Local artist Kim Abernathy demonstrates plein air painting on the back deck of the American Legion Building overlooking Broyhill Lake on June 9, as part of the Blowing Rock Women’s Show. The event was produced by Martin House Gallery and benefited the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge.
A violin and cello duet provided entertainment during the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
Not surprisingly, mountain landscapes were a familiar theme among some of the artists represented at the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
This dramatic image by Rachel Callerman was on display at the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
Rachel Callerhan

Local artist Kim Abernathy demonstrates plein air painting on the back deck of the American Legion Building overlooking Broyhill Lake on June 9, as part of the Blowing Rock Women’s Show. The event was produced by Martin House Gallery and benefited the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge.
BLOWING ROCK — Amid music by a classical string duet and plenty of finger food, 14 accomplished artists exhibited their art as part of the 4th Annual Blowing Rock Women’s Show, hosted by the Martin House Gallery in Blowing Rock’s American Legion Building on June 9.
A trip around the room raised many an eyebrow because of the range of styles and outstanding pieces of art on display. Martin House Gallery art director Mike Gaydon assembled an eclectic mix of work representing a female artists from all over the U.S, with some international influences.
“It is an honor to showcase these fabulous artists,” said Martin House Gallery art director, Mike Gaydon. “This year’s collection is terrific and the response today is marked with a lot of enthusiasm for what these women have accomplished in their respective careers.”
Proceeds from the event benefited the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge. The artists and their bios:
Born and raised in Louisiana, Colorado-based artist Amy Dixon studied studio art and painting at the Newcomb College of Tulane University. She completed postgraduate studies at Studio Art Center International in Florence, Italy. In addition, she has taken masters classes with Kim English in Denver, as well as participated in workshops by Wolf Kahn in New York. Her work was twice featured on the front cover of The Aspen Times, and the February/March 2014 edition of Traditional Home. Dixon authored two books published by Pelican Publishing Co, “The Cajun Night After Christmas,” and “Whose Tripping Under My Bridge?”
Dixon approaches painting much as she does her life: intuitively with free expression.”Anything is possible if the art spirit is right.”
Direct observation of everyday life and a keen sense of what will work on canvas fuels her passion for exploring fresh subjects as well as revisiting old favorites. The work is about color, immediacy and an intuitive response to the world around her.
Inspiration is drawn from paying attention to the moment and recognizing ideas that connect with the soul…color, form, mood, light, music, conversation, dreams. Dixon’s personal journey challenges her to investigate peace, harmony, chaos, fears, stress and laughter of the day… to reveal and paint in response to this LIFE and all its complexities. Going back to her Louisiana roots and the familiar “laissez le bon temps roule”…that is, “let the good times roll” on the canvas! …and she does.
Extensive travels contribute to her never ending courage to explore new ideas and concepts.
A violin and cello duet provided entertainment during the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
In 1983, the North Carolina State School of Design’s Dean Claude McKinney told her, “You are already doing work that many of our students will not even be able to do when they graduate. You just need to get a job. If you want to get a degree, get it in something else.”
So she did. In 1988, Catherine graduated from NC State University with her two daughters and a BA in English. For 30 years, Catherine worked as a marketing, public relations, technical and medical writer and designer in the software, pharmaceutical, and education industries. She used her psychology education, training, and experience to analyze, design, write, and edit documentation, processes, procedures, and standards.
Now, after a life-long search for a sense of place, Catherine has settled in Clayton, North Carolina, where she gardens, walks, and paints.
Sharing the comfort she receives from the natural beauty in the world, as well as the joy she feels when interacting with her paintings has been her life’s goal.
If there are two things Catherine Twomey wants to evoke in her art, it is a deep, emotional response to the natural world and a compulsion to try to protect a world increasingly in need of protection.
Early on, Twomey experienced joy while interacting with and examining nature. Her curiosity and innate ability to communicate visually led her to become a practicing medical illustrator, garnering many industry awards over the years as she illustrated for medicine, health and education.
Gradually, however, Twomey responded to an intrinsic calling to create her own personal art — in her own style. Encouraged by early successes such as winning national competitions, (ArtInPlace, Higbee 6X6” Squared, Bank of the Arts) and being awarded one-person shows and exhibitions, Twomey moved into the realm of fine art. She continues to expand her successes via competitions, acquisitions into collections, press coverage and international recognition.
