By Gina Malone
Strolling among galleries in Brevard during monthly Art Walks led Maureen Chapman, already creative by nature and profession, to a passion for painting. She and her husband met Ann DerGara at Red Wolf Gallery, and Chapman says it was her husband who “cajoled” DerGara into giving her lessons in acrylic painting. “She taught me the basics and how to ‘see’ objects and sketch them with paint,” Chapman says. “I learned a lot. Such a wonderful thing to let the stresses of life and daily routine go when you’re concentrating on your creativity.” She worked with DerGara for three years during weekly lessons, had her work displayed at Red Wolf Gallery and then began taking workshops in other mediums and techniques such as oil and cold wax, plein air and abstraction.
Workshops have taken her as far afield as Ballycastle, Ireland and Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and to points closer to home. “It has been a grand time meeting artists from all over the country and world on my art workshop journeys,” she says. “Such generous, talented people whom I continue to stay connected to.”
Her artistic past included 20 years of work in technical drafting, which she loved and considered her art form at the time. “I loved the vellum, my Rapidograph technical pens, the ink and, of course, my Pentel pencils,” she says. Over the years, she also explored fiber arts, pottery and One Stroke painting.
She finds herself especially drawn to plein air painting. “As I drive around, I find myself always scoping out a good spot to paint,” she says. “When painting outside, I feel connected with nature. It’s a very peaceful experience. Time flies. It has also helped to inspire my studio work a great deal, and has helped me paint intuitively.”
Involvement in shows at the Transylvania and Henderson county arts councils keeps her busy and inspired. Last year she was the featured artist for the first annual Art is in the Air En Plein Air Arts Festival sponsored by Heart of Brevard, and she is currently painting a fiberglass bear for Henderson County’s 2022 Bearfootin’ Art Walk. The themed bears will be on display this summer and fall prior to the auction that raises funds for area nonprofits and Downtown Hendersonville. “Every time I paint,” Chapman says, “my goal is to express nature, capturing its beauty and animating spirit through colors, shapes and textures.”
Her work is represented by The Lucy Clark Gallery & Studio, in downtown Brevard. “I have watched Maureen grow and evolve as an artist for quite some time and am in awe of her passion to constantly push the envelope,” says owner Lucy Clark. “The joy she has for her medium shines through in her use of color and composition and her ability to take risks.”
Living in Lake Toxaway, Chapman finds inspiration all around her. “Color, color, color,” she says. “Captivating landscapes. Each season brings new palette choices. I find myself daydreaming about color combinations. How can I mix that sky color or paint that pasture scene? Which green would I use? Or how would I mix the perfect straw yellow? As I work to develop my style and explore different techniques in my art, I will always be excited by all there is to learn about color and art in general. It’s my ongoing journey.”
Follow Maureen Chapman on Instagram @chapman.maureen. The Lucy Clark Gallery & Studio is located at 51 West Main Street in Brevard.