Artist's love of color evident in paintings

Moultrie-born artist Clare Pearson's exhibit "For the Love of Color" will be on display at the Albany Area Arts Council's Carnegie Library building through the month of April.

Moultrie-born artist Clare Pearson's exhibit "For the Love of Color" will be on display at the Albany Area Arts Council's Carnegie Library building through the month of April.

WHAT: “For the Love of Color” Art Exhibit/ Reception

WHO: Featuring the works of Watercolorist Clare Pearson

WHEN: Reception tonight, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Art exhibit/sale, April 2-30

WHERE: Albany Area Arts Council building, Carnegie Library, 215 N. Jackson St.

INFORMATION: (229) 439-2787, www.albanyartscou...

ALBANY, Ga. — There’s a bit of the rebel in Moultrie-born artist Clare Pearson. And for art lovers who appreciate the works of those who don’t mind painting outside the lines when so inspired, that’s a good thing.

Watercolor traditionalists — like the Valdosta State University professor who encouraged Pearson to “put down the watercolors and never pick them up again” — might sniff at the vivid colors in Pearson’s “For the Love of Color” exhibit on display now at the Albany Area Arts Council. But those more open to expanded horizens will find themselves amazed at the artists’ far-left-of-norm utilization of the medium.

“I was just defiant enough that when someone told me I couldn’t do something, I was going to keep doing it,” said Pearson, who will be guest of honor at a reception tonight at the 215 N. Jackson St. Carnegie Library. “I discovered that by doing layers upon layers upon layers upon layers of watercolors, you’d get these bright colors that I loved.

“I loved the fact that you could create these colors using a medium that has such a transparent nature. I love that when you study the painting you can still see the initial layers, even though some of them might have a dozen or more layers.”

Pearson’s award-winning works will be displayed and sold at the Arts Council through April, and in addition to tonight’s reception, the artist will be available for a free watercolor demonstration at the council building April 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“We are thrilled to showcase these beautiful watercolors to the community,” Arts Council Executive Director Carol Hetzler said. “We are fortunate to have an artist of this caliber exhibiting, so don’t miss out on this colorful spring exhibit that runs through April 30.”

Hetzler said Pearson’s exhibit fits perfectly with her plan to offer a diverse arts calendar to the community.

Raised on a farm in Moultrie, Pearson started drawing “as soon as I could hold a pencil” and won her first art competition in the second grade. Memories of that early time are the inspiration for many of her works of art.

“I have pleasant memories of life on the farm, and those memories tend to find their way into my art,” she said, pointing out her painting “Milking Meditation,” which shows her mother at a younger age milking a cow.

Pearson attended Gordon College on an art scholarship, and when she earned enough credits for her associate’s degree, she transferred to Valdosta State. There, she earned fine arts and graphic arts degrees.

“I knew I was going to have to make a living,” she said of the dual studies.

Pearson worked as a graphic designer for 17 years, mostly in the Orlando, Fla., area, after earning her degree, and she found little time to devote to her art work. In fact, it was more than 20 years later — in 2004 — before she started showing her work again.

“Around 1992 when I married my second husband, I had the opportunity to stop working and concentrate on my art,” Pearson said. “It took a while for me to get to a point where I was craving hours to paint. I was so accustomed to getting up and going to work in the mornings, I felt lost at first. I started volunteering at school and prioritizing everything else in my life.

“Once I started focusing on my art, it took a while for me to get my confidence back up. I started competing locally, and after I won a couple of awards, I gradually expanded to state, regional and national competitions.”

Then Albany Area Arts Council Director Debra Loehr saw some of Pearson’s works when Pearson came to Albany to judge last year’s Southwest Georgia Regional Fine Art Show, and she invited the artist to exhibit her paintings.

“I can’t take credit for Clare’s show being here, but I’m thrilled that it is,” Hetzler said. “She is a wonderful artist, and the timing of the exhibit is perfect.”

In addition to being on display at the Carnegie Library through April, Pearson’s work is available on her website www.claresart.com. Tonight’s reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.