Twomey is best known for her unique ability to experience, and then interpret, the extraordinary influence of the natural world. Twomey’s paintings reflect a deep sensitivity heightened by an urgent sense that the world is under siege. Twomey revels in using oil and acrylics in a liquid state, intermixing hues in a highly planned orchestration of paint layers. The finished works celebrate the unmatched detail and beauty of places Twomey has initially painted en plein air. Her intimate, on-site absorption of a place and time is reimagined into complex abstractions designed to focus on the overwhelming need to protect the sacred places of nature. Twomey’s latest body of work, Universe Series, is a visual declaration of intent to prompt people to positively respond and engage in their natural world, politically, physically and emotionally.
Catherine’s work can be found in corporate collections, including those of Sanofi Winthrop, General Electric, Abbott Labs, Pfizer, Wine & Country, NBC, Mission Hospital and many others. Recent museum shows include the i.d.e.a. Museum in Arizona and the Lloyd Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her works are found in private collections internationally.
Cristy Dunn’s paintings and murals tell the stories of Makers and of the power of the Arts to uplift the human spirit. She creates traditional oil portraits, using the timeless techniques of the Old Masters. She often incorporates silver leaf, which adds an ethereal element. Glazes create light-filled surfaces. When someone sees her work she wants them to feel a connection to the sacredness within us all.
The strongest influences on her work have always been close to home. These influences include sounds and imagery from the old time music that permeated her childhood and the woods and forests that still surround her home. Her grandfather was a fiddler, and his music held the power to transform the greatest of life’s hardships.
“Somehow, through his music, he taught me the same.”
She began to paint at a very young age. She remembers being swept away by the process of creating when the adversity of life became nearly unbearable.
Her current body of work features Makers, their tools, and their processes. Birds and butterflies often find their way into her paintings. These winged creatures symbolize the metaphorical flight we embark upon as artists, as we are swept away from the cares of life and into a state of Creative Flow.
In addition to works in oil and silver leaf on panel, she created a series of murals to honor and preserve the heritage of old time music and arts in her community. These murals, installed throughout downtown Mountain City, depict legends of old time music from Johnson County, including GB Grayson, who first recorded the Ballad of Tom Dooley and Clarence Tom Ashley. The murals sparked a revival of interest in the history and music of Johnson County and inspired Long Journey Home, a musical heritage festival. The murals tell her community’s collective story and celebrate a rich heritage that was nearly forgotten.
As an American abstract artist living and working in San Diego County, Lewis’ work emulates her international heritage and love of modern design with natural influences.
Born in Los Angeles, she grew up bilingual with European cultural influences. She is no stranger to the fine arts and architecture, drawing from her ancestral heritage of artists, musicians, draftsmen, and engineers. She began oil painting at the tender age of 11 and sold her first commissioned work at age 14.
After graduating in 1979 with a B.A. in art and interior architectural design at California State University-Northridge, she sought to broaden her horizons and left for Europe. Intending to stay only one year, she returned to the United States almost 20 years later, having raised a daughter, and a successful career in high-end modern interior design, while exhibiting her art in Augsburg, Germany.
Once back in the US, Lewis began her own design business, pioneering high-end European kitchen design and the import of prominent European brand name furnishings into the San Diego/La Jolla area.
The art of Lewis embraces the ever increasingly rare use of the classical medium of oils in abstract work. Lewis revels in the challenge of incorporating classical with modern, as she identifies strongly both with modern art and architecture, and the classics.
Stark linearity seems to dissolve into abstraction, yet with detail in the obscure. Her work can be described as earthy, textural, and emotive, reminding of natural occurrences. There is freedom to her work, but an underlying structure prevents chaos, pulling the pieces together. Her paintings seem to call out a visual experience of long yearned-for memories or emotions of the viewer.
Lewis has also been exploring the ever-increasing popular world of ballet dance, auto-racing themes, beach details, and other “abstract figuratives”. One of her former projects involves an exploratory first-time collaboration with the San Diego Ballet, a fresh endeavor of the “arts supporting the arts”. Her latest project captures the enigmatic world of Formula One auto racing.
Cynthia Dru Caruso-Posani’s paintings embrace the wonder of the female form, surpassing simple physicality. Both spirit and emotion are captured, highlighting the gentle energy and refined strength found in the movement and poses of the nude body. She paints the model with an airy lightness, delicately using the watercolors, creating a beautiful reality only an artist devoted to beauty can envision.
The Director of the Art League of Manatee County, Maureen Zaremba says, “Her paintings are very classic, very beautiful, very ethereal. You’d want her to paint you.”
