Wednesday, June 5, 2019


"Blue Ridge Parkway Sunset" by Cindy Lou Chenard

If travelers want to indulge in visual overload, Asheville, North Carolina, home of the River Arts District, (aka RAD) , is THE destination. RAD is a place where 23 industrial and historic buildings have been renovated to accommodate 200 artists who have set up their studios inside. Here, artists work in a variety of mediums — fiber, metal, paint, wood —producing some of the South’s finest art in old warehouses along a mile of waterfront on the French Broad River. 

We spent three days in Asheville, sampling art and international cuisine, and managed to catch the last show of Neil Simon’s “Proposals” at the Flatrock Playhouse in Hendersonville, North Carolina, thirty minutes away from Asheville. The visit to the playhouse was a hairy experience as we lost our way for a few minutes on the return trip to the motel in Asheville., arriving at 11 p.m. with my anxiety at high levels and vowing never to attend functions in unfamiliar places after dark again. 

My favorite visit (the fourth one in recent years) remains the River Arts District where I encountered Cindy Lou Chenard who creates two-and three-dimensional contemporary landscapes and abstracts. I was attracted to the use of horizontal lines in her work which she calls “Art Des Couches De Bois,” (Art in Layers of Wood) I purchased two cards, one entitled “Blue Ridge Parkway Sunset;” the other named after one of my favorite contemporary hymns, “Morning Has Broken.”

"Morning Has Broken" by Cindy Lou Chenard

A former weaver, Cindy Lou begins the process of creating her art with a photograph or sketch of a mountain landscape or an abstract design. In the process of creating these scenes, she scales her design to a desired size and transfers the layout to pieces of thin birch plywood. Using either a bandsaw or scroll saw, she cuts out shaped pieces of wood, sands and paints the pieces, then assembles and secures layers and custom frames her three-dimensional artwork. I was drawn to the purple, yellow, and orange colors in the two cards that showcased her work and talked awhile with Cindy, long enough to meet her husband and a huge dog weighing over 130 pounds that plopped down in front of me. Mr. Chenard, a French Canadian, listened to our stock lecture on Cajun Country, and we passed a good time reviewing the merits of French cuisine for him.

A North Carolina native, Cindy Lou has a BS from NCSU School of Design and exhibits her work in the River Arts District and Woolworth Walk in Asheville. Her work is reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe’s landscapes and creates a grand sense of space in viewers.

When we returned to the motel, I was surprised to see the vivid orange and yellow line designs in carpeting throughout the halls and rooms and wondered if decorators for the new motel had taken a leaf from Cindy Lou’s beautiful work.

1 comment:

Jo Ann Lordahl said...

Terrific blog - I love that area. A good friend lived in Hendersonville, but I don't remember the ville, just Henderson - maybe two different places? Good picture of the area. Interesting information.