Caution: Wet Paint & Whimsy

Four Spartanburg Artists Come Together Again, 10 Years After First Exhibit

For the second time in 10 years, four Upstate South Carolina artists, who are personal friends, will have a group exhibit. This time, Monta Anthony, George “Buck” Brandt III, Ann Crenshaw, and Karen White have contributed to “Caution: Wet Paint & Whimsy” to be shown at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg, Sept. 4-30.

The diverse works will open for free public viewing Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The public reception will be Thursday, Sept. 20, 5-9 p.m. Each artist is contributing 10 paintings to the exhibit.

“This will be one of our more eclectic exhibits,” Curator Dwight Rose said. “Other than these people being respected artists who paint mostly in oil and who are good friends, I don’t really know their common bond. I do know from seeing their work, this exhibit will be interesting. It is sort of like having four mini-exhibits come together. They are calling it ‘Caution! Wet Paint & Whimsy.’ Originally, I had reached out to just one of them, but on that artist’s suggestion that it be a group exhibit, I said, ‘Sure. Let’s see what you’ve got.’ They’ve got some really great art individually, as well as a group.”

All of the canvas paintings were done in oil. Generally, Anthony’s work is considered to be colorful and impressionistic, and some of her favorite subjects are landscapes, animals, and cars. Brandt’s work often has highly defined and dense colorful images with overlapping graphic elements giving the painting a modernist appeal. Crenshaw often paints landscapes and people doing routine tasks. Her paintings have a soft impressionistic quality with shadows giving depth to the composition. And White’s paintings have a dream-like quality used to depict horses, dogs, and other artists.

“Four good friends did an art show 10 years ago at the Bijou and are back and still painting,” Anthony said. “We decided it was time to do another one. Plus, we have so much fun together. I hope that it will make people smile and enjoy the journey the four of us have had as artists.”

Anthony grew up in a small town outside of Richmond, VA before moving to South Carolina as a college student. Although trained as a classical musician, she always felt more passionate about visual art than music. To feed her artistic urges over the years, she studied art and pottery whenever possible while raising her four children. As her children approached college, Anthony began painting seriously. Having worked in watercolors, sculpture, and large scale murals, she found her love in oils, and has since accomplished many commissioned works. From Harley Davidsons and Airstreams to landscapes and portraits, Anthony’s paintings encapsulate both traditional and whimsical images of the South. Today Anthony’s paintings hang in private collections across the U.S. and Europe. She is a member of the Woman Painters of the Southeast, Oil Painters of America and the Spartanburg Artist Guild. Since 1980, she and her husband have lived in an old hunting lodge on a lake in Pauline. Her website is MontaAnthony.com.

“I hope people will see what we love painting,” Anthony said. “I am always chasing the light and can often be seen running down our hill with my camera in my pink bathrobe early in the morning. That drama and color fascinate me, and I never seem to run out of things I want to paint. I want to evoke feelings of color and light in my work and capture the people, place and things with a recognizable style and voice. I love the quote from Joaquin Sorolla: ‘Light is the life of everything it touches.’”

Although Anthony is not a member of the Co-op, she said, “but I enjoy going there. We are so fortunate to be exhibiting there. I think it’s a fabulous concept, and Spartanburg is very lucky to have such a great venue. It is so very wonderful for our artist community and the public. It’s a great way to tie in the East side with the West.”

Her work will be for sale at the Co-op, ranging in price from $300 to $2,400. “I hope we can catch the imagination of everyone who comes through the door and that they will leave with smiles and maybe a painting they love,” Anthony said.

Crenshaw said people can expect see “bright and varied paintings” as her contribution to the exhibit. Her paintings will be both characteristic of and a departure from what she has done in the past. “I hope they see how supportive Spartanburg is to its artists.

“I am looking forward to exhibiting at WMAC,” she continued. “I am so pleased that Spartanburg has a welcoming place for art to grow. It is so nice to know artists who show there, and I am always learning of new artists and artists of various mediums who display their talents for our community. To quote Kelly Kane, Editor-in-Chief of Plein Air magazine, ‘How you connect to the communities you paint in can be extraordinarily beneficial to them and to you. We’re all in this together.’”

Crenshaw has said she paints because it is enjoyable trying to solve visual puzzles. “How do you take what you see and put it on a flat surface and then take the flat surface and make it look like you can reach into it?” she said. She does not have any specialized focus on landscapes, still life, or figurative work. There is so much out there that she can’t settle down. The main thing that painting has taught her is to look at something and then look at it again! “This is a wonderful world,” she said. “I love to look more closely at it!” Her work is sampled online at TheArtistIndex.com/AnnCrenshaw.

White is a self-taught artist who uses oil to paint narratives. “I have always loved a good story,” she said. “Each work becomes a jump-off into a storyland, some imagined place or moment in time, a whimsical glimpse. Dogs and horses are a big part of my life and often find their way into my work, usually in a happy way.” A native of Spartanburg, White now lives in Landrum. She received a liberal arts education from Converse College, where she developed her love of art that was originally inspired by her mother, who painted portraits and encouraged her to be creative through music, dance, cinema, literature, and, of course, visual art. Marriage and the rearing of six daughters put White’s paintings on hold until about 17 years ago when she returned to serious painting. “Once again, I felt the delighted pleasure of a child just drawing pictures and exploring light and color, subject and technique,” she said. Her website is KarenMooreWhiteArt.com.

Brandt describes himself as a “lawyer by day; a painter on the weekend.” At 69 years old, he started painting at 40. “It is never too late to begin painting,” he added. He is a self-taught artist, who was inspired by Henri Matisse and his uncle Warren Brandt.

Brandt is a 1971 graduate of Wofford College and a 1975 graduate of University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a partner in the Spartanburg-based firm Henderson, Brandt & Vieth, P.A. With more than 43 years of experience, his practice areas are personal injury, wrongful death, workers’ compensation, civil litigation, real estate, divorce and custody.

He is a member of Episcopal Church of the Advent. And, he is a former board member of the Spartanburg County Museum of Art and the current Chairman of the Advisory Board for WMAC.

“This is a true artistic pleasure venue,” Brandt said about exhibiting at West Main Artists Co-op. He hopes that patrons will come see his and his friends’ work -- “that we are still painting, 10 years after our first show.”

For more information about “Caution: Wet Paint & Whimsy” and West Main Artists Co-op, please visit online: WestMainArtists.org.