As Cynthia paints, perhaps she whispers to the heart and soul of the model, the divine reality of being loved entirely and the finished painting overflows with exquisite beauty and peaceful serenity, inviting us to just keep admiring.
Cynthia adored teaching art to children, empowering them with exploration, curiosity, kindness, and love. She wanted every child to have a personal connection with the arts through her Art Outreach Program (partnered with the Art League of Manatee County) and her Children’s Art Festival.
Cynthia Dru Caruso-Posani’s life was focused on family, art, and her community. She and her husband were the owners of the Gallery on Main Street in Bradenton, Florida. Cynthia almost single-handedly started the revival of the restoration of downtown Bradenton’s Cultural Center. She had such hopes that she and the rest of her generation could lay the foundations of what would someday be a performing arts center to enhance the lives of all people, especially the children.
Oregon artist Katrina Lubbecke’s paintings express a love of wildlife, wilderness landscapes, and historic architecture. Lubbecke’s paintings are executed with a blend of classical realism and impressionism, using a limited palette and employing tonalist and luminist techniques. Her paintings seek to preserve moments in time and enhance the interaction between the viewer and the landscape.
This dramatic image by Rachel Callerman was on display at the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
Rachel Callerhan
Lubbecke has been drawing and painting from an early age and considers herself a student of nature, having grown up in a ranching family and spending most of her life outdoors under vast Eastern Oregon skies. She is inspired by the drama and moods of the landscape and strives to depict the beauty of creation.
Having made a lifelong study of historical journals describing places and wildlife that have changed or vanished during the course of time, she feels it is important to capture the ambiance of places of solitude, the ever changing personalities of wildlife, or accurately recreate a historic scene. She studied mechanical drafting and art history in college and has a deep appreciation for the Old Masters and their techniques. Much of the realism movement influences her work with their beautifully rendered landscapes, classical draftsmanship, and use of light.
Lubbecke’s paintings have been included in many National Juried and Museum Exhibitions, including NOAPS “Best of America small works 2021”, the Bosque Classic, Favell Museum of Western Art, Art at the Draft Horse Classic, and Western States Horse Expo.
Julia Lesnichy was born in Leningrad (now known as St. Petersburg), Russia and raised in Moscow. As a child, she was a diligent student and focused all of her attention on science, foreign languages, and music. At one point, she even considered pursuing a career in music.
By the age of five, she had been introduced to the world of gouache and color mixing, and by seven, she was painting animals from photographs. Unfortunately, her parents paid little attention to her artistic endeavors. It wasn’t until she was 26 that she realized she wanted to be an artist.
While living in Russia, she developed her own technique in oil pastels and created about 200 pieces, many of which are in private galleries. In 2010, Lesnichy moved to the United States with her family and settled down in Crozet, VA.
In 2012, Lesnichy received her first award for pastels and won ten more in the following four years, including two honorable mentions in Pastel magazine’s 100 Competitions, and was a finalist in the Artist’s Magazine 33rd competition in 2016.
Lesnichy is a member of the American Impressionist Society, the Pastel Society of America, the Midatlantic Pastel Society, the Northwestern Pastel Society, and the Southeastern Pastel Society. Among her awards are a Joyce Kelly Award from Degas Pastel Society, an Honorable mention in Landscape & Interior, first place in a Virginia Pastel Society-juried show in 2014, Honorable mention in a Pastel Society of Virginia-juried show in 2015, a Bill McEnroe award, and a Signature Membership in the Northwestern Pastel Society.
Lesnichy’s studio is located in Crozet, VA, where she often finishes her plein air paintings. She has always been a patient and dedicated student of nature. She is very aware of the spirit of the place she paints and her emotional approach is reflected in her pieces.
She is very responsive to the way light reveals the beauty of landscapes. She has always admired Monet’s skills to observe the effects of nature and depict them loosely, with a thick application of colors. She is also immensely inspired by the works of Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, Henry Hensche, and California Impressionists.
Kim has known that she wanted to be an artist since she was six years old. Like many people, she did not listen to that voice until much later in life. Finally, she did stop to listen, started painting full-time, and has never looked back. “I’m the poster child for ‘it’s never too late,’” she says.
Kim and her husband, Tom, have lived in Boone for over 30 years. They met in college: she attended Appalachian State University and he attended Lees-McRae College. After marrying, they settled in Boone where they raised their two children.
During those years, Kim’s art took the form of photography and interior design. These days, she can be found painting by the scenic pathways, byways, and rivers of the High Country.
