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Bright and Beautiful
Paintings by Barbara Bear Jamison
and Julia Bates Toone
Friday, 9/28, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. • Free
WHQR Gallery • 254 N. Front St., 300

NEW POPPIES: New works by Julia Bates Toone shows at WHQR Gallery this week as part of the Fourth Friday Gallery Walk. Courtesy photo

The first breath of autumn has hit the coast, a clear indicator that summer has ended. Fortunately, the MC Erny Gallery at WHQR’s new exhibit, “Bright and Beautiful,” features a plethora of artworks that have captured the best of what the warm season yielded.

Located on the third floor of The Warwick Building, downtown Wilmington, the MC Erny Gallery will host the exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, September 28th, featuring vivid, flora-inspired paintings by local artists Barbara Bear Jamison and Julia Bates Toone. Guests are invited to meet the artists and the WHQR staff and on-air personalities. The festive opening will also include food and wine from Sugar on Front Street.

Two longtime friends through the Wilmington Art Association, Jamison and Toone have both incorporated their lifelong passion for capturing nature with their pain brushes. “I enjoy taking my easel on location and painting the beautiful light that reflects off of flowers, trees and buildings,” Jamison says. “The immediacy of moving light across a scene makes for quick decisions about color and shape, and is a wonderful way to capture the beauty of a location. There are so many decisions made in each painting, that each one is a practice for the next.”

Jamison will have around 35 studio and plein-air oil paintings on display, all of which represent the past 18 months of her life. Her colorful and impressionistic paintings depict subjects such as marsh landscapes, flowers, city scenes and dogs. Jamison says that each of her paintings is a captured moment that represents a full story.

“I am inspired by the colors created by lights and darks of a scene in nature, in cities and in my studio,” Jamison says. “Putting objects or flowers in glass bowls and vases and lighting them with a strong lamp creates beautiful color changes.”

A Wilmington native, Jamison first began painting at the age of 10. Her work has hung in private collections in Wilmington, Raleigh and Charlotte, NC, and the greater New York area. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, she has exhibited in many Wilmington venues, and was the featured artist of the North Carolina Azalea Festival in 2002.

Toone will showcase around 30 paintings, most of which are watercolors and were completed during spring and summer 2012. Many of her works were inspired by her recent travels to Costa Rica where she felt a connection to its architecture and indigenous flowers. Her artwork depicts the beauty of the illusive wildflowers and settings in nature with a soft, colorful touch; the intent behind each painting is to raise the importance of what it reflects.

“I have long been painting flowers,” Toone says. “When I had fresh flowers in the house, as they died I wanted to save their beauty—painting was a way of doing this.”

Toone grew up in Wayne County, NC, and studied at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, and Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC. She has been painting all her life, and in 1985 traveled to Honduras and created two murals: one in the St. Margaret church in Chachahuala and the other in the St. Stephen Diocesan Chapel in Tegucigalpa.

She came to Wilmington in 2001 where she began concentrating on watercolor florals and other natural materials. Her works have been exhibited in the Goldsboro Art Center, All Saints Conference Center in Kentucky, and in galleries in Florida, Louisville and the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Show.

“I enjoy the varieties of color, texture, and shapes that flowers and leaves offer,” Toone says. “I also have concerns about the loss of natural environment and have painted several local wildflowers as a way of showing the beauty lost when woods are cut [down] or swamps are drained”

The exhibit will remain on display until November 9th, and a portion of the proceeds from any sales made will benefit WHQR. There will be an additional reception on October 26th as part of the Fourth Friday Gallery Nights, downtown Wilmington. Regular gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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