published Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Helen Burton's show filling Exum Gallery for six weeks

Just as a kaleidoscope offers an ever-changing spectrum of color, so, too, does nature's beauty to the artistic eye of Helen Burton.

The Cleveland, Tenn., resident has chosen "Kaleidoscope" as the theme of her new solo exhibit because, she explained, the term appropriately suggests the variety and color found in her collection of acrylics and watercolors.

"Kaleidoscope" opened Friday in the Exum Gallery inside St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 305 W. Seventh St. The show will remain on display through Sunday, Oct. 28.

"I wanted to share my excitement over nature's beauty. I have a lot of flower paintings," she said of the 28 works on display. "I also wanted to share the wonderful views I have seen when I traveled in Europe."

In addition to paintings, Burton said, the show includes some smaller tabletop works as well as shadowboxes so detailed they fool the eye.

"Four shadowboxes have what look like real autumn leaves inside," she said.

Burton explained she copied actual leaves, painting an individual watercolor of each, then mounting it inside the shadowbox. She repeated the technique using fruit.

"They are interesting and very realistic," she said.

In addition to still lifes of florals and scenery, the collection includes architectural subjects she calls "Portals to the Past." They are scenes she considered "the distinctive character of historic places" she visited in Europe.

Burton said she has also included pieces from her series A Few of My Favorite Things, which depicts collectibles such as marble eggs, bird and animal figures, a copper teapot she bought in Spain and a salt-glazed vase.

Burton is a native of Canada and moved to Cleveland in 1993. She worked in graphic design at The Miami Herald and has also taught art and journalism on the high-school level.

She joined the Tennessee Watercolor Society in 2002 and received the society's Signature Membership in 2006, the highest honor a watercolor artist can achieve in state or national organizations. She was invited into the National Watercolor Society last October. She said she achieved the highlight of her career when her painting was one of 100 selected from entries worldwide for the NWS 91st International Exhibition.

Exum Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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