Likewise, it is believable that the Artists League of the Sandhills was spawned by its founding members to satisfy the creative urges of the artists.
The League has welcomed 30 new members thus far this year and boasts of 220 total members. All are at various levels of artistic achievement -- many accomplished artists, instructors, emerging and beginning artists with a passion for fine art. What is evident, whether "home-grown," from other states or abroad, men and women come with art deep rooted in their past (or deep-rooted in their psyche, waiting to be released).
League studio members congregate daily to paint on-site in their studios, of which there are 45. These "resident" artists enjoy the comradery. Most reap valuable rewards from immediate feedback from fellow artists on their work. It is a comfortable, learning and creative environment.
Newer members speak of their background, experience and journey toward their artistic endeavors.
Diane Kraudelt says she is a complete company -- a business.
"I paint every day," she says. "Painting is part of you; it grabs you, and you just do it."
When she was a young child, her sister received a box of Crayola crayons and colored the entire house. Kraudelt shared the crayons, found a piece of newspaper and made her first drawing -- a dog. She had quite a bit of exposure to drawing and newspaper, and the ability to draw stuck.
Kraudelt noted that each artist's approach to painting is different.
"I paint to express something -- a feeling, an emotion," she says. "I do not just paint a vase of lilies because I know someone here will buy it. Although, there are some times when I may have to sell those lilies in order to afford the materials that will enable me to paint what I want to paint."
Interestingly, she finds the toughest part of being an artist is being true to herself, which has led her most recently to focus on abstract painting.
Kraudelt is a member of the Visual Arts Exchange in Raleigh and the Fine Arts League of Cary as well as the Arts Council of Fayetteville. In addition to her artistic talents, she is a certificated pilot. That designation means that she is certified to fly for life, unlike licensed pilots, who must have their licenses renewed. Kraudelt's husband is active in his avionics business, which is the reason for their relocation from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Carthage.
"Kraudelt volunteers for numerous activities at the Artists League and has become a most valued member," says a spokesman.
For more information, visit Kraudelt's Web site at www.sandhillsartist.com.
Former Theater Professor
Annette Martin relocated to the Sandhills from Ann Arbor, Mich. (She had not known Diane Kraudelt in Michigan, but is pleased to have met her here at the Artists League.)
Martin says she would not have considered this area for retirement without the Artists League of the Sandhills, pointing out she has met so many "friendly and open-armed" people.
Martin, a professor of theater, spent her professional career as head of communications and performance studies at Eastern Michigan University. She adapted and directed over 50 stage productions in 39 years. She earned her doctorate at the University of Michigan. During her tenure at EMU, she was recognized professionally in a variety of ways, both nationally and locally, for theater work.
Martin says that as a child she became fascinated with paints when her mother started painting by numbers. She was not the least bit interested in painting by numbers, but snatched up some of the paints and stole away to the basement to paint with her mother's oils.
Throughout her life she enjoyed little streaks of painting but there was never enough time. She was too much involved with doing things on stage. Yet, she knew at some point she would try what she had wanted to do for years -- paint.
In Ann Arbor, Martin met a landscape artist of some repute, Martha Ceccio. Ceccio had a great deal of skill and Martin asked if she would be willing to take her as a student. Ceccio responded that she had never instructed before but invited Martin to "hang out" at her studio. After two years in Ceccio's studio, Martin says she learned there is a process involved in gaining knowledge of the basics.
Since arriving here in the Pinehurst area, Martin has taken a few classes.
"I have become as absorbed in painting as when directing theater," says Martin. "Very few things in life take you over like painting -- or theater."
She is now building a home in Pinewild and adding a temperature-controlled studio to the garage. Although she has been an Artists League member for only six months, she is serving with a focus group charged with researching fundraising and promoting League activities.
Carol Wyatt joined the Artists League the second time in January. She had set up to paint only in her kitchen, but prompted by her neighbor and fellow artist, Janet Burdick, Wyatt returned to League membership.
Wyatt is a California native and moved to Pinehurst from Laguna Hills. She has always had an interest in art since her brother and father were talented artists, but the closest she came to painting was in a small high school class. While awaiting her husband's discharge from the military, she had some art lessons from a landlady who was skilled in seascapes.
Wyatt found that family, lots of children, kept her from a classroom setting for art education, but she enrolled in a correspondence course, "Famous Artists." The curriculum included extensive pencil drawing, perspective, composition, etc. -- both in watercolor and oils. She determined oils were her passion. Beginning in the 1970s, while living in Texas, she enrolled in more oil classes. At this point she limited her painting to deserts and oceans.
During the 1980s, Wyatt never handled a brush. When she moved to Pinehurst in the 1990s, she learned of the Artists League through the Newcomers' group. She took a couple of oil pastel classes taught by Joanne Gill Worth, and the rest is history -- oil pastel is now her passion.
Wyatt says that she visits her son a couple times a year in Europe and has fallen in love with European architecture. She visits old buildings -- sites in Dubai and Holland. She is drawn to decaying structures and old castles of Scotland.
"Now I want to learn more about painting landscapes, buildings -- more about the basic foundation needed to be a good artist," she says.
Wyatt is pleased she has rejoined the League and has become active with the annual show and the upcoming "Far Away Places" exhibit.
"The League is fortunate to have Wyatt as a 'renewed' member," says the spokesman.
The resultant boon of this myriad talent is manifested through the monthly exhibits of members' work for sale in the League's Exchange Street Gallery in Aberdeen.
"The Sandhills community and neighboring area residents enjoy strolling the gallery and studios, talking with and observing the artists at work," says the spokesman. "To view the beauty of this everyday world of painters, visitors often bring friends and family to see the Town of Aberdeen's 'crown jewel.' It is a visual language of art and will buoy one's spirit. Visit the gallery and studios. Meet the artists. You most likely will find a piece of fine art that matters to you as well."
Located at 129 Exchange Street, it is the second building beyond the Rockfish Railroad "on the tracks." The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
The administrative office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Key and studio members select the days and times they wish to paint on-site.
All classes and workshops are conducted by professional artists.
"You do not have to be a member to join a class or workshop, although members do enjoy a discounted cost," says the spokesman. "More importantly, you need not be an accomplished artist to enroll in the educational program. There are classes designed for the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced."
To learn more about the artists, the types of membership and educational opportunities, call the administrative office at 910-944-3979. Visit the Web site for additional details at www.artistleague.org.
"The League membership prides itself in its contributions to the beginning of an ever-growing fine arts scene in the Sandhills," says the spokesman. "You are invited to participate in this non-paralleled venue. It is truly a special place that matters to so many."
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