Meet some of our members...
Artist Bonita Lowe
Artist Bonita Lowe works on this drawing of a dog. Lowe grew up in the East Lincoln community of Catawba Springs
(photos courtesy of Bonita Lowe)
Some of Bonita Lowe’s best memories are of her childhood in Lincoln and Gaston counties.
A noted local artist, Lowe spoke last week about the joys of growing up on a farm in the East Lincoln community of Catawba Springs. She moved there in 1950, along with her parents, Leonard D. and Ellie Davis Lowe, sister Sheila and brother Steve.
“This is the place where I made my happiest childhood memories,” Bonita revealed. “We rented a house from our neighbors, Ephraim B. and Rebecca Lowe. I had often wondered whether our two Lowe families were related. And after a bit of research, I learned that yes, ancestors of both families can be traced back to Wilkes County!”
It was, as she observed, an idyllic childhood.
“Some of the things I remember from that time,” she said, “are walking with Rebecca to New Hope United Methodist Church, which was nearby; playing in the barn loft; sampling the peanuts that Eph and Rebecca grew behind their house; the sweet smell of ripening pears that fell from the trees in summer; going hunting with my dad; and exploring the nearby woods. It was a wonderful time!”
Bonita recently returned to the area and visited the New Hope Methodist Cemetery, where Ephraim and Rebecca were laid to rest.
“When I was 6 years old in 1952, our family moved to Stanley,” Bonita recalled, “where I attended grammar school. By that time, a new family member had arrived, my brother, Michael. We lived in Stanley until 1960, when we moved to Grover. I attended high school in Kings Mountain.”
And from an early age, Bonita noted, she knew that art would become her life’s work.
“My art education started early in life,” she said, “watching my father draw and paint. I always knew that art was my passion. But it wasn’t until my father’s death, in 1976, that I began to take it seriously. Shortly after his death, I had a vivid dream in which my father spoke to me and urged me not to postpone the things that were important in my life. When I awoke, I knew exactly what my father was saying! Right away, I signed up for my first watercolor class. Through the years, I continued my education at Gaston College, where I studied commercial art; at Isothermal College, where I studied design; and at Cleveland Community College, where I took classes in watercolor. I also took life-drawing classes at Spirit Square in Charlotte. I was inspired and learned so much from two exceptional artists and teachers, John Brady and Boyce Kendrick.”
These days, Bonita works out of her home studio in Mount Holly.
“After leaving my job as textile designer for a fabric manufacturer, I returned to art full time and am loving every minute!” she said. “Although I have experimented with many media , including pastel, oils, watercolor, collage, pencil and colored pencil, I now focus on acrylic painting and am enjoying working on a larger scale. I recently received a merit award for my acrylic painting, ‘Smoky Mountain Morning,’ during the Southern Arts Society’s Gateways to the South judged show in Kings Mountain.”
Bonita is a member of the Catawba River Artisans. Her paintings and prints may be seen at the group’s booth at the Catawba River Antique Mall in Belmont as well as on her Website, www.bonitasartplace.com.
Like most great artists, Bonita much enjoys communicating with her audience.
“The thing that gives me the most pleasure as an artist,” she said, “is in knowing that I have connected with the viewer in an emotional way. I am constantly inspired by the world around me: people that I meet, nature and the interconnectedness that binds us all together. My hope is that the inspiration and joy that I feel when I do a drawing or painting will be shared with the viewer.
“When I really get into a drawing or painting,” she added, “I go away to another place where nothing exists, other than the work I am doing. I believe that’s a most wonderful place to be!”
Creative Jewelry Treasures
Unique Jewelry designed & created by Teresa Turner
Teresa uses a variety of natural and synthetic materials such as stones, crystals, pearls, glass & metal for a unique one-of-a-kind piece. She also creates customs pieces for gifts, weddings & personal jewelry needs and does minor repairs and guaranties her work.
