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Rail Walk hosts Forthofer solo exhibit, opening reception Friday

Opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 14

Submitted

Artist Sharon Forthofer has been one of the Rail Walk artists since 2008 but this will be her first solo exhibit, preferring in the past to share her exhibits with other artists. The opening reception, free and open to the public, is Friday. “Mountains, Shores and More” will feature primarily large oil paintings of landscapes and animals, works which have not been in previous Rail Walk exhibits.

Forthofer, who paints nearly every day, is a prolific painter. Although she has loved to draw since early childhood, she didn’t begin to take a serious interest in creating art until, while teaching first grade, she was called on to substitute in the absence of a school art teacher.

She found great pleasure in starting with a blank sheet of paper, then by adding paint she made something appear – “sort of like magic.” When asked about her preference for oil painting she remembers, “I got into oils after I retired from teaching. The best art teacher in the area taught only in oils so I studied oil painting. I got hooked. I love mixing the exact colors I want and blending or not as I choose. Edges can be soft or sharp. Over the years I have participated in workshops to learn color theory and techniques which I can employ to achieve the look I am after. I continue to take workshops and study with other artists. There is always more to learn. Painting also keeps my mind active: there are so many decisions to make in every painting.”

Sharon paints outdoors weekly with the Plein Air Carolina artists. When asked why she braves the elements to paint outdoors she replied, “It just has more energy. I love it. When I’m done even if I’m hot and bitten by mosquitos I will have learned so much by looking at the real thing. The light is always changing and that forces me to capture the essence of the scene quickly. It won’t be the same if I go back. I much prefer to paint from life rather than photographs. When I paint still-life art I set up the scene in my studio. Sometimes I do take photographs when I am traveling and then paint those scenes in my studio. I enjoy that too.”

She feels that Rail Walk Studios & Gallery is the perfect atmosphere for a studio – not isolated and in community with other artists. She says she learns from them and from visitors who are often artists themselves and enjoy discussing art.

The exhibit runs through July 27.

Rail Walk Studios & Gallery, 409-413 N Lee St., is open Thursdays-Saturdays 11 a.m.-4 p.m. It houses studios for 10 artists who welcome the public during those hours or by appointment at 704-469-2781. Learn more at www.railwalkgallery.com

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