Noc­turne scenes

American Art Collector - - Contents -

There’s noth­ing quite like the beauty of a South­ern night, when the glow of the moon set­tles over creeks and marsh­lands, starlight daz­zles against the dark­ness of the ocean and fire­flies swirl be­tween the trees. Night­fall at Wells Gallery is a two-week show that cap­tures these mys­ti­cal scenes through the oil paint­ings of more than 10 artists in­clud­ing De­bra Nadel­hof­fer, Rick McClure, Junko Ono Roth­well, Sally Tharp and Curt But­ler.

While most pieces por­tray the nat­u­ral land­scape, oth­ers ex­plore the bright lights of an eclec­tic city scene.

Moon­light Emerg­ing, by McClure, de­picts a serene night sky cast over lush, green swamp­lands. The paint­ing was in­spired by a trip the artist took with his wife to the

col­or­ful Ki­awah Is­land, where they stayed in a home over­look­ing the marshes. “I would sit on the ve­randa each evening and watch the sil­hou­ettes of the pal­metto trees form against the moon­light sky,” McClure says. “Upon re­turn­ing to my stu­dio, I be­gan de­vel­op­ing color stud­ies try­ing to cap­ture the chal­leng­ing val­ues and colors of the night as I re­mem­bered them.”

The Low­coun­try of South Carolina is a cre­ative muse for Roth­well as well. “It changes color with the time of day, with sun­light and the moon ris­ing. Also, it changes shape by high and low tide,” Roth­well ex­plains. This con­tin­u­ous ebb and flow of na­ture gives artists the op­por­tu­nity to slow these mo­ments down—to cap­ture their essence and freeze them in time. In her paint­ing Moon Over Marsh, Roth­well strives to cap­ture the pre­cise mo­ment at which the moon peeks out from be­hind the clouds.

Some­times, it’s about wait­ing for na­ture to cre­ate that per­fect, mag­i­cal scene. In Nadel­hof­fer’s Moon­struck, the oil painter says she waited un­til the moon had risen high in the sky, il­lu­mi­nat­ing the edges of the clouds and cre­at­ing a cer­tain sparkle across the sur­face of the wa­ter. The is­lands, grasses and dis­tant trees con­trast the vi­brancy of the moon­lit wa­ter, fur­ther em­pha­siz­ing its drama, Nadel­hof­fer ex­plains. “It is pure magic that trans­lates well in a paint­ing,” she says.

Tharp’s thought­ful yet whim­si­cal piece, aptly ti­tled The Great Es­cape, il­lus­trates an over­turned ma­son jar with light­ning bugs zoom­ing out of it. “I see the fact that, as chil­dren, we are of­ten drawn to, chase and try to cap­ture fire­flies—only to have them die in cap­tiv­ity—as an anal­ogy [for] the things in life that we chase…but aren’t meant to keep,” says Tharp. “I chose to por­tray them es­cap­ing in the night, per­haps living to be caught an­other day when the time is right.”

Wells Gallery 1 Sanc­tu­ary Beach Drive, Ki­awah Is­land, SC 29455 (843) 576-1290 • www.wells­gallery.com

“Each artist brings to life an as­pect of the South­ern night us­ing their unique styles and palettes.”

– Emily Wag­ner, di­rec­tor, Wells Gallery

3 Curt But­ler, Jewel of the Low­coun­try, oil and en­caus­tic on can­vas, 60 x 48"

4 Junko Ono Roth­well, Moon Over Marsh, oil on can­vas, 20 x 20" 5 De­bra Nadel­hof­fer, Moon­struck, oil on can­vas, 12 x 16"

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