Petal Power

New flowers-and-painting series features local art teacher

Teacher/artist Courtney Hoelscher says she’s the one who gets inspired by her students.
Portrait by Rachel Pressley

Pam Hedstrom’s art form is flowers, much in evidence at her Flower Market near downtown Hendersonville, with its well-earned reputation for Hedstrom’s floral designs. But the shop serves the art world in another role — as the setting for this month’s “Meet the Artists” series, a monthly opportunity for working artists not affiliated with a gallery to display their work alongside floral displays and vignettes Hedstrom creates especially for each show.

As a board member of Advocates for the Arts of Henderson County, “I’ve met many wonderful artists in our community who aren’t displaying in local galleries and who people might find interesting,” Hedstrom says. Each month, “Meet The Artists” highlights two different mediums. This month will include jewelry and metal work by Marilyn Bailey along with the acrylics and watercolors of Courtney Hoelscher, who teaches art at Hendersonville High School, along with her own visual-art practice. 

“All teachers will tell you that the students keep you young, but for an artist like me, they keep my creative juices flowing,” says Hoelscher. “I am so inspired by the talent and imagination of my kids.” Her acrylic “pours” are the most free form of her abstract works, almost creating themselves once Courtney selects a color palette and thins the acrylic paints. “It’s definitely all in the planning,” she explains. “This painting technique forces me to let go of the minute details. I can’t control what the paint does, but I can  affect it. It takes the pressure off and makes it more like a form of play.” Each pour, in its swirls and shapes, evokes its own meaning for each viewer — a kind of Rorschach test of color and emerging pattern. 

Equally striking is Hoelscher’s series of visual journals, some using old books as the ground and others crafted from blank sketchbooks. “Each is simply an exploration of interests throughout the year, page by page, whatever was going through my mind or whatever image or object I felt like responding to,” she says of the series. (She recently embarked on her 15th journal.)

The Flower Market event is accompanied by wine tastings and light refreshments, along with the artwork and floral displays. “It’s a great way to showcase local artists and our floral studio at the same time,” Hedstrom says. “It’s a sensory experience.”

This month’s “Meet The Artists” happens Thursday, Aug. 15, 6-8pm at The Flower Market (625 Fifth Ave. West in Hendersonville), hendersonvilleflowermarket.com For more information, call 828-696-4884 or e-mail pamhedstrom@bellsouth.net.

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