Hillsborough Gallery of Arts begins the new year welcoming new member CATHARINECARTER, Mixed Media artist. Catharine earned a BFA in Studio Art and went on to establish a successful portrait photography studio where she photographed families and events for 35 years. In 2010, Catharine closed the portrait studio to fully embark on her own journey of artistic expression and self-discovery. For years she had been experimenting with double exposures in my darkroom and discovered that her thoughts and feelings were much better illustrated by combining images than they could be through a single image.
Read Catharine’s account of her journey into art:
Stories in the form of fables, myths and fairy tales have always held a fascination for me and helped me find perspective on my own deepest thoughts and emotions. The writings of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, combined with my love of stories, inspired me to delve deeper into my unconscious, explore my internal world and translate those thoughts into photomontage images. Growing up in an artistic family, I was introduced at a young age to Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, and Greek mythology. My father was a performer and he read the stories with such great expression that he made them come to life for me.
I also reconnected with Joseph Campbell’s writings and his hero’s journey (through the Bill Moyer tapes), which led me to Carl Jung. Their thoughts on self-actualization and the unconscious expanded my viewpoint and led me to examine my own inner landscape through archetypes, mythology, fairy tales, and collective memories.
Now, with my digital darkroom, I continue to create transformative photomontage images and share them with others in gallery shows, publications and online.
My works of Photomontage are published in JOURNEY, a book of photo-montage imagery that is interspersed with short writing from Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung which inspired my works shown in the book. The book is available on my website (LINK). It will also be available at Hillsborough Gallery.
You can view more about Catharine on her webpage on HGA website (LINK). The image above will be in her Featured Show BREATHE opening March 31st, 2023. Also featured will be Susan Hope & Jude Lobe.
Yes! It most definitely can. Viewing art is good for your health. Do you want to enhance your brain function and feel good doing it? Then take a walk through an Art gallery, like Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, Art museum or Crafts Fair. It not only lifts your spirits, viewing art can stimulate the creation of new neural pathways and ways of thinking.
“Each time you look at a piece of art, your brain is working to make sense of the visual information it’s receiving. From highly lifelike portraits to abstract collections of rectangles, looking at art stimulates the brain and puts our innate knack for organizing patterns and making sense of shapes to use.”University of Arizona Global Campus
Take for example a portrait of a person, or boat, etc. It is not a person or boat, but the brain has the skill of making sense of what we’re seeing and allows us to identify it as such. The brain goes through changes when looking at a beautiful artwork. To prove the point, an experiment conducted during a student museum visit. It showed through brain scans an increase in blood flow to the brain by as much as 10% that triggers a surge of dopamine (the neurotransmitter — your body’s natural antidepressant and associated with feelings of happiness and well-being) in the same areas of the brain that registers romantic love. It’s the the equivalent of looking at someone you love. Surveys conducted after the trip showed that even just an hour’s trip to the museum indicated signs of improved critical thinking skills among students, exhibiting empathy, and expressed tolerance towards others different from them.
Considering this, it seems ART classes should definitely not be a class to cut, but, in fact, it should be a required course.
Looking at art isn’t just about making sense of the shapes. When we look at a piece of art, be it a painting, sculpture, furniture, textile, we place ourselves into the artwork. Putting ourselves in the art is when our brain turns things like action, movement, and energy you see in art into actual emotions you can feel. Our cognition is influenced by our experiences in the physical world. The more you study the artwork, the more you put yourself within the scene and can actually feel or relate to the work. Say for instance, you look at a painting by Jackson Pollock. You may feel like you are flinging that paint. Or maybe you are viewing a picture of the ocean. You may feel the sand beneath your feet, the smell of the salt, call of the gulls, and the sound of ocean waves. When you begin to relate to the artwork, you’re more able to appreciate it even more. It may then bring memories and feelings of joy.
So TAKE A WALKTHROUGHANARTGALLERY and lift your spirits.
