At the turn of the year, the Arts Council of Hendersonville County announced the winner of its annual “Bring Us Your Best” competition, a showcase of local fine art culminating, this time around, in an online exhibit where the winner was determined by public input. Courtney Hoelscher, who’s taught art in Henderson County public schools for the past 16 years (11 years at Hendersonville High), won for her atmospheric painting Yama. The title, Hoelscher tells Bold Life, is Japanese for “mountain.”
“I have titled many of my recent paintings in Japanese,” she says, “because I find much inspiration from the Shan Shui style of landscape painting. In fact, I just sold a painting with the title ‘Shan Shui.’” Hoelscher considers her style abstract, but with a composition that “leans toward emulating mountains and waterfalls.” (She created “Yama” on canvas that she stretched and primed herself.)
The 48″ x 60″ acrylic work is currently on display at Atomic Furnishing & Design in Asheville, along with many of Hoelscher’s other paintings. She also has work on display at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards’ tasting room in Flat Rock.
Hoelscher says she finds inspiration in the “bold experimentation” of her students, and she also praises the efforts of Hannah Duncan, executive director of the Arts Council, for her vision in administering the current contest. “I think it was really smart, [the way] it drew a lot of traffic to the [Arts Council’s] website and connected the public with a lot of really talented local artists … the arts are struggling during the pandemic, and this event and the way it was promoted and organized was a clear success during adverse circumstances.”