Throughout Aiken, members of the Aiken Artist Guild are displaying their artwork with the cooperation of local organizations and businesses.
Aiken Artist Guild Gallery
Each month an AAG member presents a solo exhibit in the Aiken Artist Guild Gallery of the Aiken Center for the Arts.
Award-winning photographer Colleen Morgan will be featured beginning Tuesday through Aug. 29 in the guild gallery of the arts center. A reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the center, 122 Laurens St. S.W.
Morgan spent her childhood growing up just outside Lexington on 45 acres of farmland. She grew up surrounded by different aspects of art and “with my Irish heritage came my love of nature,” she said.
During the years, Morgan dabbled in many different mediums, but when her father gave her a digital camera on her 16th birthday, she began her work in photography with earnest.
Morgan’s work has been featured in a coffee-table book “Signs of Life,” published by the International Library of Photography, and her work has been displayed at Juniper in Ridge Spring and in Batesburg at Neighbor’s Cafe. Recently, she received the third-place award in the landscape/interior category of the Aiken Artist Guild’s 2014 Member Show.
“Most people would walk right past the things I see and not even notice. Many times we take things we see every day for granted, we overlook them. I want to change all that. I want to open your eyes to a whole new world of beauty. This is my dream,” Morgan said.
Visit colleenmorganphotography.weebly.com to view her work.
Aiken County Family YMCA
In other areas of Aiken, AAG artists are also busy exhibiting work. At the Aiken County Family YMCA, 621 Trolley Line Road, Graniteville, new guild member Debbie Black will present her work. Her exhibit is on display through Aug. 31 and is open to the public during business hours.
Black works in both acrylic and watercolors with an emphasis on strong colors. Living now on a farm in Saluda County, she looks forward to the time when she can retire and dedicate more time to her artwork. The artist has a doctoral degree from USC and is currently an assistant principal in Aiken County.
Hitchcock Health Center
At the Hitchcock Health Center, 690 Medical Park Drive, Ron Buttler will display a series of works inspired by Eustis Park. The exhibit, which will run through Aug. 31, is open to the public during business hours.
Buttler has won awards for his paintings at juried art shows in Aiken, North Augusta and McCormick, and his works are in private collections throughout the United States.
Buttler, who was born in Gloversville, New York, started drawing and painting pictures as a child. After retiring, he moved south and now lives in Aiken with his wife, Valerie.
He studied art history and painting at Empire State College in New York state.
Buttler paints landscapes, portraits and larger surreal works primarily in oil. Recently he has experimented with building up the surface with papier-mache and acrylic paint, creating mixed media 3-D paintings.
The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill Estate
The Stables Restaurant at Rose Hill Estate, 221 Greenville St. N.W., will feature two AAG artist members, Conni Purciarele and Michael Wayne Farmer, through Oct. 20.
The Aiken Artist Guild began at Rose Hill 47 years ago.
Purciarele, a native of St. Simons Island, Georgia, who now lives in Trenton, was drawn to the area due to her interest in art and horses. The award-winning artist graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
After retiring from a career as a graphic designer, photographer and typesetter, Purciarele returned to painting and studied with local instructors.
The artist, who paints in acrylics, received an honorable mention in both the 2012 and 2013 North Augusta Guild’s Fall into Art Show.
“My favorite subjects to paint are horses, dogs, cats, old homesteads and barns,” she said.
Purciarele enjoys life at her home, The Whistle Top Farm; taking rides in Hitchcock Woods and competing in local horse events.
Farmer grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia before moving to Aiken. With a natural ability since childhood to draw what he sees, he is a self-taught artist taking lessons from other artists as he progressed.
“My abilities got me out of a lot of math classes during high school to do set designs for talent show, plays and school events,” Farmer said.
Currently, Farmer works with airbrush and hand brushed acrylic.
“My love for nature has inspired me to follow my passion to do wildlife drawings and paintings,” he said. “I spent most of my years growing up in the outdoors as a hunter and fisherman, where I was just observing the vast differences in nature. All things have their unique shapes, sizes and textures, but when placed as a whole image, create a uniform blend of conformity, as if each part was specifically designed to fit together.
The artist is painting pet portraits and doing commissions in addition to exhibiting his work.