottery is more time-consuming than pieces thrown on a wheel.

Her asymmetric creations are built with coils, and then fired in a kiln, glazed with a variety of colors, and then fired again.

"Pottery should give visual pleasure as well as be functional," she noted.

Influenced by Japanese art while living in that country, she later took private lessons and independent study from a Brevard potter. Starting initially with commissioned sales, today she shows her work at various galleries in Western North Carolina. "People are surprised at how long my pottery pieces take, often over a month," she said. The glazes are as individual as the shapes, and Farrand has begun experimenting with adding bits of metal to some of her creations.

Sharyn Fogel's realistic portraits in oil, her haunting barns and landscapes in watercolor and her life-like murals in acrylic grace a number of local businesses. A native of Brevard, she started her art career at age 3, when she used fingernail polish to paint a scene on her bedroom door. Overcoming that inauspicious start, she later attended the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., studied portrait painting with two Russian artists in Atlanta for three years, and participated in a number of workshops with individual teachers. Fogel's work has shown in galleries in Brevard, Hendersonville and Atlanta.

In 2003, two of her paintings were selected for the Southern Living House at Brookgreen Gardens, Pawley's Island, S.C. She is past president of the Transylvania Art Guild and is a member of the Portrait Society of America. Fogel has received a number of first place awards and other honors, such as one of the top awards at the Battle of the Brushes at Old Fort, N.C. Like Sneeden, she usually works outdoors in the open air. On one occasion, this proved dangerous when she was painting in the Great Smoky Mountains, and a black bear strolled past as she worked - and stopped to sniff her feet.

Rob Travis shows his luminescent photographs and other artworks in his Blue Moon Gallery in Cedar Mountain.

"I love barns, the more rustic and falling down, the better," she said.

Usually the owners are thrilled, but one farmwoman threatened her with a shotgun. Some of her works sell for as much as four figures, and she will show framed and unframed paintings at the "Art of the Mountains" sale, plus notecards depicting the Brevard courthouse, waterfalls, a cardinal in the snow, and fireflies in moonlight. For her watercolors, she uses a wet-on-wet technique that helps her capture the mystical quality of her subjects.

These are but a few of the 20 unique and gifted artists who will be showing at "Art of the Mountains."

Raffle tickets are available at Highlands Books, or call the church office at (828) 884-3666. For more information, see http://www.facebook/artofthemountains.


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