Meet the Artsclamation! 2019 featured artisits
Mary Saylor holds a 3D artistic rendering of a rabbit, unfinished and laid bare. A plastic apple peeks through its top. The back side is formed by a portion of a pool noodle.
Artists like Saylor see the world differently. Everything in every surrounding has the potential for beauty.
Meanwhile, Marge Luttrell is in a special room in her home creating award-winning encaustic collages. “Encaustic” refers to artwork created with pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay. Her neatly organized work space includes tall stacks of plastic storage boxes filled with everything from scraps of fabric, to paper, pictures, postcards, ribbons, sheet music and book pages.
This year Artsclamation! will feature the work of two gifted women who create completely different works of art, but who both excel at redeeming the ordinary to make something beautiful.
It’s a perfect expression of the purpose of Peninsula Behavioral Health, where broken pieces are gathered up and lives are restored with brushstrokes of hope and layers of promise.
Creative since childhood, Mary Saylor had every intention of pursuing a career in art. Instead, she made a practical decision to go in a different direction. Saylor invested her life in her family and a rewarding career in the healthcare field, but she never stopped creating. It showed up in everything from birthday party decorations to gifts for friends.
“It’s just part of who I am,” Saylor explains. “My mind is always thinking about it and I can’t turn it off. It’s just the way my brain works.” After raising her children, Saylor found more time to create. She made a few paper mache sculptures and put them in an art market for sale. She was surprised by the response. “They called me and said four of my pieces had sold, and I only had about five!” Saylor says with a laugh. “I thought ‘I’ve got to start making some more!’”
Her colorful and whimsical art work begins with a wire frame, covered with whatever pieces she needs to make her creations take the shape she sees in her mind. The process of covering and coloring them brings life to everything from forest animals to pets represented in all kinds of still poses. It’s been called to her attention that nearly all of her created creatures are looking up. It’s a fair representation of who Saylor is, and what she hopes to achieve with her art.
“The most rewarding thing for me is how it affects the people who look at my work,” Saylor says.
“I feel like I’m making people happy, and it’s all worth it for that reason.”
When Luttrell was in Switzerland teaching art, she enjoyed stepping outside at night to gaze at the stars. In the mountains and away from city lights, the stars were especially brilliant. Searching for constellations, Luttrell became curious about the stories that were told in the stars. She began intensive research. Greek mythology stole her heart, just as surely as the heart of Orpheus was stolen by Eurydice in the ancient story of starcrossed lovers. If you look closely at Luttrell’s featured work, you’ll see the story just under the surface.
“It’s not flighty subject matter for me,” Luttrell says. “It’s something I’ve deeply studied and read as much about as I can. I’m always learning as an artist.” Luttrell starts with a wooden board and creates a collage, telling an ancient story of mystery, magic, sometimes love and sometimes war. When the visual narrative is complete, she paints with her own custom- made colors and adds layers of wax. She scrapes and texturizes her work as portions of the story underneath begin to be revealed.
While Luttrell is best known locally as an art teacher, she’s celebrated across the rest of the country for her own stunning and mysterious encaustic works of art. Just last year, she won “Best of Show” at the popular St. James Court in Louisville, Kentucky.The awards are appreciated,
but Luttrell says the most meaningful part of being an artist is seeing the response of people who fall in love with her work. “These pieces come from my heart,” Luttrell says.
Featured work from both artists will be on display and available for purchase at Artsclamation!
About the Art
Held annually for the past 17 years and engaging more than 40 artists, the Artsclamation! fine art show and sale benefits Peninsula, a division of Parkwest Medical Center. Peninsula’s mission is to help people recover from mental disorders and dependencies so they can lead healthy, positive, and productive lives.
The event includes paintings in a variety of media, including oil, watercolor, pastel, and acrylics, as well as photography. The sale also features an exclusive selection of three-dimensional artists displaying jewelry, pottery, and sculpture.
“It is so exciting for me when the community gets together to rally around mental health in a positive way,” says Elizabeth Clary, BSN, RN, MHA, Peninsula’s vice president of behavioral health.
Artwork created by mental health consumers in Peninsula Recovery Education Center’s therapeutic programs will also be featured for sale at Artsclamation! Therapists in the recovery education program work with patients to aid the emotional healing process through creative expression.
Funds generated through the 2019 art sale will go toward renovating the admittance lobby area for a more private patient-admission interaction. These renovations will provide a calm, safe environment for individuals who may be struggling with anger, depression, anxiety or other issues.
Clary says, “With the funds raised by Artsclamation!, we can look ahead toward the future and enhance our patients’ lives, both while in treatment and beyond.” For more information about Artsclamation! visit peninsulabehavioralhealth.org/arts or call Fort Sanders Foundation at (865) 531-5210.