it’s all about the story



“Out Of Abaton” is John Bemis‘ new interpretation of the well-loved tale of Pinocchio. Just as the wooden puppet changes into a human boy, Bemis transforms this classic story with fantastic creatures, alchemy, and the mystery of human emotion–all woven into the magical and glorious landscape of Italy. The artists of the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts depict this fantasic tale in paintings, photography, metal, fiber, glass, ceramics, and wood. It is a show for all those who appreciate rich story telling and local art.

About John Claude Bemis:

John Claude Bemis is an award-winning author and also an inspiring speaker and musician. Bemis grew up in North Carolina and became an elementary school teacher after studying Art History and Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. His experiences of reading, exploring, and teaching naturally evolved into a career of writing. He received the Exellence in Teaching Award from UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Education and was chosen as North Carolina’s Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature in 2013. He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.


Feb 24


To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Go Figure

Lynn Wartski
A big part of the joy of creating art can come in experiencing the reactions of others.  I enjoy watching people in the gallery approach my figure sculptures for a closer look.  They have the exact opposite effect of an expansive painting where a step back will get the best view. Their scale as art dolls requires the viewer to approach, crouch down, and perhaps walk around. It is in this intimate proximity that each piece can reveal all the little surprises and details I have worked in to the final design. It is rewarding to have those who appreciate my work take note and tell me and others what they see there.
I experienced several of these moments at the opening reception of Go Figure!  One woman viewing my piece “Cello”, asked if I had myself played the instrument.  I replied that I had not, and asked what had made her ask.  She said that she had played the cello, and that I nailed not just the posture of the figure, but that her hand, wrist, and finger positions were spot on.  I told her that I had in fact spent time pouring over images of cellists for that exact reason.
A couple was looking quite carefully at “Getting Lift”.  The husband asked his wife to walk this way to see the stitching on her helmet, just as the wife told him to come to the back so that he could see how I had laced the wings on to her back.  They both told me that it truly appeared that she was just about to take off from her base, and inquired what the key chained to her belt unlocked.
Others remarked that they didn’t truly appreciate “Secrets” until they were able to get up real close and see the expression on her face, or the fact that her boots just happened to match the fabric of her dress bodice. Of “Lacing III”, one viewer told me that she could really see the dancer’s concentration to her task.
A number of people told me that they could place themselves right in the moment I tried to capture with “Sunshine on a Cloudy Day”.  They all noted the joy and freedom of the figure despite the weather she was probably experiencing.
Perhaps most rewarding, were the comments that surrounded the show Go Figure! itself. Most saying that beyond the obvious connection of human figures, that there was a brightness and strength of spirit that tied all of the artists work together.
To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website

ART from shows

Our Art is….

art doll balloon webLynn Wartski

The art doll sculptures I have created for this year’s feature show stretch beyond  interesting little characters. I worked to push gesture and movement to hopefully capture each figure in a moment of a narrative. My hope  is that the viewer finds him or herself wondering what is going on with each individual, or what will be occurring in the very next moment,

The piece I chose for the postcard image for the show, “Balloon”, is a good example of this extension with narrative. A small figure with pigtails is stretching on tiptoe while grasping the end of a balloon string. Is she in the process of loosing her grasp? I she running along with a breeze? Perhaps it is a magically strong balloon that will carry her away? I guess the answer resides with each viewer.

I have also continued my experimentation with new materials and media incorporation into  my art dolls. Though I know that I never would want to fully step away from the copper that has become a trademark of my work, I have enjoyed playing with other materials as the main component of a piece with the metal in a supporting role.

art doll media w

My piece titled “Media” is an example of play and experimentation with materials. Though she still began with a copper face that I hand hammered, the rest of her creation took a number of detours. I shaped her torso, skirt top, neck, and one of her shins from wood. Her head and one arm are paperclay over an armature, and her hair is hand cut parchment. Lastly, her multiple mixed media arms and legs are articulated with joints rather than my usual bendable padded wire frame.

One piece that nicely brings together both the elements of narrative and expanding media is “Paper Alice”. My version of Alice in Wonderland steps out of a story that many already know. I based this art doll on pen and ink illustrations from a classic edition of the book.I fully sculpted her head and arms from paperclay, and metal is found only in her accessories and details. Images and favorite quotes from the tale are worked into her clothing and on her base, and she has a wig made of strips of parchment paper.

art doll paper alice webI thoroughly enjoy creating these art doll figures, and even more, people’s reactions to them.


To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.


To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website

Our Art Is…

May postcard RGB

Exploring What Art Is At The Hillsborough Gallery Of Arts

Three very different artists are featured this month at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Painters Pat Merriman and Eduardo Lapetina and sculptor Lynn Wartski present their newest work in a show they call OUR ART IS…..
Pat Merriman, a founding member of the gallery, says “When I paint it is always with my favorite themes…this time I have revisited Koi on long 10”x30” panels that allow them to swim up or downstream. ” They shine with glints of gold, unusual colors and playful acrylic textures. There will also be one or two Hillsborough or NC scenes, and I am honoring my love of cooking by painting vegetables, fruits, and cooking scenes from my kitchen.”

