The paintings in this exhibit, executed in vibrant oil paint, reflect his love of Kentucky's natural beauty, and present his favorite subject in a variety of ways. Not even the stretch of bad weather has dampened his enthusiasm.
"I love trees, the recent ice storm notwithstanding, and was really fascinated by the beautiful ice-encrusted limbs around my home on Herrington Lake," Farmer says.
His experience displaying nature and tree-themed art in a variety of locations has led him to make observations about the relationships between people and trees.
"I've rendered hundreds of trees and tree-dominated landscapes, which have always been popular in art galleries and exhibits in urban areas where trees are scarce," Farmer explains. "So, I think it inherent within most everyone to have an affinity with trees. Their strong vertical, gestural configuration against a beautiful moody sky will always be a fit subject for a painter."
Born in Corbin, Farmer attended the Columbus College of Art and Design and the Cincinnati Art Academy. Though he painted sporadically for about 40 years, he has only been pursuing his art career seriously since his retirement in 1993.
During the 16 years since then, he has become a respected and popular local artist, exhibiting throughout Kentucky as well as in Indiana and Ohio. A juried, exhibiting member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, he also has been the artist-in-residence at the Community Arts Center practically since it opened its doors five years ago, and has remained there since, except for a brief hiatus in 2007.
Farmer's earlier work often included scenes of birch and sugar maple forests, as well as views of rural architecture. Not only are these paintings notable for the unison of natural and man-made imagery, but they also can serve as historical records of local architectural heritage.
As Farmer's art has grown in popularity, people outside of the region have taken notice. Some of the larger paintings displayed at the CAC in March were commissioned by a company in Louisville, which plans on reproducing them as giclee poster prints. On March 6, Farmer also will exhibit paintings at the Carnegie Arts Center in Somerset.
Farmer's work also remains on display, and is available for public purchase, at all times in his working studio on the second floor of the CAC. The public is encouraged to stop in to view Farmer and his creative process at work any time during the facility's hours of operation.
Well-known Lexington artist Marianna McDonald works in soft pastels that depict delicate, light-filled landscape scenes in the places she knows best.
"I believe a landscape artist should paint the area the artist knows intimately. The landscape of my state is so variable and beautiful that I can never tire of depicting scenes from Kentucky and West Virginia," McDonald says.
While attending Murray State University, from which she graduated in 1971, McDonald focused almost exclusively on painting the human figure in oil paint. She then painted landscapes in oils and watercolors until 1983, when she purchased her first set of pastels for plein air sketching. She was "instantly hooked on the brilliance of the color, the versatility of the medium and the immediacy of the pastels."
Since then, she has become an associate member of the Pastel Society of America and displayed her work in Kentucky, New York and on the West Coast. Her pastel landscapes are the latest nature-inspired works to be displayed at the CAC in recent months.
With this show, McDonald puts her pastels to use executing idyllic landscapes in soft light and intense hues. She hopes that, through her art, she can convey "the sense of peace I feel when I view these lands," and through distilling the details of nature, allow the viewer to connect more intimately with the landscape.
McDonald's exhibited work is also available for public purchase throughout the entire month.
Information compiled by Advocate-Messenger Features Editor Jennifer Brummett.