Bela Begonias

Bethany is the artist, designer, maker and owner behind Bela Begonias.  She was born into the Appalachian mountainside of eastern Tennessee, and later immersed in the vibrant culture of Asheville, North Carolina before finding her way to Nashville. Her art is an organic reflection of the mountainous landscapes from which she came, heavily influenced by nature, earth tones, the beach and ocean, the southwest and countless other wonders this incredible world creates.  She is a walking wanderlust, having spent years exploring the world at each opportunity given.   Although she studied art, design and fashion in college, the courage to “be an artist” seemed unrealistic upon entering “the real world.”  After a decade of feeling like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole, in 2015, Bethany (with the undying support and true belief in skill from her loving husband) finally took her vision, studies, travels, ethos and experience and cultivated it into a single leap-of-faith that is now Bela Begonias.

The beginning was a humble one.  Tucked into the attic, the only space available in their tiny East Nashville cottage, Bethany set up a makeshift shop and… started MAKING!  She was terrified of failure, of putting her heart and soul out into the world and of the simple fact that there would no longer be a salaried paycheck showing up in the bank account every other Friday.  Some days were highs and some days were lows.  Some days are still highs… creating a new design that is inspired and satisfying… and some days are still lows… a vision not quite developing as intended or how overwhelming it can be to keep a thumb on every aspect of moving a business forward.

Bela Begonias is rounding the one year corner; in looking back on the launch of the website, the acceptance and success at several shows, being carried at three local Nashville stores, the growing support from the public and the continued encouragement from her family and friends… Bela Begonias is reeling and hopeful about what the future can bring!

Purchasing a piece of Bela Begonias jewelry or ceramic art is an investment in quality.  If you know Bethany, at some point or another you’ve likely heard one of her quips… “quality over quantity” or “form must follow function” or maybe “waste not want not.”  Cliche? Maybe… True? Absolutely.  Bela Begonias stands firm on the idea that your jewelry will last for years and your ceramic piece might be passed down to your child.  Quality IS more important than quantity.  Each piece is created with care, precision and a perfectionist’s eye.  The materials used have been tried and tested.

Lastly, Bela Begonias want’s to express a world of gratitude to you, the customer, for seeking unique and artful design. “Thank you for supporting the entire artist community and for passing your experience and BB finds along to your friends and family!”

Take a moment, if you will, and follow Bela Begonias on Instagram @bela_begonias, Facebook and Twitter @belabegonias

 

Hunter Museum again inspires WorkSpace artists

Local artist Lisa Denney is a painter who also designs rugs. As one of the 18 participating artists in “Inspired II: WorkSpace Artists Inspired by the Hunter Museum of American Art Collection,” she merged the two mediums to create a textile wall hanging.

She actually also incorporated photography into her piece. Denney chose a painting called “Rosy Morning” from the Hunter’s collection. She says it reminded her of a photograph she had taken of her backyard garden.

“I wove my piece and also used some paper clay to give it some dimension,” she says. “I used the imagery from my backyard but also the color palette from ‘Rosy Morning.'”

This is the second year of the Inspired project. WorkSpace artists are asked to peruse the Hunter’s permanent collection in search of a piece that will inspire them to create something entirely new. A reception was held on May 5 at Chattanooga WorkSpace, and the pieces will remain in the main gallery there through the end of the month. They include paintings, textiles, photographs and mixed media.

The pieces may be viewed during the week, but WorkSpace is also hosting a free Makers Social on the Patio on Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Visitors can tour the entire space, including the main gallery, where the Inspired pieces are, and the artists’ studios.

For “Inspired II,” many of the artists used the opportunity to challenge themselves by not only using another art piece as inspiration but also by working in a medium they’d never worked in before.

Janet Campbell Bradley chose the museum’s fence, which was designed by artist Albert Paley, as her inspiration. It was originally installed in 1975 to connect the old mansion with the then-new addition. The fence’s designer had preciously worked in jewelry, which is Bradley’s normal medium. For the project, she created a triptych using printmaking, something she’d never done.

“These are done through a printing press where you actually paint the ink onto a template, and you roll that onto a printing press with paper,” she says.

She also incorporated sections of a map of the Tennessee River from 1974.

Photographer Jenny Shugart also created a triptych, basing hers on Gordon Parks’ 1942 piece “American Gothic, Washington D.C.” Instead of holding a pitchfork like the white couple in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” the African-American woman in the print is flanked by a mop and broom.

Shugart’s piece centers on an old magazine ad she’d saved from the ’90s featuring a young girl under text that reads: “She’s good — for a girl,” with “for a girl” marked through.

She says the project was fun, inspiring, scary “and a few more things thrown in.”

“It was fun to be able to go over to the Hunter. If you haven’t been over there, go. It’s a real gem for the city.”

For his piece, muralist Kevin Bate incorporated live video, video screen and a large painting he based on the “Ruth Gleaning” statue by Randolph Rogers. During the May 5 reception, the painting was on the second floor and shown to viewers remotely via the video feed.

