Love of Art: League Hosts 14th Annual Exhibit and Sale
The Artists League of the Sandhills is a strong art organization of over 200 members that share a common bond -- art -- and it is more than just an appreciation.
The members of the Artists League of the Sandhills will celebrate their "love of art" with their 14th annual exhibit and sale. The event will begin Friday, Nov. 14, with an opening wine and cheese reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and continue Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Exchange Street Gallery in Aberdeen.
On Sunday, at 3 p.m. there will be a raffle drawing of a painting by Lisa Mathis, winner of the People's Choice Award from last year. Tickets for the drawing will be available throughout the weekend or from any of the members.
There will also be available a sealed bid for an artist's easel that belonged to the renowned local artist, Glen Rounds. Rounds was born in 1906 in a sod house in South Dakota, grew up in Montana and studied at the Art Institute in Kansas City. He traveled around with another art student, Jackson Pollock. Rounds' teacher was Thomas Hart Benton.
He also studied at the Art Students League in New York and was a writer and illustrator of children's books, winning 25 or so literary and art awards. He also drew cartoons of the Stoneybrook races and for Groundhog Day for The Pilot for years. The proceeds from the bid will go to benefit the Artists League.
The League was organized as a nonprofit entity with the commitment to promote visual arts to the community through educational courses and workshops.
The Exchange Street Gallery offers members the opportunity to display and sell their work. Two classrooms are available for classes and workshops in all media, and 40 members have studio spaces where they can be found busy painting or sharing with other members.
Pursuing a Dream
Fourteen years ago, the two founders of the League, Chuck Lunney and Mike D'Andrea, searched for a place where they could join with other artists and pursue their love of art. The old train warehouse building in historic Aberdeen needed a "little" work, but with the recruitment and help of 16 other artists and a lot of hard work, their dream became a reality.
Lunney, who was a B-29 pilot in World War II, served as president of the League for the first two years (1994-1996). His love for art began at age 8; his father taught him to draw and then enrolled him at the Albright-Knox School of Fine Arts in Buffalo, N.Y., where he studied until age 14. He took all the art courses in high school and graduated from N.Y. State Teachers' College with a minor in art education.
Fred Stone served as president of the Artists League from 19961998. He came to this area from Alexandria, Va., where he was very active with the Torpedo Factory, a noted arts organization. Just prior to Stone's retirement, his daughter encouraged him to find a hobby other than just golf.
And so began his love of art. He enrolled in a beginning watercolor class and found it full of 14-year-olds. He told the instructor he was too old and she said, "No, you are going to demonstrate painting." At that she put blobs of yellow, red and blue paint on his fist and asked him to put his hand on the paper and turn it -- when he lifted his hand, he was excited because he had just painted the perfect pansy. From that day on, Stone had a passion for painting, taking classes and workshops from many renowned artists, and his love of sailing and the water are evident in his wonderful oil paintings.
Betty Hendrix had plans to study fashion illustration in college, but after her first year she married and began a family. Her career led her in the path of manager of small offices in Illinois and Connecticut, and later she became executive secretary to the vice chairman of a large international capital equipment corporation. She finally completed her degree -- but in business and economics.
Throughout her life, she took many classes and workshops in art and photography. Art, music, and tennis were hobbies until retiring to Pinehurst in 1994.
She served as president of the Sandhills Photography Club and on the Arts Council's art workshop committee prior to the formation of the Artists League. She has been a past president and is still active with the education committee as well as an instructor in drawing and pastels.
Sarah Simpson, also a founding member and past president, began her art life while living in Ohio. She was encouraged by a close friend to attend studio classes. She studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art, entered judged shows and took several awards. After moving to Whispering Pines she became involved with Chuck Lunney's group in establishing the Artists League and says, "It is a focal point in my life."
Nancy Yanchus, a Virginia native, loved Crayolas as a child, worked for many years in the fashion industry but retired as human resource administrator in health care. Her first studies with art were in watercolor and after retiring to Pinehurst in 1998, she became involved with the Artists League, where she added oils and acrylics to her studies and won awards in both.
"I am continually painting and studying," she says. "The techniques to learn are endless, but the expression comes from the soul." She became president of the League in 2000 and today remains very active, currently serving as co-chairman of the 14th annual exhibit and sale.
