The Stokes County Arts Council is pleased to announce the opening of our upcoming exhibit, “As I See It: Art Through the Lenses of Three Generations,” featuring Fran Speight, Kristen Maready, and Sharon Grubbs in the Apple Gallery during the month of October. A virtual opening will be held in on Friday, October 9, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. on the Stokes Arts Facebook page, coming to you live from the Apple Gallery. You may visit the exhibit other times at the Stokes County Arts Council, 500 N. Main Street, Danbury, North Carolina.
Artists Fran Speight, Sharon Grubbs and Kristen Maready are notable members of the Carolina Painters’ Guild, a group of professional artists who “desire to beautify the world by showing and selling their original art.” They are a group of women of all ages using a variety of media from oils and acrylics to watercolors, pastels and mixed media.
Fran Speight works specifically in oils and pastels. Her art depicts scenes from rural landscapes as well as commissioned portraits of pets. After retiring from a career working in art galleries, she currently paints full time and has studied with several noted and local artists. Fran lives in Stokes county and divides her time between her studio and Emerald Isle, where she is inspired by an endless array of landscapes, which are forever changing with the seasons. Her work is represented in galleries, private homes as well as corporations, hospitals and small businesses. “My passion is painting the landscape, to capture the ever-changing light and colors in the natural elements that surround us. I want to take the viewer on a visual journey, to feel the light and color of a place and time and perhaps a memory,” Speight expressed when speaking about her work.
Kristen Maready describes herself as a representational painter, working primarily in oils but also explores pastel, graphite, and charcoal. Kristen spent the first 6 years of her career as an elementary school teacher. Kristen said, “I credit this time spent with children, learning to see the world in a different way, as essential to my life as an artist.” In addition to earning a BS in education, she also studied art at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Appalachian State University. She also accredits her art instruction to her work with noted and local artists, even those in this exhibit.
Kristen is a juried member of the Oil Painters of America, a member of the American Impressionist Society, and Portrait Society of America. She has exhibited in many local juried shows, including shows with Wilkes Art Gallery, Yadkin Art Gallery, and Cary Gallery of Artists. Recently, a piece of my work was selected in the jurors “Fave 15%” of the Bold Brush exhibition, through Fine Art Studios Online.
Kristen explained that the pieces she selected for this exhibit speak to the idea of “Home.” “Some are faces of the people, some are from the beautiful places, and some are familiar objects; all remind me of my southern roots and this wonderful place we’re blessed to call home. While painting a variety of genres, I especially love to paint things that evoke feelings of nostalgia and celebrate simple joys in life.”
Sharon Grubbs is primarily an oil painter but has started working in mixed media and pastels. She recently is moving toward abstract art styles and techniques as she attempts to capture the impression of what she is observing. In her landscapes, she tries to convey the feeling that she
felt while observing the scene, that sense of “place”: She described “atmospheric greys, bright sunny colors, the character of buildings, the beauty in the “old, broken and ugly” motivate my creativity.”
Sharon has studied extensively with artists that teach in the Atelier style, studying fine art painting under nationally acclaimed and notable artists. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 2019, she opened her solo show “Face of My South”. She has won a number of awards and her paintings are represented in prestigious public art collections including the University of Alabama, Yadkin Arts and Cultural Center, and private collections as well. Sharon passionately explained: “I LOVE to teach art, all ages…all levels. I am a daughter of the South….in love with rural living.”
This exhibit will be on display October 1-October 31 in the Apple Gallery. The Stokes County Arts Council is open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm and Sunday 1:00pm-5:00pm. For additional information about the exhibit, please contact the Stokes County Arts Council at (336) 593-8159 or visit www.stokesarts.org.