This story was originally in the Times Free Press. Written by Barry Courter. 

The South American Art Of Mercedes Llanos

By: Tony Mraz   April 12, 2017

This story was originally published on chattanoogapulse.com

New Art Collection Now On Display At Erlanger Baroness Hospital

Erlanger Health System presents Hope Springs, “A collection of paintings that bring a sense of hope and new life,” as the fourth installment by the Arts at Erlanger program.

The Hope Springs collection features five female artists from around the region; Ellyn Bivin, Hollie Berry, Angela Serre, Helen Jones, and Ali Kay. Light and airy images dominate the exhibit with a variety of landscapes, subjects and scenes.

Bivin is a Chattanooga native with a lifelong passion for art. She received her degree in Art Education and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and attended University of Tennessee Chattanooga graduate school, focusing on combining old world etching with contemporary panting for a one-of-a-kind printmaking technique. Her four-legged friends and images from turn of the century photographs are a few of her favorite subjects.

Berry, a native Texan, has pursued art from the time she could grasp a pencil. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin. A few years later she moved to Chattanooga, where she found fresh inspiration. First, she created Dewdles, monumental land art drawings in the dewy lawn of Coolidge Park. These temporal works paved the way for more permanent opportunities like her first mural for the McCallie Walls Mural Project, Four Horsewomen, and collaborating with her engineer husband, Rudy Elizondo, on an interactive art installation of flying books installed in the Chattanooga Public Library. In 2015, she apprenticed under world renowned muralist Meg Saligman on the 40,000 sq. ft. Chattanooga mural We Shall Not Be Satisfied Until.

Bright and airy artwork lines the gallery corridor at Erlanger Baroness Campus.

Southern charm and exaggerated realisms describe Serre’s personality and style. Influenced as a child by her grandmother’s talent and a book by watercolor artist Herb Olsen; her passion for art lead to a formal education at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. While years as a graphic designer in corporate America provided success, her love of painting continued with works spanning the globe. Her paintings and portraits are in private collections throughout the US and Europe.  Serre’s inspiration derives from her travels, family and photos.

Jones’ love of nature began with her Indiana childhood, in a yard filled with flowers, fruit trees, grape vines and birds. A graduate of Indiana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Jones had only four watercolor lessons while living in Atlanta, GA in 1984. Celebrities, banks, corporations, hospitals, designers and homeowners began commissioning her art that is inspired by her travels to the Greek islands, France, Canada, western states and the Caribbean. An extraordinarily versatile and detailed artist, Jones’ mediums are watercolor, oil, acrylic, ink, charcoal and pencil. Her subjects vary from florals and wildlife to wall murals and automobiles.

Art has been Kay’s passion since childhood.   She grew up in West Bend, Wisconsin, and founded her decorative painting company, Positive Space, in 2002 shortly after finishing high school at the age of 19.   She studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee while simultaneously growing her mural and faux finishing business.   After spending several years working with designers and architects creating unique interior spaces in Houston, TX, she settled in Chattanooga in 2013. She opened the new Positive Space Decorative Painting Studio at Chattanooga WorkSpace.   Kay’s portfolio is vast including commission work in many different styles.   She continues to create large scale murals, custom fine art and wall finishes while adding teaching to her list of services. Her work can be seen locally throughout Chattanooga as well as in the homes and businesses of her clients throughout the country.

The purpose of art in the hospital setting goes far beyond decoration. Recent studies show a direct link between art and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress and anxiety. A 2011 University of London study found that blood flow increased 10 percent to the “joy response” part of the brain when subjects saw a beautiful painting. The Arts at Erlanger program seeks to preserve and expand the healing, uplifting, and therapeutic art at all campuses in our medical system.

This story was originally published on Chattanoogan.com.

 

Cyrethia Stephens- Design 2 Sell

Cyrethia Stephens left the corporate world in 2015 to pursue her passion in decorating and staging homes, and she never looked back. Her unique business, Design 2 Sell, displays her best visionary and creative talents in home décor/staging in and around the Chattanooga Area.

Cyrethia’s love of architecture, interior design and well honed buying skills naturally led her to home décor/staging.

“I love home staging because it allows me to use so many of the skills I’ve learned over the years,” she says. “After holding many high level corporate positions, I am extremely budget and deadline oriented. And of course, my unique sense of design comes through with each staging I do. I love working with people and helping my clients maximize their property’s potential.”

Her goal is to make a property show beautifully when it goes on the market. She wants prospective buyers to walk away from a property that she staged and say, “I could live there!”

Cyrethia Stephens was born and raised in Smithville, Tennessee and received her Bachelors Degree in Management and Organizational Development from Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. She has lived in Chattanooga since 1986,  a lover of God, avid cycler, kayaker, golfer, gardener and a décor/art aficionado.