In an homage to their beauty, landscape painter Dale McEntire devoted a year to painting some of the trees growing on his property in Saluda, producing a study each week. The series, titled 52 Weeks | 52 Trees, will be presented Thursday, February 27, through March 15 at The Gallery at Flat Rock. An opening reception will be held February 27 from 5–7 p.m. McEntire will also present an Artist Talk on Saturday, March 14, at 3 p.m. Events are free and open to the public.
Work on each painting for the series was done as much as possible on location, McEntire says. “Sometimes the weather would be very cold or very wet and I would have to begin or finish in the studio, but there was always a session in plein air for each piece.” Hardwoods and conifers on his property, such as oak, cherry, pine, willow and cedar, observed over the course of the year provided endless possibilities. “I walked around the woods and pastures and waited until a particular tree caught my attention,” he says. “I did not have a favorite species, but did enjoy the locust trees for their structure and foliage changes as they went through the seasons.”
The narrow focus of the subject matter for the series led to a widening of process, he discovered. “I experimented with different styles that were not my way of typically working,” says McEntire, “and that was a good lesson in letting go of technique and having some fun and not being overly attached to the outcome.”
A percentage of sales from the exhibition will be donated to the local environmental advocacy nonprofit MountainTrue. “I feel they strike a good balance of activism and education,” McEntire says. “Their focus on clean water, forest habitat and sustainability, and rural conservation of our wonderful region is very important for us all.”
His next series, he has decided, may be completed as monthly creations rather than weekly ones. “This will allow me to do some 3-D work, which I also appreciate,” he says. Besides oil and pastel paintings, he creates sculptures of stone, steel, glass and bronze. He is a member of Mountain Sculptors of Asheville, and teaches painting at Isothermal Community College.
The Gallery at Flat Rock is located at Flat Rock Square at 2702-A Greenville Highway, Flat Rock. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; or by appointment. To learn more, visit GalleryFlatRock.com or call 828.698.7000.