Barbara Lawlor, Nederland
The walls of the halls held artwork hung with care. The tables in the halls were topped with cheeses and fruit and savory appetizers. Wine was poured in the meeting room and the upstairs lobby. Guests lingered in front of the paintings enjoying the feelings that art invokes, the appreciation of lines and composition and colors that blend and contrast to make a tangible piece of beauty.
The Art at the Center opening reception was held last Thursday, February 6, at the Nederland Community Center and featured new and old artists.
As people viewed the gallery they were asked to write down their top three favorite artists and their votes were compiled. At the close of the evening, the three People’s Choice Awards were announced.
In first place was a newcomer to the show; in fact, a newcomer to Nederland, but not a newcomer to the world of art. Elizabeth Azcarate moved here from California in November and brought with her a stunning display of paintings of large succulent plants so tangible that one has an urge to stroke the silky petals.
Elizabeth, who has won many awards for her work in the past 25 years, left her ranch in Ventura—the many acres, the too many animals, and the barns—for a home in Big Springs. She had wanted to live in the mountains. She says she has not even finished unpacking but she was already missing painting and being in the art world.
“My work is dedicated to the truth and beauty of nature. I am primarily a realistic painter, reflecting my love of nature, color, and especially animals. I also enjoy the ambiguity and mystery of being abstract and engaging the viewer.”
Nancy Kirkendall was the second place People’s Choice. Her study of hummingbirds hangs in the community room, drawing all eyes to her vivid portrayal of the amazing tiny flying machines that inhabit our mountains in the summer.
Nancy has lived and worked in Nederland for 20 years. She paints in acrylic and her inspiration is the nature all around her.
Third place winner Annie Thayer is well-known in the mountain area art world. Her watercolors take the viewer to a new world of light and water, snow and forests, with a glow that invites one to step in closer and be a part of the landscape.
Thayer’s newest work, “Sand Beach,” was recently finished and she says it is her favorite in the show, that it feels like the most successful.
“It came easy,” she says. “It was painted in a day and I like the colors. I did a small painting of it when I was in Maine in the fall and then I did this one.”
Another of the artists oft named in the People’s Choice nominations was Jill Pyatt, whose animal portraits appealed to most everyone. The favorite was the image of a Border Collie chasing a frisbee. One of the comments was, “Great action!”
The excellent food was prepared by local chef Kim Culver, and entertainment was provided by Scott Bakke and his band. The music was so appealing that many people stayed after the award presentation just to dance to the tunes.