Kim has a deep love for the mountains and focuses on places untouched by development. She has always possessed a heightened awareness of and an appreciation for the beauty of the world around her. Using oil as her medium, much of her work is done outdoors or en plein air. The experience of creating art outdoors gives her a connection to the work and allows her to convey a strong sense of place and time in her paintings. She expands on this experience by using the plein air pieces as a basis to create larger works in her North Carolina studio located in Boone.
Not surprisingly, mountain landscapes were a familiar theme among some of the artists represented at the Blowing Rock Women’s Show, June 9, at the American Legion Building.
Kim is a member of Oil Painters of America, The American Impressionist Society, and North Carolina Plein Air Painters. She has participated in numerous juried group and solo shows. Kim is represented by several galleries across the Southeast and her work can be found in collections throughout the United States.
Miami Springs native Linda Apriletti has always been interested in nature and art. She spent much of her time outdoors as a child catching lizards and butterflies and says, “I was always drawing birds with pencils.” She fondly remembers family vacations in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains and hiking with her dad. It seems a natural evolution that as an adult she should meld her interests in art and nature to embark on a career as an award-winning plein air landscape painter.
Although Linda followed a traditional education through college, obtaining degrees in accounting and taxation, she didn’t forget her love of art and began making pastel drawings of landscapes and animals after graduation. Pastels eventually gave way to acrylics and then finally oils, her preferred medium today.
She painted in her spare time while working as an accountant and took painting workshops on her vacations. A workshop with Jay Moore in Rocky Mountain National Park proved pivotal in her artistic development in that it was there she discovered her passion for plein air painting. She continued studying painting outdoors on her own while supplementing that experience with workshops from such notables as Joseph McGurl, Matt Smith, and Skip Whitcomb.
Linda launched her full-time painting career in 2011 and uses her studio in Miami Springs as a base from which to focus on Florida landscapes, in particular the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp. She says painting outside is critical to helping her observe and understand patterns in nature, including seasonal differences in water level, how sky and general atmosphere change with season, and when various plants and animals appear in the landscapes she paints.
Linda is particularly devoted to palms, harboring more than 25 species in her yard and featuring them prominently in paintings. She loves to emphasize palms’ individual characteristics rather than creating “idealized” versions, especially when painting ones growing in the wild.
Although Florida is Linda’s focus, she regularly paints in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Maine and Martha’s Vineyard and is enjoying an increasing public demand for that work as well. People find peace in her paintings and often remark how they feel they can just walk into one.
Hillary Scott is an academically trained landscape painter from northeast Massachusetts. She earned her BFA from UMass-Lowell in children’s book illustration in 2002. She illustrated books for many years before making the transition to landscape painting in 2014.
Hillary has an affinity for marshes, seas, and skies, and she finds endless inspiration in the beautiful New England landscape. She has studied with contemporary artists, including Karen Blackwood and Sean Beavers, in addition to workshops with other local artists.
Since she began exhibiting her oil paintings a few years ago, she has been accepted into numerous juried shows and won several awards. Her landscape paintings are in private collections worldwide. Hillary is a member of the Oil Painters of America, a master artist member of Newburyport Art Association, and represented by the Todd Bonita Gallery in Portsmouth, N.H., and Valerie’s Gallery in Newburyport, Mass.
As a former illustrator, her technique and goals have evolved. She has long admired painters like Maxfield Parrish, who successfully created a perfect balance between realism and fantasy. Thus, the purely magical scenes she once painted have been incorporated into realist images sourced from plein air studies, photos, visits, memory, and imagination.
In her latest series of paintings, she strives to capture the fleeting moments of morning and evening light. She’s fascinated by the effect of light on landscapes and attempt to convey a sense of space, season, serenity, and nostalgia. Her compositions are designed to evoke an emotional reaction from the viewer; she considers a visceral response from her audience an important measure of success for a painting. Though she considers herself a realist, the minute details of a place are secondary to the mood and lighting they capture.
Oil painter Lindsay Hawfield Jones studied modern landscape and abstract painting at The Torpedo Factory Art Center, The Carlton Gallery, and Braitman Studios. Lindsay minored in Studio Art at Wake Forest University, with a focus on oil painting, and participated in an independent art study at Casa Artom in Venice, Italy.