Eduardo Lapetina paints large colorful canvases. Describing his creative method, Lapetina says “I strive to produce paintings that exhibit the powerful emotions embodied in the process. That is much more important to me than making images that are necessarily pleasing or objectively beautiful. An image arrived at through such a slow, deliberative set of processes appears fresh and immediate by maintaining spontaneity at every turn. The destination is unknown until I finally get there.”

Lynn Wartski adds whimsy to the show with the unique doll sculptures for which she is increasingly well-known. Says Wartski “My art doll sculptures test the limits of expression that can be achieved with unconventional material choices of forged copper, and other metal work, for faces, hands, and various elements of design. The result is a collection of pieces with a cohesive sculptural style despite the incorporation of widely varied materials and experimentation. The dolls I have been working on for this year’s show have an additional dimension beyond capturing gesture and interesting costuming. With these sculptures I introduce more of an element of narrative into each piece. I’ve worked to capture a moment of movement, or the figure caught somewhere mid-stride. I hope the viewer finds him or herself looking at that single captured static moment and wondering or imagining what the next moment would hold.”


Please join us for the Opening Reception
Friday May29th


To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website


Preview of the Orange County Studio Tour

OCAG_postcard_RGBPlease come join us for the Opening Reception at our Last Fridays celebration.


Please visit our website


Attention to Detail

july postcard
There is a saying that artists know only too well, “the devil is in the details.” The smallest detail can sometimes totally transform a work of art. Although the approaches of artists Linda Carmel, Marcy Lansman and Lynn Wartski are very different, for each of them details are crucial.

Marcy Lansman, whose previous work included very detailed representational paintings, decided to go in a different direction. “Most of the pieces in this show are non-representational. The unifying element is their color palette, which ranges from orange/rust/brown on the one hand through neutral warm gray to blue/blue-green/green on the other. My process has been to lay down a “first draft” quickly in one sitting, restraining myself from any fussing or revising. Inevitably, at the end of this session I feel that I have created a masterpiece! I let this draft sit for a day or so. When I go back, I discover that my masterpiece is not as flawlessly marvelous as it first seemed. Then I begin the process of revising. The challenge then is to clean up the problems without sacrificing the freshness of the original. This is where ‘attention to detail’ comes in.”

Says Lansman, “I have been surprised to discover that I spend just as much time adjusting the details of non-representational as representational work. What is different is the timing and the goal. When I create a drawing, whether it is a flower or a face, I concern myself with details right from the start. In my more abstract work, I focus on major compositional issues at the beginning and deal with the details later. In the representational work, the goal of the details is to capture the appearance and the spirit of the thing I’m painting. In the non–representational work the goal is to create a piece that will be satisfying both to me and to the viewer, something that will please or stimulate or in some way enlighten.”

Lynn Wartski describes the use of detail in her figure sculptures: “For the past couple of years I have concentrated my efforts on small, mixed media figure sculptures that are referred to as ‘sculptural art dolls.’ The intimate scale of these pieces invites the viewer to take a closer look. By their very nature these sculptures require that I pay “attention to detail.”

“Some dolls start as sketches in a book and others are conceived entirely in the studio, but all begin construction with a bit of metalsmithing. Each doll’s face begins as a flat disk cut from copper stock that I anneal, hammer, cut and shape into a face. Eyes are created by torch firing glass enamels on copper or brass nails and tacks. I form the rest of my basic figure from a wooden sphere head atop a twisted wire skeleton. It is at this point that details start to emerge. What will the figure be doing? How will he or she be dressed? Will this be a doll that can live outside? The answers to these and other questions lead to the details that emerge for each figure. One may be simply dressed and seated with a book, another dressed in an ornate costume complete with jewels, and a third riding a bike made just for her.” Wartski enjoys the reactions they and their details draw from viewers. “These figures bring together so much that I have developed in my work over the years.”

Either women or idioms – or sometimes both – are common threads in much of Linda Carmel’s work. However, this year she has brought more global influences into the mix. “I have looked at style and design details from around the world and have used them in each of the paintings in this series,” says Carmel. “Women, cultural designs and idioms are the puzzle pieces I began with in each painting. Even though I started each one with a set of details in mind, it is the “attention to the detail” of the actual painting as it progresses that becomes central. My work is in finding a balance of color and form using those ‘puzzle pieces’ I began with.”

Carmel works with acrylic modeling paste to form three-dimensional paintings on canvas. “I want viewers to become intimate with the painting by feeling the contours of the surface” she says.

Opening Reception

July 25


Please visit our website

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.