Providence Gallery Announces New Artist: Esther Moorehead

Providence Gallery is pleased to announce our newest artist, Esther Moorehead, has a new series of cityscapes on display now. A talented fine arts painter, Esther’s vivid compositions allow the observer an opportunity to explore the deceptively simple animated engagement of people as they encounter one another in passing.

Esther Moorehead describes herself in these succinct words: “I am an obsessive creative. An explorer. A wanderer.”

Esther attributes her love of travel, curious nature, and keen, observant eye to having been born and raised in Canada and having had the opportunity to live in the UK and the US.

Inspiration from Esther’s high school art teacher, a native of the Czech Republic, led her to develop a lifelong passion for European art, culture, and history. To follow this passion, Esther began traveling extensively to see and experience different cultures and lands for herself.

Esther earned her BA in Art Education in 2005 and went on to teach high school art classes in Toronto for a decade. Following the birth of her second child, Esther decided to step away from the classroom and has been working as a studio artist since 2015.

Esther’s acrylic and watercolor paintings are sold in galleries in the US and Canada and are included in numerous private art collections.

Esther’s Moorehead’s new “Passengers” series of cityscape/figurative compositions in acrylic on canvas. On Display Now at Providence Gallery!

I am fascinated with the convergence of the mundane and the spectacular and how each is relative to human perspective. I mingle those two ideas in my work, drawing inspiration from familiar spaces and new explorations. Using my original references, I focus on constructing scenes of transience, fleeting glimpses of moments in time. ~Esther Moorehead

Providence Gallery Artist Paula Holtzclaw Honored by American Women Artists

Fine oil painter paula holtzclaw has been on a roll in the last year, repeatedly receiving well deserved recognition from leading national arts organizations.

Paula confirms she was thrilled and honored when the prestigious Oil Painters of America organization designated her a Signature Member in June of last year! 

Recently, Paula was chosen as the recipient of the American Women Artists (AWA) “Award of Excellence” in recognition of the superior quality of her oil painting, Luminescence, 35″ x 45″.

Paula Holtzclaw stands before her award winning painting, Luminescence, at the ongoing AWA show: LOOKING WEST: AN EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTING WORKS BY AMERICAN WOMEN ARTISTS.

Paula detailed the inspiration for this piece and the thought process that went in to creating it:

“My painting Luminescence was inspired from memories of a twilight canoe trip along the river while at our past American Women Artists Exhibition at the Haggin Museum in Lodi, California.  Looking west through the trees, the setting sun cast its golden glow across the water, mentally imprinting this image and moment in time; it became the subject of this painting. On the east coast, it is common to see these luminescent “lightning bugs”, or fireflies, emerge at twilight, so I decided to add this touch of home to my painting.”

– Paula Holtzclaw

The panel of jurors chosen to judge the exhibition included Christine Bullard, an avid, respected art connoisseur, John Fawcett , well renowned for his western art, and Jennifer Henneman, an Associate Curator for the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, Denver Art Museum. In excess of $25,000 in cash and merchandise awards were given to winners in various categories.

Exhibition Catalog: LOOKING WEST: AN EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTING WORKS BY AMERICAN WOMEN ARTISTS, on display now through September 2, 2019, at the Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, CO

Paula has been recognized by the AWA before, having won the organization’s “Purchase Award” for her oil painting, Delta Twilight, in their 2018 exhibition held at the Haggin Museum in Lodi, CA. Fittingly, this “Purchase Award” winning painting was purchased by F&M Bank in Lodi, California,  and it is now part of their permanent collection.

American Women Artists is a non profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, celebration and encouragement of women in the visual fine arts.  In 2017, AWA launched 25 in 25, a bold initiative to secure 25 museum exhibitions for our women artist members, in the next 25 years.  The impetus for launching this effort was the knowledge that work created by women artists comprises only 3-5% of the permanent holdings of art museums in America and worldwide.

To find out more about AWA’s 25 in 25 initiative, check out this informative video: WATCHAWAVIDEO

Providence Gallery artists Anne Harkness and Ann Watcher are also AWA members and have received recognition for their superior abilities as fine art painters as well. All three women are looking forward to collaborating on a group exhibition to be held some time this fall!

Providence Gallery will be making an announcement in the near future so stayed tuned!