Here’s help in how to buy art. No, it doesn’t need to match the sofa. You may have purchased a new home and want to decorate. Or you have have seen an artwork in a doctor’s office or art gallery and it captured your attention. Well good news. ART does not have to match your sofa. It only has to make you happy, remind you of good memories or keep your interest.
If you are in the market for art (paintings, sculptures, one-of-a-kind furniture, quilts, etc.), you only have to love it. Sure, it should look appropriate in the room. But don’t think of fine art as just decor – because it isn’t, it is Fine Art and it should be experienced as such.
You can peruse art galleries, hopefully local art galleries, especially those owned by artists, like Hillsborough Gallery of Arts in North Carolina. If you are moved by a piece of fine art because it makes you happy, that is a good reason to buy It and take it home with you. That way, you would have the art to lift your spirits every single day. Art is functional.
You can always change little things in your room to make the art fit your decor. For instance, take colors from the artwork and bring in those colors with pillows, table covers, another work of art or an accent rug.
The artworks you choose do not need to match. There are no rules for choosing art accept purchase the art you love. The common thread will be what they have in common which is THATYOULOVETHEM. You don’t have to find the same colors, style or even the same time period.
How to Combine Different Styles
Think outside the box in arranging art. For instance, a painting doesn’t have to hang on a wall. It’s very bohemian to lean it on a mantle or against the wall. Throw out the idea that items have to match. Juxtaposition makes things interesting. Mix round and square sculptures or high and low artworks. Find something they have in common to bring different styles together. It can be color, subject matter or locations. Group art. Hang one large piece, with smaller pieces. Same with sculptures. Groups items with same themes or various styles or sizes. To group photographs, frame them all with the same style and color frame.
Don’t be afraid to mix styles. That can add excitement and energy to the space. If you have a large blank wall, cover it with an extra large painting and it becomes a focal point, a show piece.
And there are times when you should think ‘inside the box.’ Think of your jewelry that you love, but don’t see it very much as it is hidden in your jewelry box. How about placing it in a shadow box and enjoy it every day.
Original Art vs Prints
Original artwork is a good way to add something unique and lasting to your home, but it can be more expensive than a print. If the original art is a painting, it will be more luminous than that of a print and the color more luscious. It may have a complimentary texture as well that is part of it’s character that can’t be translated in a print. Three-dimensional art like sculptures may not suffer that same difference, but an original will be one-of-a-kind.
In the end, the best way to buy and decorate with art is to buy what you love. Oh, and make sure it makes you smile and feel good.
Looking for a fun way to build endurance and strength? Take a Hike. It’s the healthy thing to do. Not only does a hike in the woods give you a sense of communing with nature, it has been found to decrease neural activity in the part of the brain that is associated with anxiety and depression.
Martin Niedermeier, PhD, lead author on the PLOS One (Public Library of Science ) study, says that nature—and green environments in particular—can reduce perceived stress and fatigue. “The visual stimuli in nature serve as so-called soft fascinations,” he says, “which might result in a lower perceived stress and fatigue.” Niedermeier says these findings are important for a simple reason: “People tend to stick with forms of physical activity they enjoy.”
Hiking carries little risk of injury, builds fitness and bone density, uses calories, combats depression, helps to reduce heart disease and strokes, and helps lower blood pressure just to name a few of the many benefits.
So, TAKE A HIKE in the woods. BUT.…..
If you can’t get out to a woods this weekend, come instead to Hillsborough Gallery of Arts and view OUTOFTHEWOODS exhibit, featuring artists Marcy Lansman, Ellie Reinhold and Jason Smith. It will surely lift your spirits.
Here’s the great news. Everyone who comes to your studio are coming BECAUSETHEYWANTTOSEEYOURWORK. Keep that in mind. ALL are potential buyers. So make it a great experience for them.
• Greet them at the door and make them feel welcomed.
• Make it an experience — have some wine or hot cider, grapes, cheese or another snack.
• Have nice music playing in the background.
