Tarboro artist honored in Farmville
BY ANGELA HARNE
The Farmville Enterprise
Thursday, November 1, 2018
FARMVILLE — H. Marie Easley’s portraits and landscapes recently filled the walls of The DeVisconti Event Center at the Farmville Community Arts Council’s Artist of the Month reception.
Easley, a Tarboro resident, grew up with David Whitley, the owner of The Colonial Inn. Whitley suggested Easley showcase her work in Farmville, according to Cheryl Patterson of the arts council.
Easley began painting at age 5 when she created a portrait of her mother.
Portrait painting is her passion, she said. Her exhibit featured a portrait of her daughter in her wedding gown, her grandson standing near a tree and one of her mother — not the age 5 original, though.
“I find everybody so beautiful. I had a professor who told me, ‘You have to fall in love with what you paint.’ I look for things that move me. There is beauty everywhere,” Easley said. “It is important to focus on beauty and God’s given gifts.”
Easley studied art in Italy and has traveled the world. Her exhibit featured places she has visited, like Monet’s Bridge, drummers in Gubbio, Chez May Cassatt, Abbey of Monte Olive to Maggiore, an old boat house in Giclee, the Tuscan Hills, beaches, waterways and more.
“At first, I didn’t like painting landscapes,” she admitted, adding a professor of a class she took in France inspired her and a passion for landscapes developed.
Easley has also discovered a recent passion for sculpture art.
“It is like giving birth. When you have wax in your hand, something happens and it takes on a life of its own,” she said with a smile.
She paints with oils and acrylics.
“I hope my pieces bring joy and attendees feel happy and are uplifted. I like to bring joy,” Easley said.
Attendees Etsil Mason and Cheryl Mewborn, both of Farmville, found delight in Easley’s vibrant color choice.
“I really enjoyed the exhibit. The subject matter and color of (L’atel ier des Artistes) and the barn before and after Mother Nature is wonderful. I love rural anything,” Mewborn said.
Mason added, “The shadows and reflections on the old barn in ‘Old Boat House on Bald Head Island’ and the scenes from Italy, especially the drummers, are some of my favorites.”
Mason was also impressed by Easley’s portrait painting abilities.
“Painting children is not easy,” she said. “It is a delightful show, and I love the color.”
Randy Walters was thrilled Easley chose Farmville to showcase her work.
“I’m looking forward to meeting the artist,” he said, as he admired Easley’s portraits.
He was drawn to the one of her daughter, Elizabeth Miller, in her wedding gown.
Easley’s cousins, Ruthie Vandiford and Janie Howell, traveled from Rocky Mount to see the show.
“Our cousin has always been very artistic and created beautiful work,” Vandiford said. “She is an excellent painter. I’m so proud of her.”
Howell added, “She’s an extraordinary woman.”
The location of the Artist of the Month reception was relocated from Paramount Theater due to roof construction. The arts council secured grant funds to renovate the theater’s roof, which should be complete by mid-November, according to Patterson.
The council hopes to have the theater reopened for the Nov. 30 A Taste of Farmville event. Paramount Theater is typically where children can find Santa Claus after the annual tree lighting ceremony.
The next Artist of the Month reception featuring work by Alex Hudak is Dec. 6. The Tim Sutton Trio is scheduled to perform Dec. 18 at the Paramount Theater.
The arts council is also gearing up for its 100th anniversary, which is in 2021. Fundraising efforts are underway to improve the theater’s seating, install new carpeting and repair electrical issues.
The arts council is also hoping the town of Farmville secures a Community Development Block Grant to assist with restroom renovations in the theater’s annex.