Lindsay’s paintings are available for purchase through Art Salon (Charlotte, N.C.), Bee Street Gallery (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas), BOCO Art Gallery (Greenville, S.C.), Buzzoto Greene (Baltimore, Md.), Karen Saks, (Charlotte, N.C.). Martin House Gallery (Blowing Rock, N.C.), New Elements Gallery (Wilmington, N.C.), O’Brien Gallery (Greensboro, N.C.), Scouted Studio (Charleston, S.C.), Stellers Gallery (Jacksonville, Fla.), and Vision Gallery (Morehead City, N.C.). She is a member of Studio 117, a local art studio and workshop based in Charlotte.
In addition to the galleries above, Lindsay has exhibited at a variety of venues and art exhibitions including McColl Center for Art & Innovation (2017, 2018, 2019), Art With Heart (2017, 2018, 2019), Shain Gallery Emerging Artist Show (2019, 2020), Shain Small Works Show (2020) and Ann Irwin Fine Art Emerging Artist Exhibition (2019.)
Lindsay donates paintings to benefit a variety of nonprofit causes and created “Art Share,” a program that provides commissioned works of art for nonprofit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity Charlotte homeowners and Roof Above (Urban Ministry Center) housing facilities. She is a past board member and in-hospital volunteer for Arts For Life, a nonprofit organization providing children with art education in health care settings.
Lindsay welcomes commissions and the opportunity to work with clients on specific paintings for gifts, corporate and public spaces, and residences.
In 1998, Rebecca King Hawkinson left high school early to study at Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC. In the same year, American Artist and Fresco Master Benjamin Long IV completed his fresco on the Montreat College campus entitled, The Prodigal Son.
Hawkinson began to study with Long in 1999. She also began landscape painting in 1999, on a five-week trip to Long’s studio in the South of France. In December the same year, she married Paul Nathan Hawkinson.
At this time, she began showing her work in solo and group shows. In addition, she worked as a studio assistant to Long, a fresco apprentice, and as a color assistant. Then, in subsequent years, Hawkinson returned to Europe to create many more works of art.
Hawkinson taught drawing and oil painting from 2005-2012 at the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas in Asheville. Not only was she teaching, but in 2008 Hawkinson gave birth to a son, Ezra Laurin Hawkinson. She traveled with her young son and her mother to paint for the first time in Ireland. In 2010, Hawkinson gave birth to a daughter, Eden Hope. Hawkinson completed a large commission in 2011. She prepared to return to Italy for the spring. Later, she took a fall painting trip to Fiesole outside of Florence.
Hawkinson gave birth to a third child, Orin Ransom in 2012. The next year, Hawkinson began traveling in the U.S. to paint in new locations including Carmel, CA. In 2015, Hawkinson’s poem, “The Golden Days are Numbered” was published by Mothers Always Write, an online journal of poetry and essays on Motherhood. Hawkinson gave birth to twin girls, Ayla Brynne and Tessa Grace in 2015. Paul and Rebecca Hawkinson completed construction on a hand-built wooden studio and home designed by Rebecca in Black Mountain, N.C. in 2016. A Carolina Home + Garden article, “Unstill Life,” by Tom Kerr in April of 2016 featured creative artist Rebecca King Hawkinson and her art.
Hawkinson maintains a working studio practice in Black Mountain, teaching students, making new paintings, and taking portrait commissions.
Lori McNee is an American artist from the central mountains of Idaho. Her broad spectrum of artwork includes poetic studio landscapes, plein air studies, still life and wildlife oil paintings.
Inspired by nature, Lori’s paintings reflect her love of the great outdoors and its creatures. Lori is a Signature Member of Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society, the Heartland Art Club, and a member of the California Art Club. She is a certified Master Artist in Cobra Water-mixable Oil Paints and is an International Artist Ambassador for Royal Talens.
A popular art instructor, Lori conducts annual painting workshops in the United States and abroad. Lori also juggles a professional blogging, writing and public speaking career and ranks as an online influencer.
Lori is the television host of, “Art Beat with Lori McNee” with Eye on Sun Valley. Lori’s popular book, “Fine Art Tips with Lori McNee: Painting Techniques & Professional Advice” is available on Amazon and in bookstores. Her helpful how-to painting video, “Luminous Landscape Painting with Lori McNee” is available as a DVD or downloadable.
Lori has been featured in numerous publications including Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Artist’s Magazine, Southwest Art, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, American Art Collector, Western Art Collector to name a few.
When not in her studio, Lori enjoys skiing and trekking mountaintops, photographing nature, working the family farm, playing with her grandkids, and teaching painting workshops around the world.
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