• Here’s where Less is More. I know it is a big temptation to put out ALLyour work, thinking if they don’t see it, they won’t buy it. However, if there is too much to see, it could work negatively. It will be visual overload and persons won’t be able to focus on that one object that will speak to their hearts. Have faith.Though there will be less work, you will end up selling more.You can continue to fill those empty sold spots with another piece. Don’t hang from ceiling to floor. Negative space is golden. It draws attention to the piece that is surrounded by space.
• Price everything so if you are busy talking with someone else, another person will know the price and not get frustrated and walk out. Give price, medium, and if possible, a short description of your inspiration for the piece.
•To follow up, you MUST get their email and address.Thank them for coming to your studio. If they agreed to be on your email list, add them to your monthly newsletter.You want to keep your name and what you do in their minds. I’ve had several people call me up when they were looking for a gift. Follow‑up, follow‑up, follow‑up.This is your business.You want to sell year ’round. Not just at shows.
• If you are doing your studio tour through an Arts organization, to get the biggest bang for your buck, don’t just rely on the StudioTour’s advertisements. Send out newsletters, tell your friends, pass out your brochures everywhere you go. Write up your own press release on prlog.org, send out postcards, and so on. And list links to the Press Release on sites for free like http://EverWondr.com. Post the Press Release link on your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter and in your newsletter.
Excerpt from Jude Lobe’s ‘So you want to have a Studio Tour’ pamphlet
Art has been with us for over 30,000 years. Origins of art are ancient and lie within Africa, before worldwide human dispersal. The earliest known evidence of ‘artistic behaviour’ is of human body decoration, including skin coloring with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had functional origins.
Modern cosmetics and tattoos have a history, originating with the use of ochre for coloring the skin hundreds of millennia ago. The human love of body decoration involves the application of color. The oldest known use of ochre is ∼ 164,000 BC from a South African culture.
So art has been all around us for millennial bringing us joy by making us pretty; coloring and designing our clothing; and adding visual art like paintings and sculptures to record animals, history, honor famous persons or just to make lovely structures. There are many reasons artists create. Michelangelo described his incentive as ‘I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’
There is scientific evidence that there is a neurological relationship between visual creativity and language. For the viewer, art is healthy for our mental health. Think of the joy you get from going to a concert, visiting an art museum or watching a dance recital.
“With recent advances in biological, cognitive and neurological science, there are new forms of evidence on the arts and the brain. For example, researchers have used biofeedback to study the effects of visual art on neural circuits and neuroendocrine markers to find biological evidence that visual art promotes health, wellness and fosters adaptive responses to stress.” (Beth Daley, the Conversation, a non-profit organization)
Art gives meaning to our lives. It helps us understand our world. It is an essential part of our culture because it allows us to have a deeper understanding of our emotions; increases our self-awareness, and allows us to be open to new ideas and experiences. “Additionally, science has shown that viewing beautiful artwork can actually cause you to experience the same physical reactions we get when we fall in love.” (Professor Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist with the University of London)
So go fall in love. Visit the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts new exhibit, SWEETIMPOSSIBLEBLOSSOMS with Arianna Bara, Chris Graebner and Ian Herdell. Now showing March 22nd to April 24th, 2022.
Art is good for the soul, and you have it all around you every day inside and outside your home. It’s not only a painting or photograph on a wall, or a sculpture in your garden. It is the garden, the jewelry you wear, the pillow on your sofa, the tablecloth, the design on your silverware. But art is not just something to look at and admire, recognized it is functional, too. It gives you joy in viewing it, every day it lifts your spirits, it is good for your health.
ARTIMPROVESHEALTH Scientific studies suggest that art improves health and well-being among individuals. Benefits of art include improvement of memory and lower stress levels. Populations studied found that when persons viewed traditional and contemporary galleries it promoted well-being in them and included a positive social impact and cognitive enhancement.