Framing Tips from Providence Gallery Manager, Rod Wimer

I recently asked renowned artist and Providence Gallery manager, Rod Wimer, to share his framing advice for artists based on his years of experience and customers’ most frequent requests:

Q. What is the number 1 rule you would advise artists to follow when framing their artwork?

A. The best framing advice I can give to any artist having a show is that, if their work is going to be framed, I highly recommend that all frames used should be the same throughout the show. In other words, the same molding should be used on each piece of art being showcased. One of the highest compliments we receive here at the gallery is for artists who choose to frame their work with the same frame throughout the show. Not only should the artwork be consistent, but using the same frame on each piece lends to a very cohesive and beautiful show! Customers love it!

Q. How many years of experience do you have in framing and installation? (I know combined you and Debbie have something like 70-75 years.)

A. I have been a professional picture framer and artist since 1980. I have worked in six different frame shops throughout the years.

Q. In your experience, what types of frames are clients most often drawn to?

A. In my experience here in Charlotte, gold seems to be the most popular frame choice for the majority of our custom framing clients. After that, warm silver – sometimes referred to as champagne, and then black seem to be the second and third most popular frame finishes. When custom framing a piece of artwork, consideration should always be given to what type of frame looks best on the art. 

Q. Conversely, what types of framing turns clients off and gets the most negative feedback?

A. Frame choices that do not accentuate the art properly are always a big turn off for custom framing clients! A lot of our custom framing work comes from clients who have old pieces of artwork inherited from various family members. The framing is often out of date or was originally a poor choice when the piece was framed in the past. Updating your custom framing can often make your art look completely different and brand new! Many clients are often amazed at how a simple update can change the look of everything!

Q. Any other recommendations?

A. Proper custom framing is very important, especially for paper bourn pieces of art. Paper art should always be framed with acid-free mats and UV protective glass. Art on paper tends to fade very easily if not glazed properly! Likewise the backing should be acid free from core. This protects the art and keeps it from developing small brown spots called ‘foxing’. Foxing is caused when backing and matting is not acid-free. Acid will leach into the artwork over time and cause foxing, which basically ruins the artwork and can only be cleaned by a professional paper conservationist.

The staff here at Providence Gallery and Frames has the requisite experience to help any client with any custom framing needs. We also pick up and deliver and hang art professionally for our customers.

Providence Gallery Welcomes Lisa Bartell

Lisa Bartell compares her painting process to a favorite childhood past time, “staring at wood grain and discovering odd faces and figures.” This early spark of creativity has been nurtured through adulthood and now as an established painter, Bartell creates vivid abstract figuratives depicting the female form.

These figures are often whimsically elongated and distorted, or juxtaposed with animals whose characteristics represent a search for increased self-awareness. A common thread running throughout Bartell’s compositions are the recurring themes of searching for a heightened self-awareness and a continued quest for understanding of the concept that is self-identity.

Bartell starts each of her oil paintings with a dark hue applied to the canvas and brushed in various directions; the beginnings of nebulous forms begin to emerge, much like the shapes that emerged from the patterns of wood grain and fascinated the artist as a child.

Next, the artist studies her canvas for the elements of line, shape and form, focusing on the relationship between these elements, background figures and the connection of all these things to the primary character. Through innovative use of vivid color, thoughtful brushstrokes and texture applied using toothpicks, brush handles and through the manipulation of oil paints to achieve a range of consistencies, Bartell successfully creates her distinctive “organic and abstract compositions.”

My goal as an artist is to create a colorful cast of characters in a performance of their own self-discovery. ~ Lisa Bartell

See Lisa’s complete gallery of available works here.

New Exhibit: Beacons by Annie Leist

Painter Annie Leist gathers her inspiration from the spaces and people that surround her in New York City, where she lives and creates her abstract compositions. Although legally blind, Leist draws inspiration from “the crosswalks, sidewalks, intersections, scaffolding—all [of the] manifestations of the physical, social, and psychological architectures of urban space” that surround her.

The artist explains that her fascination with these figures and spaces derives from the fact that it is these two elements: people and the places they inhabit—that “form a framework around, within, and through which city life and city people flow.” Through her modern abstract compositions, Leist explores “the unwritten rules of public space that maintain, sometimes miraculously, the precarious order of the metropolis and its inhabitants.”

