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November 2019 Rapid River Magazine

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  • November

Asheville’s Longest

Asheville’s Longest Established Fine Art Gallery with 31 Regional Artists Asheville Gallery of Art 's November Artist Asheville Gallery of Art’s November show, “Reflection and Interpretation,” features the work of Michael Robinson with landscape paintings and drawings. “French Broad Hominy” “Reflection and Interpretation” features work by Michael Robinson BY STAFF REPORTS • DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE “Beyond the pure tactile and creative pleasure of putting the oil paint on canvas, I try to find ways to convey the unique sensory experience of being in a special place,” Michael says. “In the mountains, these experiences can encompass crossing high shadowed peaks and grassy balds or walk along bouldered streams with swirling eddies. In the Low Country, it may be the color of the ocean under passing clouds, a tideline at sunrise, or a rippled tidal creek under a full moon. For me, the challenge of landscape painting is not to record every detail, but to look into the human experience of the moment and bring it to life.” Michael’s drawings from his sketchbooks include scenes of China, Morocco, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. “Over the years, traveling with others, I’ve learned to artfully linger behind and steal what’s important with just a few strokes “Over the years, traveling with others, I’ve learned to artfully linger behind and steal what’s important with just a few strokes of the pen.” — Michael Robinson “Black Balsam Ridge” 14 |RAPIDRIVERMAGAZINE.COM | RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE | VOL. 23, NO. 3 NOVEMBER 2019 “Foot log” of the pen.” Michael grew up in Mitchell County, NC, sketched and painted from an early age, and was selected to study art at the NC Governor’s School. In college, he set aside art for architecture at NC State University School of Design, where, after graduation, he was drafted into the army, which sidelined his architectural career. Returning home, he studied photography and printmaking at the Penland School of Craft before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree at UNC Greensboro. Michael practiced architecture for more than 30 years, frequently calling on his drawing and design skills. IF YOU GO Asheville Gallery of Art For further information about this show, contact Asheville Gallery of Art at (828) 251-5796, visit the gallery website at www., or go to the gallery Facebook page. The show runs November 1-30 during gallery hours, 11-6 pm Monday-Saturday and 11-4 pm Sunday. A reception for the artist will be held November 1, 5-8 p.m. at the gallery, 82 Patton Avenue.

November's Cover Artist— Angela Alexander Angela Alexander is an Asheville-based artist specializing in pet portraits. “Curious,” by Angela Alexander Personality depicted in art — interview with Angela Alexander BY STAFF REPORTS • RIVER ARTS DISTRICT, ASHEVILLE Alexander starts with a black canvas and then layers loose brushstrokes in vibrant colors to reveal the dog, cat or farm animal she’s painting. The bold colors that characterize her work represent her subject’s energy and personality. Rapid River Magazine: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your journey with art? Angela Alexander: I have always been creative, but I didn’t start my career as an artist until later in life. I was laid off from my job as a graphic designer, and I wasn’t sure what my next step should be. Then one day, I injured myself falling down the stairs. While I was recovering, the only position that didn’t hurt was lying down. To keep me busy, I started painting whimsical pictures of my Chihuahua, Sadie. Some friends saw my work and encouraged me to begin selling my paintings. I didn’t expect much at first, but slowly things started to take-off. Fostering community has been an essential piece to my success. I would spend whole days at the Woolworth Walk Gallery, talking to people interested in my “Hurry Up,” by Angela Alexander work and sharing my process with them. I love partnering with local animal shelters and working with restaurants and hotels to display my work. I am an Asheville artist. This community has been very supportive, and I love finding ways to give back. As a result, my art has reached many more people. RRM: What initially sparked your interest in animals—and, specifically, dogs? AA: In general, dogs represent the purest form of unconditional love for me. And my dog, Sadie, who first inspired my work, was particularly special. She was very playful, and even in old age, she seemed so youthful. Her favorite activity was chasing seagulls down the beach in Sunset Beach, NC. She had unique markings around her eyes that made it appear as if she was wearing a mask. This is why all of my early subjects appear to be wearing masks or glasses. When she passed away, I slowly transitioned out of that, but her energy and spirit continue to inspire my work. RRM: From a technical standpoint, how do you go about crafting your paintings? “You Make Me Smile,” by Angela Alexander AA: This process has changed a lot for me over the years. My initial paintings were a bit more whimsical. There were lots of clean lines. To make the colors really pop, I would outline each element in a thin black stroke. This process required a very steady hand and a tiny brush. But over time, I began noticing a pain in my elbow and wrist that made it very challenging for me to use small brushes. My hand would go numb, and I could only paint for very short periods. I eventually discovered I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. One night out of frustration, I grabbed a larger brush and began to paint, and I loved what I created. This was a jumping-off point for me. Out of necessity, I continued to experiment with larger brushes and looser strokes until I developed the style you see now. Today, I build up from a black canvas. The colors I use, represent the energy of the pet that I’m painting, and the black canvas allows me to alter colors as the painting develops. RRM: Where do you draw your inspiration ‘Cover’ continued on page 23 VOL. 23, NO. 3 — NOVEMBER 2019 | RAPIDRIVERMAGAZINE.COM | RAPID RIVER’S ARTS & CULTURE | 15