“I often work from photographs. My ongoing theme is capturing the spirit of a moment.”
Natural light floods into Rhett Thurman’s King Street studio, located on one floor of the building in which she has lived and worked for 24 years.
Paintings, both finished and in process, abound; gold frames stacked by the stately fireplace lie ready, waiting.
Her easel, bequeathed to her by a former art professor and mentor at Queen’s University of Charlotte, is wreathed by an ad-hoc mood board of sorts—photos, studies, and sentimental images.
A ceramic mug filled with brushes and tubes of oil paint rest on a cricket table, layered in a paint-flecked patina after decades of use.
She fully restored the four-story home, regaling in its high ceilings and original heart pine floors and transforming the second floor’s front room from a battleship gray office with cubicles into her airy studio with ideal lighting.
“A student once asked me if I loved cadmium orange, and I replied, ‘I have it for breakfast!’” Thurman says of her signature color and the prime coat for each of her canvases.
Her cousin’s daughter painted the naive angel on a cardboard box (right) when she was eight; it conveys a positive spirit over the room.
She keeps photo collages of family and longtime local artist friends, including Betty Anglin Smith, Eva Carter, and Margaret Petterson, just beyond her easel. “Having their faces looking at me is encouraging,” she says.
Sundown, Folly (oil on canvas, 14 X 11 inches, 2018)
Visit the creative spaces of sculptor Herb Parker, painter Rhett Thurman, graphic designer Gil Shuler, and batik and textile artist Arianne King Comer