Works of Swanson, Way Featured at Campbell House
Special to The Pilot
The works of local, realistic painters Leigh R. Swanson and Robert H. Way will be on display at the Campbell House Galleries during the month of February.
Leigh R. Swanson was born in Atlanta. Her childhood was spent traveling across the country and overseas as part of a military family.
She says her first memory of being fascinated by artwork was as a 3-year-old when her mother painted colorful landscapes under the tutelage of a master Japanese artist.
Swanson has had an overwhelming love for horses since she was tiny. Her lifelong connection with horses has included serving as a professional dressage trainer and instructor since her early 20s. Naturally, horses found their way into Swanson's artistic endeavors.
While in England with her family, Swanson was inspired by the work of Munnings and Stubbs along with other European masters, and this inspired her to become a professional artist.
"My style hovers between traditional and contemporary realism," says Swanson. "I enjoy detail but also admire the looseness of painterly work. Although horses and dogs have always been my favorite subjects to paint, I now enjoy painting landscapes, portraits and whatnot."
"It was always my complete purpose in life to become an artist," says Robert H. Way. "When I received my first art award in seventh grade, my course was set. I have had to follow a variety of paths, some detracting from my goal, but never have I been far from my purpose."
A native of New England, Way was immersed in the culture of that region. Art in it myriad forms - visual, theatrical and musical - was extremely influential in endowing him with an incredible desire for independent learning and a craving to create works of art.
Way learned much of his style and painting craft while working with Tom Blackwell, one of the original photo realists. Much of what he learned about the art of portrait painting was gleaned at the side of artists Michael Del Priore, Richard Whitney, Frank Tauriello, William F. Draper, Bert Silverman, Everett Raymond Kinstler and Daniel Greene.
Way's goal to work as an artist was delayed by a career with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He also received a bachelor's degree in elementary education and worked as a teacher and principal.
In fact, most of Way's adult life has been spent teaching drawing and painting both publicly and privately. His work has hung in many one-man shows and juried group exhibitions in New York City, Europe, New England, Florida and North Carolina.
His credits include private and public commissions, winner of the U.S. and Worldwide All-Army Art Contest, and an artist-in-residence for a public school system.
"As an artist, I see much that is often taken for granted by many people," says Way. "Whether in the human form or in nature, variations of design, composition, color and value reflect the essence or spirit of all we see. I have been asked many times, 'What do you paint?' My answer is not portraits, landscapes, barns or a child's toy, but rather, light."
"Light's Moods," featuring works by Leigh R. Swanson and Robert H. Way, opens Friday, Feb. 1, with a reception to meet the artists from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
The exhibit is on display through Feb. 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The galleries will be closed on Monday, Feb. 18, in observance of a federal holiday.
The Campbell House Galleries are located at 482 East Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines.
For more information about the exhibit, contact the Arts Council of Moore County at (910) 692-2787 or visit the website www. mooreart.org.
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