Available for sale through the Southern Arts Society Gift Shop
Bernice has been an avid supporter of the Arts all of her life. An Art major in High School she worked closely in the Art Dept. with yearbooks, programs, and outreach. Her artistic path was dashed when she married and became a mother. All artistic energies went into the home and garden. After taking a class in "The Artist's Way" with Susan Doggett in 2004 she rekindled the artist within her and decided to try her hand in soft pastels.
Bernice took two classes in soft pastels, one offered at the Cleveland County Arts Council in Shelby and a week long workshop at Springmaid Resort, in Myrtle Beach. After that workshop (Pastel Figure Drawing with Sigmund Abeles) she became completely hooked on pastels. She has worked basically on portraiture and her family and friends have received the entire body of work that she has produced in that medium so far.
Currently Bernice has been trying her hand in oil painting. After recently taking an oil painting workshop with James Norman she has found another medium that provides her with a new artistic direction. Her focus in oils is ongoing at the moment but her love for soft pastels will always be her medium of choice. In 2010 at the "Gateway to the South" show sponsored by the Southern Arts Society, Bernice won a Merit Award which is her first award in the medium of pastels. Bernice was President of Southern Arts Society 2010-2012.
Kathy Collins Fine Art
Available for sale through the Southern Arts Society Gift Shop
The focus for all of Sally Hagerty's hand woven artwork is recycling. Old clothing, bed linens, draperies and even old rugs are taken apart, cut into strips and sewn together, then woven into into beautiful and sturdy rag rugs. This unique American folk art form, which is in danger, has kept Sally weaving on her piano sized Swedish Floor loom since 1996. She also volunteers at Kings Mountain State Park Living History Farm as a docent, re-enacting weaving.
Rugs and other items can be purchased at the Southern Arts Society in Kings Mountain, the Museum of York County, Buffalo Creek Gallery, and throughout the year at various local art shows in York, Lancaster and Cleveland counties. Commissions welcome.
Heirloom hand woven with recycled materials for unique collectibles
Rags, Totes and Accessories
Available for sale through the Southern Arts Society Gift Shop
Barbara O'Neal Davis
Living in South Carolina for 32 years, Barbara O'Neal Davis has been painting in water mediums, such as watercolor,
acrylics, and gouache for 20 years. Occasionally working in pastels, she also recently added Encaustic, the ancient art form
of painting with pigmented wax to the list of mediums she has enjoyed using. Her work runs the gamut from realistic to
abstract. She prefers figurative work although her subject matter does vary. She has enjoyed taking week long intense
workshops when possible at Springmaid in Myrtle Beach studying with internationally known artists. Working full time
has made finding desired time to paint difficult. Recently finding kindred art friends, she has started taking more time to
paint and share this common passion.
Barbara was selected as a Member in Excellence with the South Carolina Watermedia Society in 2003. Member-in-Excellence
would equate to Signature Membership in other watercolor societies usually requiring 3 inclusions by the juror(s) in the
society's exhibitions. She has been juried into the SCWS shows 7 times including the SCWS 2012 show in Columbia, SC. In
2012 Barbara happily attained Signature Membership in Louisiana Watercolor Society (International Membership) and
Southern Watercolor Society (Society of 17 Southern States) and Georgia Watercolor Society. Barbara was juried into the
2012 National Watercolor Society 92nd International Exhibition in San Pedro, California. In 2013 she added
Watercolor Society of Alabama to Signature Memberships and juried into 3 Watercolor Art Society of Houston (WAS-H)
International shows in 2011, 2012 and 2013
South Carolina Watermedia Society in '95, '99, '03, '04, '07, '08, '12 Member-in-Excellence
Southern Watercolor Society in 2006, 2008, 2012 Signature Member
Georgia Watercolor Society National Show in 2011, + GWS All-Member '07, '09, '11, '12 Signature Member
Louisiana Watercolor Society International Exhibition 2008, 2010, 2012 Signature Member
Missouri Watercolor Society 2009 **
Watercolor Society of Alabama 2010, 2011, 2013 Signature Member
National Watercolor Society All-Member show 2004, 2006, Donor's Exhibition 2012 (one time exhibit)
National Watercolor Society's 2012 92nd International Exhibition.
