Spartanburg artist Beth Regula is sharing the artist’s process in her upcoming exhibition, “It Begins with a Sketch: Polymer Clay,” Sept. 6 through Oct. 1 in Gallery II of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg. An artist’s talk is scheduled for Sept. 15 during the Spartanburg ArtWalk.
The exhibition consists of more than a dozen free-standing sculptures and relief wall hangings. Each of the small works will be accompanied by the sketches from which they originated.
‘This exhibit is about recording life experiences, historical moments, random thoughts, joy and anger in quick sketches,” says Regula, chair of the management board of ACS. “As I go through each day, I am constantly sketching. Many times, these sketches are executed while listening to TV, sitting in traffic, attending meetings or during moments of relaxing at home. There really is no conscious effort to draw a particular thing. I let my hand show me what has been going on in my mind. I draw on anything at hand. Knowing that some of these sketches may be used in more formal creative efforts, I save the ones that ‘speak’ to me and collect them in my studio.”
Regula says the sketches are her “starting place” when she is in the studio. “As I begin working with the sketch as my guide, I use various mediums. During this process the materials used also help me develop the sketch into a more intricate design. Details are added, and I begin to see what was really in my thoughts as I drew the sketch.”
Preparing for the upcoming exhibit, she culled through the sketches and picked a group she thought would best represent her thoughts during the past few months. “The thoughts are political, whimsical, love of nature, love of family and feelings of despair. Pretty much a record of my thoughts over the summer, of 2022.
“I want people to know that art comes from inside,” she adds. “Thoughts, emotions, are expressed through art: my therapy for surviving the times in which I am living. The works in the exhibit come from my thoughts of summer 2022. My personal reaction to what is happening around me."
“I looked around the studio and saw a stack of sketches that I have collected,” she continues. “When I go to the studio to work on a new body of work, I sort through the sketches that I do on a daily basis to get an idea of what I want a new body of work to look like. They are the beginning of the work, thus the title ‘It Begins with a Sketch’”
Regula notes that some of the works are “political” in nature. “I care about the struggles our country is facing. I care about women's rights. I care about nature and global warming. If a visitor does not agree with me, that is fine. Just maybe, though, I might be able to help them think of another way to view the world. I do not march, I do not run for political office, but I do express how I feel through my art.”
Most of the works in the exhibit are made of polymer clay on tempered hardboard and painted with acrylics. “I use a relief sculpture process to ‘build’ each piece with many details and then the entire piece is painted,” Regula says.
The works will be offered for sale, with prices starting at $200.
Regula, who lives in Roebuck in Spartanburg County, has been a member of ACS since 2012.