Spartanburg artist Carol Story has long loved nature and all its bright and subtle colors. That love shows in her upcoming exhibition of her oil paintings, “The Colors of Nature: From Rivers to Roses,” set for Sept. 5 through 30 in Gallery II of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg.
The exhibit includes 18 to 20 small- to medium-sized oil paintings on linen “of familiar scenes,” Story says. “This exhibit is really a random collection of my work over the past year. It includes a couple of florals, landscapes from my wanderings along the coast and mountains, and even several from my series of sheep.
“I hope visitors will enjoy the colors inherent in our natural world – both the bright most celebrated in sunlight and the subtle sought out in mist and shadow,” she adds. “I want them to get enjoyment from the form and color of natural objects – God’s creation as best I can represent it on canvas.”
Story says that over the past year, “I just painted what struck my fancy. I confess that the sheep were inspired by an artist I follow on Instagram, and I found them to be such fun. Isn’t that what hobbies are for? Doing something for amusement or relaxation? And if others can join in that pleasure, that’s a double blessing for me.”
Story, a Georgia native who has lived in Spartanburg for more than 40 years and has been an artist for 15, considers her works “representational in style. I sometimes like to push the bounds of what I realistically see. Many of my works are the product of ramblings in Georgia and the Carolinas; others are from travels further afield. I also enjoy painting still life because, as a ‘control freak,’ I like having command over subject, composition and lighting. Whether riotous color or subtlety of shadow, the beauty and insights to be appreciated with landscapes, animals or arranged objects are all inspiration to me.
“As a lifelong student of the spoken and written word, it is both a joy and a challenge to portray what I see through a visual language, contemplating the created work of God or constructed work of man,” she adds. “Seeing first and then seeking to capture movement, reflections, texture or a palette of colors, I strive to communicate truth and beauty to each viewer, however differently. My hope is to arouse an emotion, elicit a memory or challenge one’s imagination.”
Of the works in the exhibition, Story compares them to “easy listening music” – “They may strike viewers as lowkey and comfortable,” she says.
Story has been a member of the Artists Collective | Spartanburg for eight years and has served on its management board as receptions chair and now oversees ACS workshops. “I have a studio there, where my work is always on display. I am blessed by the encouragement of this generous community of artists and appreciate the opportunity to grow in my craft and to exhibit here.” She has had solo shows at the ACS each year since 2017 and had paintings accepted in juried shows in Spartanburg and Anderson, South Carolina. She also has work exhibited in the Cable Gallery in Young Harris, Georgia, her hometown. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia in education.