Janet Burdick was a flight attendant for National Airlines until marriage and children. She returned to school to become a registered nurse working in hospital nursing until retiring in 1997. She moved to Pinehurst and discovered the Artists League in 1999, becoming a member and studying with various artists from beginner classes to advanced classes and workshops. Watercolors and pastels are her passion and she can be found working in her studio at the League almost daily. Burdick served the League as president from 20012002 and is currently a member of the education committee and on the board of directors.
Joan Williams' introduction and love of art began at an early age through the wonderful oil paintings by her grandfather. As a child, she loved to draw and was fascinated with homes and architectural features; after high school drawing classes she took commissions for pen-and-ink drawings of people's homes. She later took a few oil and watercolor classes and was extremely involved as a volunteer in the arts programs in her community. It was not until she retired from the hospitality industry in Virginia and moved to Pinehurst that she was able to pursue her goal of becoming an artist. Williams served the League as president for 20022003 and is currently working on publicity for the exhibit and sale.
Mike D'Andrea, founding member and past president (2003-2005), shares that his entrance into the world of art was through athletics. As strange as that may sound, D'Andrea grew up in Minnesota playing football, hockey and baseball and continued through high school. In the "off-season" he could be found sitting and sketching the same players from his teams. A family friend entered his name in a local art contest, and he won first prize -- a free art class -- that propelled him further into this passion.
His introduction into watercolor started in Nebraska where he was in sales management with 3M Company. He attended evening art classes at St. Mary's College, where his instructor, an 80-year-old woman named Rode Machex, was a dear friend of artist Andrew Wyeth. D'Andrea can be found sharing those lessons at the Artists League.
Courtney Herndon has been a member of the Artists League for over 10 years; served as president in 20052006; is an active board member and recently took over the responsibility as coordinator for the Moore County Public Art Program.
Herndon shares that her fascination with art and painting began with that first box of brand new Crayolas and how she still loves all the different colors. Coloring books soon gave way to designing paper doll clothes. That led to school poster contests and eventually to an avid interest in art history in college. Painting was on the back burner during the years of family and transfers with her husband's work. Herndon took workshops and classes whenever possible and with retirement in Pinehurst, she found the Artists League, thanks to the encouragement of one of its members, Mary Ellen Warren. She has taken many, many workshops and classes since.
"I feel like the perennial student," she says. "I find it inspiring and fun, and I always learn something new. I do really, really love to paint."
Deane Carroll Billings reminisces about taking art classes in high school with a fabulous teacher, but did not take painting seriously until her father began watercolor classes at age 72.
"He was a huge inspiration to me, and I have since taken classes and workshops in watercolor and oils for over 18 years," says Billings.
Before retiring to Pinehurst, Billings was a medical secretary and the owner of two businesses, a ladies' apparel shop and floral design shop. She was president of the Artists League in 2006-2007, is currently the co-chairman of the event.
"The Artists League has been my second home for 10 years," she says.
The current president, Hugh Harris, was born in South Carolina, served in the Navy during the Korean War, returned to California to complete his undergraduate studies at UCLA, and then on to Oxford for theology.
In the 1960s, Harris served as a priest in the Anglican Church in South Africa. It was there he met a psychic. Her question to him was, "When are you going to paint that picture?" He told her he did not paint and she responded, "Well, you will, because I see you in terms of bright colors."
It was not until 1999 that Harris realized what that statement so many years before meant, and it came about in a very curious way. Harris was working as a hospital chaplain in Arlington, Va., and was in the office of a co-worker where he saw a painting she had done of a little girl in Nepal. He shared that he would love to be able to paint like that, and she said she had the perfect teacher for him. She introduced him to the Torpedo Factory, where he began his first watercolor class.
"That was the beginning of a love for art that has brought me through watercolors, soft pastels, oils and drawing," he says.
Harris retired in 2004, moved to Pinehurst, joined the Artists League, was recruited to the Board of Directors in 2006 and in 2007, was elected its president.
The invitation for the 14th Annual Exhibit and Sale features a painting by Harris titled "The Fairest Cape." It is from a photo of the Cape of Good Hope from back in the 1960s. It had been tucked away and he recently came across it and decided to paint it. The title comes from an observation from Sir Francis Drake, who said that he saw the Cape of Good Hope as the fairest cape of the entire world.
For information, call 944-3979.
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