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N.C artist hosts a studio clean out

Autumn also works for spring cleaning, especially when an artist’s studio is overflowing with works that need walls to call home.

That’s why Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash, N.C., will host “Ann McCray’s Studio Clean-Out,” continuing through Nov. 17.

Ann Park McCray said she’s putting 40 paintings on the block, all at 40 percent off, to celebrate her five years with the gallery and because she has accumulated a wealth of works.

“I paint large and constantly,” she said. “The opportunity just presented itself.”

The Wilmington resident also expressed appreciation for collectors and patrons, hence the chance to offer an opportunity “that maybe felt like a bargain.”

“That was the momentum behind the sale,” McCray said. “I also think ... in hard economic times, that is the time when art is most important. ... The best time to de-stress and find comfort through visual art is in hard times, so why not a sale?”

Calling herself an “intuitive painter” in an impressionistic, abstract style who never works from photos, McCray finds her main inspiration in the “cycle of nature.”

“I just reached a point where a clean-out would support momentum in my creativity,” she said.

McCray said fearing “visual stagnation,” she finds the creative process uplifting and that “you don’t want work backing up.”

She made art her career after studying at Amarillo College in the 1980s and works with galleries in three other states, in her native Texas, as well as Montana and Ohio.

“I have good movement in my world,” McCray said, liking this time to part ways with some wares. “It’s just time for me to move some along ... and I think everybody loves a bargain.”

Souvenirs in art

Thinking about Sunset River Marketplace, which in June, began its second decade in business, McCray said many vacationers to coastal North and South Carolina buy art as mementos.

“They take it home,” she said, “and it reminds them of the natural beauty of the Carolinas. Nature is healing and soothing.”

She finds trees and skies in this coastal plain incredible and they provide her dream landscape.

McCray said having grown up in “high desert in Texas,” she first tried art in fourth or fifth grade, and it has grown into a passion.

“I can’t imagine not painting,” she said. “it’s just part of who I am.”

Ginny Lassiter, Sunset River’s owner, said the need for a clean-out can arise because longtime artists accumulate things.

She relates to how artists work, for whatever reason with a painting, “it hasn’t sold, or they haven’t tried to sell it,” then the works amass with time.

Another reason an artist might decide to put pieces on the market, Lassiter said, results from the painter’s works evolving, because some artists stick with their style, and others shift.

Trying new things and “going in a slightly different direction” also changes an artist’s expertise, Lassiter said.

“The more one studies and works,” she said, “the more likely they are to be more proficient in certain styles or certain media.”

Lassiter figures “most artists tend to continue to do some other stuff and to experiment and explore.”

She also concluded, “If you sell a lot, it would probably never be a problem that you have something left in your studio. That’s not necessarily the norm.”

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