Exhibit on Display Thru November 20th

Revolving Door II 20 x 24 $950Revolving Door II, 20″ x 24″ oil on canvas, $950.00

Beacons Red Hand #13 37 X 48 $2650

Beacons Red Hand #XIII, 37″ x 48″ oil on canvas, $2,650

Travis Bruce Black’s “Notation”

Travis Bruce Black’s new solo exhibition, “Notation” features new interpretations of his popular “Chirps” series of bird figuratives inspired in part by stained glass windows, as well as a menagerie of other woodland creatures, captured in a variety of media, including watercolor on paper, watercolor, gouache, and acrylic on wood.

Black has introduced an innovative style of silk screen and acrylic painting in a new edition of works he explains “are based on the approach of “black figure” pottery from ancient Greece.” Just as the Grecian’s converted  imagery into naturalistic black subject matter and then outlined those figures with colored lines, Black has applied this concept to paintings such as “Gusher” (shown above), and “Chance Glance”.

I make them by painting the panel silk screen a little, hand paint some more, then [finalize] it with the black silk screen layer. ~ Travis Bruce Black

02 chance glance ue 6of8

Chance Glance, 18″ x 18″ acrylic on wood, $600

One on One with Robert Brown: His One Man Show Opens Friday, Feb. 10th 6-9 PM

Gallery artist Robert Brown is a native Charlottean and a devout plein air painter. I presented Bob with a series of questions focused on his choice of painting technique and subject matter. An experienced painter who has been perfecting his art form for decades, Bob offered numerous insights into the process and the inspiration behind his work. His thoughts on the challenges and rewards of painting en plein air and his evaluation of the success of the paintings chosen for this exhibition were particularly revealing.


Clyde’s Barn, 12″ x 24″ oil on canvas, Robert Brown

Q: What draws you to painting en plein air and how does this influence your choice of and your approach to your subject?

A: I have been interested in plein air, or location, painting, since I was first introduced to it about 15 years ago. It just clicked with me, maybe because it was so difficult, and I felt like it was a manner of painting I could spend the rest of my life with. My subject matter is nearly anywhere I can comfortably set up outside that has a view or set of problems that engages me and, I hope, others who view the finished pieces. RB

Q: How do you continually find ways of envisioning new images of the places you paint, even though (or perhaps because), these are the places you know best.

A: Any subject can be painted in a variety of different ways – up close, far away, at different angles, and in a variety of light and seasonal conditions. There’s never a lack of subject, because everything changes. RB

Q: When you paint a landscape or part of the city that is easily recognizable, do you attempt to bring the composition forward in a particular way for the viewer in hopes that through your art a newcomer to the area unaware of the setting will realize all the city has to offer? Conversely, are you thinking of new ways for native Charlotteans to “stop” and realize the variety of sights and scenes that so many easily take for granted?

A: I’m most interested in making a good painting under [the] pressure of changing light. I do go for representation, but I also edit the scene sometimes, if I feel that it will make a stronger painting. I like it when people viewing the paintings are delighted by knowing where it is, but I like it even more if they like the painting for the painting. Things are changing very fast in the Charlotte area. Fifty years from now it’s reasonable to expect that a lot of scenes I’m painting, especially the pastoral scenes, will change, as farmland turns into neighborhoods, but the paintings will remain the same. RB

Q: Any information you want to share about your process?

A: As uncomplicated as I can make it, I usually paint directly on the support, and the preparatory drawing I do on the support is sketchy, and made with a transparent paint, like red oxide. I use about twelve colors on the palette, so I do a lot of mixing. There’s only a small window of opportunity, usually about two hours, before the light changes too much to keep with the original idea, and when that happens, I just clean up and come back at the same time another day, if I need to finish. RB

Q: Lastly, any statement you would like to share about this collection of paintings.

A: I’m happy with this body of work. I especially like working in the larger format, which might not seem that large to people used to paintings made in a studio. But, 12 x 24 inches is a lot of real estate to cover when you’re painting on location, and it’s been a challenge. I think they came out pretty well. RB

Meet Bob and see the entire show at the Opening Reception with the Artist on Friday, February 10th, 6 – 9 PM.


Providence Gallery

 by: Melinda B. Willms