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from the artist's notebook - Anne Bevan

 

When the mountains of Western North Carolina "called me home" a few years ago, I knew I was entering a phase of adventure and change. The seemingly random decision to move to the mountains (I had never even been to North Carolina!) was based completely on a deeply intuitive feeling and desire. Accepting the challenge of walking into the unknown felt, in many ways, like standing before a huge white canvas. If you have never known this experience I can assure you it is an exhilarating moment; infinite unseen possibilities exist, and a whole new reality is waiting to be explored and, moment by moment, created.

The appetite for this kind of challenge is, for me, the essence of being an artist. One can be an artist in any situation or circumstance (goodness knows there are a lot of artists in New York. There are even terrific artists who continue to choose to live in New Jersey, for heaven's sake—the state, by the way, I chose to leave). But there is something undeniably special about Western North Carolina. There is something magical here: you can feel it in the beauty of the mountains, and you can feel it in the spirit of the people, both the people who were blessed with being born here, and the people who, for one reason or another, have been drawn here. It is something that manifests and nurtures the soul.

Whatever it is, it certainly had a profound affect on my soul. I knew the taste of being fully awake, intensely curious, and ready for whatever might evolve. My first experiences were deeply spiritual. When I set about painting, I became completely consumed with a series of large paintings expressive of the spiritual aspects of the natural beauty in which we are immersed. I call this series "Earth . . . as it is in Heaven". My passion for this work is undiminished, but neither is the appetite for the challenge of taking on something new. After years of working in solitude in the pursuit of very serious aesthetic goals, a very tempting new path has revealed itself.

It started with the wonderful news that my first grandchild—a boy—will arrive in October, and my daughter-in-law's sweet question, "Could you paint something in the nursery?" Of course!, I would love to. My son, Bill, is a fortunate man in many ways, and one of them is that Elena has a gift for interior design and their home is lovely. She showed me a tiny picture from a magazine, subtle colors, a flowing landscape, and suggested it would be nice to have something our new little one could grow up with. I couldn't have been more pleased or tantalized by the prospect.

Standing in the empty room I could see the vista of mountains rolling into the distance, valleys, meadows and forests. The soft blue of the walls were the perfect backdrop for a skyscape of clouds. It was only a matter of picking up a brush, and wall after wall came to life. How often, while working on a six or eight foot canvas had I thought "I wish it were bigger!" This was my wish come true - and it felt like dancing. Everything that a lifetime of painting had taught me - everything about form, line, balance, color, and composition went into this painting, but knowing that it existed simply to delight, it was the essence of play. Anything could happen. The first decision I made on details was to paint my own little cottage here in Fairview—imagining, of course, the day our little boy would point to "Grandma's house". And then the fun began. Coming in to see the progress, Bill asked, "can you paint in a golf course?" Yes, I can! (Billy and his brother, the soon to be Uncle Randy, are avid golfers.) He left to return to work, and I thought, of course, and how about the lake? Uncle Danny and Christine love to go boating and fishing when they come to visit. When Bill returned, he gazed at the mountains receding into the mist, and because Elena and her family are Chinese, he asked, "can you paint the Great Wall of China? Elena's mother would love that." Yes, I can. And suddenly we realized the wonderful point of this painting—something from everyone who loves this child will be included. And I am sure, one day, when the little Prince himself can speak, I will be saying "Yes, I can" to the request for dinosaurs and space ships.

The result of all this is I have discovered something entirely unexpected. As friends and neighbors arrive to see the progress, I have discovered how much I love working in this way, and what a pleasure it is to have such a direct connection to the pleasure that painting brings to people. I had never before considered taking commissions to paint wall murals or decorative painting, but, after all the years of "solitary and serious artistic pursuit", it seems the time has come to step onto a new path, and to accept another delightful challenge.


To see an example of the artist's mural painting (and possibly watch the artist at work), you are invited to visit The Natural Home at 36 N. Lexington in downtown Asheville. (828-285-9442) Anne is now accepting commissions for interior mural painting in private homes and public spaces such as conference centers, churches and restaurants.

Work from Anne Bevan's large-scale series "Earth. . . as it is in Heaven" can be seen at The Design Gallery, 7 South Main Street, Burnsville, NC (828.678.9869)

Smaller work, plein air paintings, and commissioned pieces in a series called "The View from our Home" are available. All images are also available as artist-enhanced giclee prints. A description of the giclee print process and a selection of work can be seen online at annebevan.com.

For information about paintings, giclee prints or murals, please contact the artist at 828.628.0915 or wncpainter@aol.com.

NOTE FROM THE EDITORS: Sarah York, author of Remembering Well makes reference to Anne Bevan's work in her latest book Pilgrim Heart, the Inner Journey Home: "(Anne Bevan) . . . . paints from nature on very large canvasses. Her paintings, however, are not landscapes. You do not view them; you are in them, intimately experiencing the subtle shades of an autumn leaf, the misty spray of a waterfall, the icy edge of a snow-rimmed creek or the simple statement of a bare birch twig against December sky. As large as she works, she does not give you the big picture. Or does she? Perhaps what she does not give you is distance. The big picture, it turns out, is in the center."

 

 

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