Samantha Kaplan believes that “Art is genuinely a gift to the world. It’s what we crave in the human experience. Art gives meaning to our lives and helps us understand our world. It is an essential part of our culture because it allows us to have a deeper understanding of our emotions; it increases our self-awareness, and also allows us to be open to new ideas and experiences. Art therefore continues to open our minds and our hearts and shows us what could be possible in our world.”
ARTISALLAROUNDUS In closing, our physiology is deeply effected by feelings and emotion. Try to keep a balance of good feelings in close proximity to yourself during the day. Perhaps a small painting on your desk, or larger one on the wall. Maybe a piece of art sculpture at home in your window sill to look at before you walk out the door. Or a calming artwork on the wall of your bedroom to send you off to a peaceful night’s rest. And be aware of the beautiful fabrics you choose for a tablecloth, or your clothing, the jewelry you wear or the lamp by your chair. Art is all around us.
It’s always fun when we brain-storm to come up with an interesting title for our Member’s show exhibits in January and February. This time the vote went to ANYTHINGGOES for the January exhibit. There are so many decisions that every artist has to make in creating just one art piece and this new title offers the artist a challenge.
The positive thing about a challenge is that it stimulates the artist’s creativity. They have a theme/topic to which they should adhere. Here’s how they begin. What piece of art can I create that expresses Anything Goes? What subject, what medium, what size, what surface, and the list goes on. Sometime an artist may sit in front of a canvas for hours or they may doodle on paper. In any event, we hope you will enjoy and maybe one of these artworks speaks so loudly to you, you’ll just have to take it home to enjoy it every day.
Hillsborough Gallery of Arts welcomes two new members, Ian Herdell and Pete Rodrigues. Both are woodworkers that create unique furniture and wall art.
Most of my work is made from solid North American hardwoods, although I also use shop cut veneers on some projects. I love to create furniture and art with tangible functionality and down to earth beauty. I am inspired by the beauty and structure of forms found in nature and I try to bring some small piece of that into my designs. I find that each tree has a story to tell, a snapshot into its unique life. My designs incorporate and harness the knots, splits, rot, spalting, special grain and sculpting done by insects, wind and weather. At times I also highlight these “imperfections” with inlaid shells and stone to bring more attention to them. This approach combined with exceptional craftsmanship allows me to create timeless, beautiful work for any space.
For me creating furniture as an art form is a process of visualizing what is possible, designing, building, and then letting it be used as function, as much as form. Over the years, I have continued to grow in this process. In some ways it has been more of a personal growth, rather than professional. I see us all like a piece of wood with our own cracks, twist, bows and rough cut edges. However, when put into the hands of the master craftsman, the wood can be turned into something beautiful.
Along the way I picked up a quote from the late furniture maker, Sam Maloof.
“Too often we who design things take all credit for what we do and if we have any kind of success we become very smug and conceited about it. I think all one has to do is look at a beautiful flower, a tree, or whatever, and realize what we do is very insignificant. We are only the instruments who make these beautiful objects.”
It has taken me a while to realize, it’s a lot easier being the instrument, then the master craftsmen!
FROGSVIEWEDASGOODLUCK: In many cultures, frogs are a symbol of good luck and abundance, partly due to the very large number of eggs it lays at one time. In Rome, the frog was a mascot believed to bring good luck to the home. In Ireland, the frog is considered a relative of the leprechaun and capable of playing tricks on you when least expected. In Australia, the Aborigines believed that frogs brought the thunder and rain, to help the plants grow. It’s easy to understand that idea as in actuality, frogs usually bury beneath the earth and come out in large numbers when it rains to quickly lay their eggs.
In that same vein, the Celts believed the frog represented curative or healing powers because of its connection with water and cleansing rains.
The three-legged toad from China is the traditional pet of the immortal Liu Hai, who is the Chinese god of wealth. In Japan, sea-farers wore frog amulets when traveling across the river for a safe return. The word for frog in Japanese is ‘kaeru’ meaning ‘return’.
< ARTWORKBYNANCYSMITH. Is presently in the show INTANGIBLES. Available for purchase here: NANCY SMITH’S frogs.