LAKE WYLIE — The local art community is coming together this weekend to show their work to the public in a free exhibit at River Hills Country Club.
The 10th annual “Visions of Art” on Saturday will showcase the works of 38 experienced and beginner artists, photographers and sculptors from Lake Wylie and surrounding areas.
“It’s a nice way to present their art and show off all the creative people we have in the area,” said Deitrah Smith, an oil painter, who has organized the last seven events held every other year. “Some sell their work, so that’s big for them to come.”
For some artists, it’s also a chance to connect with their neighbors in the art community.
Meet three local artists who will be at the exhibit:
Leonard - photographer
“I did it two years ago when I first moved here [from California], because I wanted to be part of the art community,” said photographer Katherine Leonard of Lake Wylie, who opened KL Creative in 2012. “It’s a lot of fun and a great way to support each other in artistic endeavors.”
She said she was inspired by the other artist’s works. And, being able to give feedback and “show support directly because they’re there” is what has returning for this year’s show.
Leonard, who has been snapping her own photos since her father bought her first camera in 1979 while living in Brazil, will showcase three photos mounted on gallery-wrapped canvas.
After volunteering at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, she realized her favorite subject.
“I didn’t even realize how much I like to take photos of botanicals,” she said. “My whole thing is do everything in camera and to become a disciplined photographer.
“I really don’t want to miss the moment,” she said, “The beauty in the moment, I want to capture it and play with it and share it.”
Leonard, who maintains connections to San Francisco and New York City, was formerly an agent for commercial and art photographers who set up shoots around the world. Now, taking inspiration from photographers like Peter Beard and Henri Cartier-Bresson, she’s promoting her own photographs.
“I’m so used to being behind the scenes, it’s kind of a new thing to consider myself a photographer,” Leonard said. “Since I moved to Lake Wylie, I’ve been the most inspired ever by the nature, the beauty.”
Her work is displayed at Bagel Boat in Lake Wylie and soon at EarthFare in Rock Hill.
She’s also sharing her photography knowledge.
“Teaching is primary,” she said, having been offering classes to adults and children since 2005. In fact, photos by students from her summer camp sessions are on display through early October in the conference room at Bagel Boat.
Leonard also combined her masters in psychology with photography by offering therapy sessions in California, saying “it helps kids to build self-esteem and community through pictures.” She’s pursuing offering a similar program here.
“It’s a really great escape,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be able to play with pictures every day.”
Baxter - painter
Todd Baxter of Tega Cay has been painting for a little more than three years. He heard about the “Visions” exhibit from friends and already has exhibited work at the club a couple of months ago.
“I’ve done illustrations and little bit of painting in high school and college, but didn’t do [any painting] for 35 years or so,” Baxter said. “And once I started, I can’t stop.” now.
He said he’s transitioning from his advertising career, to oil painting.
“If I don’t have design work, then I’m painting at least five days a week,” he said.
He focuses on seascapes and landscapes, as well as portraits. He said he has several paintings of Lake Wylie and Edisto. Mostly self-taught, he said he did study under a Charlotte artist.
“For the first year and half, I just wanted to learn to paint,” he said. “I have been selling some now.”
His paintings, some award winning, can be seen in the Philip T. Glennon Community Center and First Citizens Bank, both in Tega Cay.
He also has works at Providence Gallery in Charlotte and is looking to add two more galleries, one on the South Carolina coast and another in the North Carolina mountains.
“My business plan is to do this full time,” Baxter said. “I’m really enjoying it. I really can sit and do it all day.”
See his works and more about Baxter online at baxterfineart.com.
Pietersen - photographer
Alex Pietersen moved to Lake Wylie from New Jersey two weeks ago to be closer to his daughter following wife Patricia’s retirement. A native of Holland, he’s been showing his photography in art shows since 1978 throughout the U.S.
Pietersen worked in advertising in New York before retiring and even worked as a handyman.
“I like to do a lot of different things,” he said.
But Pietersen, a black-and-white photographer inspired by Ansel Adams, also developed a unique technique 35 years ago.
“It’s a photograph of my own drawing and I use my technique to change it to a moving color image,” he said.
His images were used on sets of “Robocop” and “Robocop 2.” He also was invited by The Smithsonian Institution to be part of “The Colors of Invention” in 1997.
While he’s glad for the digital age and no longer needing to develop photos with chemicals, there are some changes he won’t make.
“I always work on a tripod,” he said. “It’s always better and makes you pay attention to what you’re doing.
“You have to see it, but you have to be quick a lot of the times,” he said of capturing images like the steam locomotive photo that will be displayed Saturday.
In a world of color, black and white remains his emphasis.
“I love the feeling; it’s more thought provoking,” he said. “People really look more at my work and react to the feeling that they get.”
On Saturday, his wife will stand in for him at River Hills as he shows other works at Festival in the Park at Freedom Park in Charlotte that day. He’ll also be at Art on Main on Oct. 5 in Fort Mill, and has been invited to showcase work January and February at Johnson & Johnson Gallery in New Jersey.
To see his work and for more information, visit alexpietersen.com.
The “Visions of Art” show, free to the public, will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21. Call 704-617-9180 for more information.