By Peter Vankevich
In early October, one may have noticed several artists at work throughout the village.
My curiosity was piqued–enough to recall Redford and Newman, “Who are those guys?”
So I asked.
They were a group of friends and professional oil painters who, according to Joanne Geisel of Wilmington and one of the group, chose Ocracoke to paint, provide each other artistic support, share ideas and, not in the least, have fun.
A couple of artists had been to Ocracoke before and found it to be a favorite place to paint. Others were here for the first time, she said.
In additional to Geisel, the artists included Mike Rooney from Surf City, Dan Nelson, Raleigh, Scott Boyle, Bessemer City, Fen Rascoe, Windsor and Lynn Mehta from Alexandria,VA, who arrived independently and joined them. Some of Rooney’a and Mehta’s works from this recent visit are on display in Down Creek Gallery.
The artists painted from early morning until dusk each day. In the evening they shared their day’s achievements, took turns making dinner and talked about art trends, career choices, color palettes and each others’ work. On some of the evenings, a couple of folks brought out their musical instruments.
Ocracoke made a great impression Geisel, a first-time visitor.
“What a wonderful place to paint!” she said about the island. “As the week progressed I saw more and more things I wanted to paint–the old homes, the interesting streets, the community square, the boats and beaches. And the local residents added to the experience due to their warmth and generosity. I can’t wait to come back.”
The next group of artists you’ll see around the island will be the week of Oct. 27 when the MATTIE Arts Center group from Swan Quarter will host its first annual plein air workshop when islanders will again see artists with their easels around the village.
Plein air is a French term for outdoors.
The MATTIE Arts group will be coached by impressionist oil painter Mark Hierholzer of Richmond, Va., who has been teaching painting at MATTIE for the last two years.
The workshop will include a comprehensive seminar, daily outdoor sessions at strategically located sites, on-site instruction, local transportation, supplies, materials, use of French easels and daily receptions.
MATTIE has rented the Sound Front Inn as a base for the workshop and accommodations.
Evening receptions from 7 to 8:30 will include critiques of the day’s work to which the Ocracoke art community is invited at no charge.
Ocracoke residents may participate for all or part of the week.
Interested persons are asked to contact Judy Hickman McLawhorn, MATTIE Arts Center director, at (252) 943-8991, or at firstname.lastname@example.org, for details and payment information.
By Peter Vankevich