Brevard artist Virginia Pendergrass looks to the skies with her latest exhibit at Trackside Studios in Asheville throughout this month. An artist’s reception will be held Sunday, October 8, from 4:30–6:30 p.m. for Moody Skies, a series of oil paintings.
“For the last couple of years,” Pendergrass says, “I have concentrated on atmospheric paintings.” These, she adds, can be more of a challenge than “happy paintings.” Some of her new paintings are Moody Afternoon, Moody Mountain and Foggy Morning. “Careful handling of values,” she says “requires more attention, and colorful grays are a delicate balance between bright and muted, making them more difficult to mix.”
When it comes to pleasing art patrons, there’s a place for the overcast skies as well as for the sunny ones, she says. “My theory is that people bring a whole life experience to enjoying art; when a person ‘loves a painting,’ I believe that painting triggers some meaningful experience in that particular person’s history.”
Some people are stimulated by bright colors, especially red, but others “love the muted gray and moody feel of atmospheric paintings,” commenting that they appreciate the realism and find them “soothing” in a way.
Pendergrass achieves some of that realism by painting en plein air. “For rainy days, I discovered that painting in multi-story parking garages is fun. I have cover out of the rain, get lovely long-range views and can avoid wrestling my painting equipment to a remote site. I can park and paint.”
Favorite locations for drier days include the Black Balsam trailhead, the farmlands around Brevard and DuPont State Recreational Forest.
“I like a beautiful painting of any kind,” Pendergrass says. “I still paint ‘happy paintings,’ but my changed color palette reflects the deep, varied greens and muted cooler colors of North Carolina better than my previous color selections.”
Trackside Studios is located at 375 Depot Street in Asheville’s River Arts District. For more information, visit virginiapendergrass.com or call 828.577.0264.