Artists League Holds 15th Annual Exhibit and Sale
The 15th Annual Art Exhibit and Sale of the Artists League opens Friday, Nov. 13, with a wine and cheese reception from 6 to 8 p.m., and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Exchange Street Gallery in Aberdeen.
The Artists League is a nonprofit organization with more than 200 members and relies on the volunteer efforts of these members to make an impact on the community.
The four women featured here are examples of the hard work and dedication of the volunteers who have promoted the programs and services of the League for the last 15 years.
Annette Martin, currently serving as president of the Artists League, brings to the table many years of education, experience and national awards in the arts, both theater and fine arts.
Martin recalls that when she was quite young, her mother bought her a set of paint-by-number paints. This sparked her curiosity and began her very scattered and every-other-year exploration of oils. When she retired from theater, she turned to painting in oils like she had just found her long-lost friend.
Martin credits her private studies with nationally recognized artist Martha Ceccio as having a great influence on her.
"Actually, I cannot remember a time when I was not actively involved in some kind of artistic endeavor," she says.
The League, Martin explains, gives her the opportunity to interact, to participate -- in order to ensure and experience her own growth -- and to celebrate that growth with others. She is not sure how to describe her style yet.
"I am not sure I'm at that point," she says. "But I do love oil; it speaks to me."
Barbara Sickenberger is a longtime member and instructor of the League and the recipient of many awards for her watercolor paintings, colored pencil and graphite drawings. "Favorite Trail," her colored pencil entry in last year's exhibit, was the winner of the People's Choice Award and is now available through the raffle for this year's exhibit.
Sickenberger explains that her art led to her career. She worked as a designer at American Greeting Card Company in Cleveland, Ohio, for one year after receiving a bachelor's degree in advertising art.
Marriage and three children later, Sickenberger traded volunteering for a graduate program in studio art, receiving a master's degree in fine arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. That same year she began a full-time job as art director for a local clothing company, where she worked for eight years.She then did independent freelance art for several U. S. companies for 10 years before retiring to the Sandhills.
"The association with the Artists League of the Sandhills and Arts Council has been a great stimulus," she says. "My art provides a vehicle for me to express and share what I feel about the world around us."
Sickenberger's major color medium is watercolor and, lately, colored pencil.
"My favorite medium is graphite," she says. "I've always loved to draw and find it to be most convenient and practical.Even when I was working and traveling, I sketched people in airports. There's no mess, no cleanup and easy storage."
The Artists League satisfies Sickenberger's belief in educational opportunities for the beginner and for the more experienced artist, and it provides wonderful opportunities for exhibiting.
"I have appreciated and benefited fromthe variety of classes the Artists League provides," she says. "Art is always a work in progress no matter how much previous experience and education one may have. Moore County is very arts-supportive, and, for that,we allshould be most grateful.It's hard to find a community where the arts get equal billing with golf."
Bonnie Hanly and Karen Fox are fairly new members of the Artists League, and they agreed to serve as co-chairwomen for this year's exhibit. They both feel the responsibility has certainly given them a better idea of what is involved in putting on a major art event.
Karen Fox moved from Connecticut with her husband, David, in 2002, to retire to Pinehurst. During her corporate career, Fox had promised herself that she would try her hand at painting when she retired. After settling into her new home, she began taking basic courses at the Artists League of the Sandhills.
After trying watercolor and acrylic paints, Fox decided that oils are her medium of choice. She has transitioned from her earlier efforts in still-life realism to a looser style and is currently focusing on landscapes.
Fox continues to take Artists League courses, participates in artist retreats and has taken week-long workshops with Libby Tolley, a renowned California plein air artist, and Susan Sarback, the founder of the School of Light and Color.
Fox has participated in local art shows and is delighted that others appreciate her work and purchase her paintings.
"At first I approached painting as work," she says. "Now, I am having much more fun with my new style. I would add that I started my art career with Artists League and receive continuing support there with their ongoing programs. I'm also pulled by many interests and community volunteer activities and hope to be able to allocate more time to painting in the winter months."
Bonnie Hanly retired in 1999as executive vice president of the Real Estate Brokerage Council of the National Association of Realtors, headquartered in downtown Chicago. She had worked in the association for almost 30 years.
Hanly has always loved art and took some watercolor classes at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1980s.In addition, she took several classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. She feels the impressionists have influenced her the most, and she has taken classes in Asheville and the Napa Valley from instructors who taught techniques developed at the Cape Cod School in the early 20th century.
In 2002, she and her husband, Peter, moved to Pinehurst to pursue their love of golf. She was pleasantly surprised to find a place where she could also continue with her art -- the Artists League of the Sandhills.
"The most important thing about my art to me is that I can get totally lost in the creative process and am almost transported into another state of consciousness when I am painting," Hanly says. "It is truly a state of joy most of the time and, of course, some frustration in problem-solving."
She primarily paints in water-soluble oils, but has done many watercolor paintings as well. Her subject matter varies from still life, landscapes, seascapes, animals and portraiture. She loves the variety.
"I feel my entries for the show will reflect my love for color and texture," she says.
Featured are more than 400 works of art by local professional and amateur artists and will include oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, colored pencil and mixed media in a variety of sizes and prices.
The exhibit will remain open until Friday, Dec. 17, with the gallery hours Monday through Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.
Admission is free and open to the public.
The raffle of the painting by local artist Barbara Sickenberger will take place on Sunday, Nov. 15, at 3:30 p.m.
The Artists League is located at 129 Exchange St. in downtown Aberdeen in a restored railroad warehouse building. It contains 40 working artists' studios and classrooms for instruction.
Classes and workshops are open to members and nonmembers. Workshops feature nationally recognized instructors, and classes are given by prominent local artists.
For more information on the exhibit, workshops or classes, call (910) 944-3979 or visit www.artistleague.org.
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