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Chester County Press

Avondale artist spotlighted at country club

04/23/2019 01:12PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

About six months ago, Avondale artist Wendy Cotton was having dinner with her husband at the Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, when she noticed a local artist’s work displayed in the club’s main lobby.

“I thought, ‘Look at all of this beautiful artwork. How can I involved in this?’” Cotton said.

Immediately, she sent images of her artwork to the club to be considered for inclusion in the lobby. The results of her inquiry will soon lead to a 25-piece mixed-media showcase of Cotton’s work, which will be on display in the club’s main lobby from May 3 to June 5.

Cotton is the latest of several artists who have exhibited at the club since the rotating gallery began in May 2017. Artists are selected by the club’s House Committee, which works with local schools, galleries and art festivals. They get a showcase that lasts from a month to three months, depending on the season.

“We redesigned our main lobby and saw it as an opportunity for us to bring in new artwork,” said Jason Feller, general manager of the Kennett Golf & Country Club. “We had some friends of the club offer to hang work temporarily, and soon, our members told us, ‘Why can’t we do this on a continuing basis and showcase local artists?’

“This rotating gallery allows artists to showcase their work to the greater public, and it allows the club to showcase beautiful artwork for 12 months of the year,” Feller added. “It gives the artist and the club a chance to aesthetically benefit from each other.”

Cotton’s artistic career has taken a circuitous journey to her current role as a mixed-media artist. After graduating from Dennison University, she began as a professional studio potter, but expanded her artistic palette in 2007, when she took a watercolor class at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Tennessee.

“I needed another challenge, and took a week-long course in watercolor,” Cotton said. “I hadn’t painted since kindergarten, and I just fell in love with it. It is different from pottery, but it was a nice transition, because all of the design principles I learned from pottery lent themselves well to painting.”

After making the switch from watercolor to mixed-media, Cotton’s work has been showcased at many galleries and festivals, including the CCArts Artisan Show in Yorklyn, Del., the Radley Run Arts Show, the Unionville Art Gala, the Media Art Festival, the Chester County Art Association, and the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, where she studied with mixed-media and collage artist Nancy Barch.

Cotton’s work, which she describes as “design driven,” reflects a paint and collage effect, where the background of the canvas receives an application of paint from a drywall spatula, followed by layers and shapes and texture, highlighted through the use a very recognizable figure or item, such as a large bicycle or a fish. 

“My work is abstract, but now that I have been trying to market myself more, I find that abstract, particularly in this area, is a difficult sell,” she said. “However, I have found that if I include the photo image of a tree or a bird – something that the viewer can latch onto -- I’m able to create my abstract, bright colors, and yet allow them to have that connection to what they’re looking at.”

As part of Cotton’s gallery show, the club will host a champagne reception with Cotton on May 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The show at the country club will not be the only opportunity local art lovers will have this year to see Cotton’s paintings. She will be one of 50 local artists whose work will be on display this June at the 2019 Weekend of Art, at the Genesis Building on State Street in Kennett Square.

“Because I was a professional potter for so long, I can’t be just a hobbyist,” she said of her art. “I have to get my work out there and get feedback from the community, and selling my work is part of my validation.”

To learn more about the art of Wendy Cotton, visit her on Facebook. The Kennett Square Golf & Country Club is at 100 East Locust Lane, Kennett Square.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].