Forty-five years ago, in 1978, a group of local artists got together and formed the Winchester Art Guild. Through the decades, the Guild has attracted a diverse and dynamic group of artists working in all mediums: painting, woodworking and fine furniture making, textile art, needle arts, photography, soap and candle making, stained glass, jewelry, pottery and more. Members’ work may be seen and purchased at the Arts on Main Gallery in downtown Winchester.
Here are three members whose work you’ll find there:
Richard Yeary, Woodworker
Richard spent his career working in the natural gas pipeline industry for engineering firms in Lexington, spending the better part of three decades on job sites.
The Winchester native, who retired a couple of years ago, knows how he wants to spend his time now.
“It’s time to stay home,” he says.
That doesn’t mean Yeary plans to be idle. The woodworking artist, who describes himself as “just an ole country boy,” has created a lot of fine furniture over the years, including large cabinets and tables, bookcases and quilt racks. He became a Winchester Art Guild member about five or six years ago, volunteering whenever he can and making one-of-a-kind wooden pieces that are available for purchase at the Arts on Main Gallery.
Creating art was something Richard always wanted to pursue, and 35 years ago, he finally had the space to devote to his woodworking. What began as a hobby quickly snowballed into a second career creating custom wooden furniture.
Richard still plans to make furniture but wants to scale his pieces down to focus primarily on cutting boards, small tables and cabinets, jewelry boxes, tool boxes and—one of his favorite pieces to make—chess boards fitted with drawers to hold the chess pieces.
He also plans to make a few furniture pieces for himself.
“I might make a nice live edge walnut table for under the TV,” he says.
Richard will continue sourcing lumber, which is all local, domestic hardwood, for these smaller projects, enjoying as always “the challenge of making the wood come alive both visually and architecturally.” Each one of his creations is functional, beautiful and unique and also stays true to its own nature.
Rose Swope, Watercolorist
After Rose retired as a Clark County 4-H Agent whose job was to recruit leaders to teach 4-H art classes, she launched into a hobby of watercolor painting. Her first piece? A lighthouse and an egret overlooking the ocean.
For Rose, painting was her therapy. She eventually took art classes through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Kentucky in Lexington—something she never had time to do when working.
Rose says that growing up in nature in Eastern Kentucky is what informs and inspires her work. She also loves to travel and grow flowers and vegetables, both of which figure into her paintings.
“If I wasn’t painting, I’d be traveling around the world and visiting friends who cannot get out very often!,” she says.
A look at Rose’s work shows her affinity and artistry in painting flowers, landscapes and animals. Time spent in Florida has influenced the seascapes and underwater scenes Rose creates.
“Anything in nature is my therapy,” says the Winchester Art Guild member and Arts on Main volunteer.
Noting her painting style as Expressionism, a combination of realism and impressionism, Rose describes herself as a follower of renowned Chinese painter Lian Quan Zhen, who says, “A beautiful painting depicts the harmony between nature and imagination.”
It’s as if Zhen is speaking about Rose’s own paintings.
“The feeling level is what I try to depict by putting my mind, heart and soul into painting,” she says. “Watercolor is an unforgiving medium and I just let go of the control factor and let water paint itself.”
Jackie Crouch, Gourd artist
Painting began as a distraction for Jackie. She was in her mid-forties and busy mothering teenagers. She began with the “One Stroke” method, an artform invented by Donna Dewberry, in which a brush is loaded with two or three separate colors to achieve shading, highlighting and blending in a single stroke movement.
“One of my first original pieces was painting a faux embordered table cover on a table for my mother,” she says. “I thought my eyes would stay permanently crossed from painting all the tiny stitches.”
From there, Jackie developed an interest in other styles from watching local PBS television shows.
“Then I found gourds and broken glass art,” she says.
Jackie loves to turn large gourds into baskets and small ones into ornaments after she’s embellished them with fun faces. She enjoys mixed media using glass as an enhancer.
The artist started out on a completely different path.
“I never have decided what I wanted to be when I grow up,” she says. “I have a degree in computer information systems, but I it that just—to be able to finish college.”
She knew she loved painting walls and furniture, but as soon as she discovered gourds and broken glass, she quit doing large art to focus on those.
“The gourds and broken glass art have been the most satisfying art I have done,” she says. “I truly enjoy taking items that are initially just a basic plain item and turning them into art pieces.”Jackie has learned various skills from a variety of teachers and as taught group art classes herself. She currently provides painting classes/kits online at Pilot View Arts and hosts paint parties locally (Information at Pilot View Paint Party). Find her gourds and other art pieces at the Arts on Main Gallery.