WAS-H (Watercolor Art Society of Houston) in 2011, 2012, 2013 * denied receiving member dues they cashed.
Jack G. Greenfield
...was born in Ohio but has spent the past 50 years living in the South. After graduating from the University of Akron and completing his military service as an officer in the army, he taught US History at Wilson Jr. High in Tampa, Florida. He is now enjoying retirement after a 30-year career with the Internal Revenue Service. Although he had always had an interest in art he did not have any formal training until in his forties, he began night classes at the Memphis Academy of Art and then later association with various student art groups. However, he describes himself as basically self-taught, learning techniques mainly through trial and error. After brief and unsuccessful experimentation in oils and pastels, it was an exposure to works by artists such as Andrew Wyeth that awakened the possibilities of watercolors. That was an epiphany making him realize the potential of the medium to create textures, close detail but with soft out-of-focus backgrounds. Even though living the major part of his life as a "big-city" person, it his views of the beauty of the rural South that have influenced much of his subject matter. In addition, his many trips to New England and Maine in particular have provided the interest for his harbor scenes and seascapes. He considers himself only as an amateur artist with painting as a satisfying but fulfilling hobby. Jack presently lives in Kings Mountain, North Carolina with his wife the former Helen Lancaster.
A school teacher by trade, Chris Tessnear has drawn and colored most of her life. She began serious study of watercolor and drawing in 1990 with Anne Godfrey. She continued to take classes, study on her own and get involved with the local arts organizations and opportunities. She also helped to found and manage a local non- profit art gallery and instructional center, Art 1 in Gastonia.
Chris works in watercolor, mixed media and has recently become obsessed with collage and altered art. She enjoys all subject matter and often works in series. Making devotional booklets and note cards on her computer from her art is part of the joy and mission she considers her art to be. Most recently she has done a series of mixed media self portraits and portraits of her Dad who is recovering from a stroke.
Having studied with many local artists and internationally known artists such as John Brady, Steve Jordan, Rick Chin, and Frank Webb, Chris has enjoyed a variety of experiences to expand her style and techniques.
Chris allows the creative process to dominate not always expecting a finished piece worthy of framing but an aid in the continuing process of growing and expanding her abilities. She enjoys the simple process of child-like creating, rejoicing when the end product does turnout a keeper.
Currently, Chris is teaching children's art classes for Gaston School of the Arts at the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club through a NC grant..
Her art is available at the Gaston County Museum of Art and History in Gaston County, Southern Arts Society in Kings Mountain, NC; Cleveland County Art Center in Shelby, NC; and Alta Vista Gallery, Valle Crucis, NC.
Chris has work published in Somerset Studios Gallery-Summer 2006, Somerset Studios July-August 2006, and Legacy October-November 2006.
Chris is married to Terry and has one grown son, Matthew, who is an editor for the New Bern Sun Journal in New Bern, NC.
You can contact Chris at 704-263-2825 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Shirley Knapp Brutko
Shirley produces watercolor note cards and signed and numbered limited prints for sale that feature subjects of local interest, Her artwork is for sale at Southern Arts Society, the Kings Mountain Historical Museum, the Patrick Senior Center Gift Shop, & the Chamber office in Kings Mountain. Shirley has been doing art all of her life and won her first art contest at age 5.
SBrutko@bellsouth.net, 704 739-9663, P. O. Box 968, Kings Mountain, N. C. 28086
...has made salt fired pottery in his shop near Dallas, N. C. since 1973. He enhances a locally dug clay and also uses minerals and other materials found in Gaston and Lincoln counties to make glazes and slips.
“ My passion is working with clay to make vessels for everyday use. “
All glazes are food safe and may be put in the microwave, dishwasher and oven.