Women of the Palette members, from left, Nancy Jane Earnest, Theresa Markiw, Lee Ann Petropolulos, Monique Carr and Joy McGinnis.
Artists often spend a lot of time alone, following wherever inspiration leads them.
Such conditions for creativity, while useful for the creation of art, can be confining for artists. This was the case for Monique Carr, a self-taught artist originally from Montreal, Canada.
“I’m always in my basement by myself, not talking to anyone,” Carr said. “It’s nice to be with a group that has the same inspirations, to share and branch out.”
Late last year, Carr brought together a group of five local professional artists to explore ways to enrich their careers. An organization was formed and named, “Women of the Palette.” Its first public exhibition is at One Acre Café, 603 W. Walnut St., through May 30.
Carr, a retired graphic artist turned impressionistic oil painter, said she felt out of touch with the local market and wanted camaraderie with a small group of female artists, to talk about their work and to help each other grow professionally.
She reached out to Nancy Jane Earnest, an extravagant colorist who works with acrylic, oil and watercolor. Earnest had previously traveled to France to participate in one of Carr’s plein air painting workshops, as did another local artist — Joy McGinnis, who paints portraits, still life and landscapes.
Carr connected with McGinnis, as well as fellow Canada native and watercolor painter Theresa Markiw, plus mosaic artist Lee Ann Petropoulos. Carr met both Markiw and Petropoulos through various gallery exhibits in Jonesborough and Johnson City.
“We knew that we were going to make it into something special from the beginning,” Earnest said. “The fellowship is one thing, but also each one of us comes from different parts of the country and each had different experiences in the art world and different training.”
In the spirit of gathering artists from different specialties, calling the organization “Women of the Palette” seemed fitting, Carr said.
They created a mission statement to fine-tune their focus and decided an exhibit would be a good way to introduce themselves in the community.
Women of the Palette approached One Acre Café about covering some of its bare walls with colorful pieces produced by the five professional and progressive artists. The new organization was given the go-ahead and the women began sorting and collecting a good representation for each artist, resulting in about 25 pieces.
The unique community restaurant concept at One Acre Café inspired Women of the Palette to make their inaugural exhibit a benefit. The organization will contribute 50 percent of its profits from the sales of the exhibiting artwork to the café, which is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“Most of us have been doing shows forever, but this is a special venue to start in” Earnest said. “Because we are contributing half of our proceeds, it is important for people not just to go look, but to purchase.”
Throughout the planning of this first exhibit, Women of the Palette members have come to realize that it’s much easier to gain recognition by working together, instead of struggling on their own.
“We take the experiences each of us has had and when we put it together it makes the group even stronger,” Carr said. “When you share a goal, you have to commit to it.”
Since Women of the Palette is relatively new, plans for the future are forthcoming. However, Earnest said the organization wants to be known for its professionalism and production of fine art.
Another goal is to become an integral part of the community by not only exhibiting art, but helping the public learn to appreciate it.
For more information about Women of the Palette, call Nancy Jane Earnest at 773-1919 or email her at email@example.com.