Lowcountry Watercolors at the Beaufort Art AssociationHuman beings are masters of time. We lose it, gain it, spend it, save it, waste it, and even share it with others. Like many people with countless demands on their precious hours, artists often feel there are never enough minutes in a day. But Audrey Montgomery made a commitment to spend more time following her creative desires. The result is “A Time to Paint,” her first solo show of watercolors at the Beaufort Art Association Gallery. The public is invited to a free opening reception for the artist on Friday, October 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Painting always fascinated Audrey, and she was encouraged to explore her talent when she was a young girl by her grandmother, a painter. “I remember one of my favorite memories growing up was the smell of turpentine and lavender oil at Grandmother’s house.” But as an adult, art became less of a priority. As Audrey admits, “There were always other things I chose to do first.” Her artistic inclination led her first to a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from the University of Georgia, then a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn. Afterwards, raising three sons and working with her husband at their architecture firm in Beaufort took almost every available moment. Though she continued to draw and paint through the years, she didn’t find an opportunity to nurture her creative side until two and a half years ago when she started taking drop-in classes at Coastal Art Supply.
Through these classes, Audrey developed an appreciation for the medium of watercolor. Not only did the classes introduce her to what she calls her “true passion,” but they also served as a springboard for a never-ending artistic education. She’s constantly reading up on techniques and other artists, using the SC Lends program to borrow library books from all over South Carolina.
Though she gains knowledge from sources all over the state, her paintings are distinctly Lowcountry creations. The subject matter often appears timeless, as she captures local scenes that could have taken place yesterday or twenty years ago – sailboats skimming along the water, crates stacked in an open air market, boats lined up perfecting in a marina. Her eye for architectural detail is particularly apparent in one mesmerizing piece that depicts the Woods Memorial Bridge, viewed from beneath. “I just really enjoy painting close-up details, focused in on individual things,” she says. That becomes apparent when one sees each cable of the bridge carefully depicted in her watercolors.
While Audrey is excited about her show, she’s confident that she already has the approval of her most important critics – her sons. When her youngest son could only pack one photograph for his room at the Citadel, he chose one of her prints. Her eldest often offers suggestions. “He’s just great at critiquing. He’d say, ‘Try sharpening this,’ or ‘You need to leave this alone.’”
Buoyed by the support of her family, and surrounded by relaxed settings that naturally appeal to her, Audrey truly considers it a blessing that she found a time to paint, and is ready for her chance to share it with the citizens of the Lowcountry.
“A Time to Paint,” a collection of watercolors by Audrey Montgomery, will be featured at the Beaufort Art Association Gallery at 913 Bay Street from October 2 to November 12, with an opening reception for the public on Friday, October 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.