A Blooming Art Show at North Carolina Aquarium Featuring Susan Mason
By Claire Aubel
Atlantic Beach, NC - A bouquet of coastal plant portraiture blooms in a winter photo exhibit at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. “Wild Portraits – Local Flora of Back Roads and Beaches” is on exhibit through the end of January. The exhibit is free with admission or membership.
The works of Down East nature photographer and artist Susan Mason bring out the beauty of sedge, pitcher plants, blanket flowers and other local plants, grasses and flowers that often blend into an unnoticed roadside blur.
“I would be pleased if people look at my images and think, ‘Wow, look at that. I never noticed that before,’” she said. “Even the smallest, most insignificant little plant has wonderful design and great beauty.”
Mason returned to her hometown of Atlantic after more than two decades in Alaska, teaching school in Eskimo villages. Despite the differing climates, she discovered many similarities to her childhood environment.
“Arctic vistas are like the vistas of Carteret County,” she said. “They’re open and broad with an endless sky. I have always been intrigued by the details of such landscapes – the things that take time or that are often overlooked.”
She finds many of her subjects along back roads, canals and bridges. She uses dark backgrounds to eliminate distractions, and better showcase each specimen of local flora in exquisite detail.
Mason, an East Carolina University graduate, was chosen as the poster artist for the 2008 North Carolina Seafood Festival and also painted the Cape Lookout National Seashore Christmas ornament that adorned the 2007 White House Christmas tree. She has illustrated a number of books, including The Little Turkle by Deborah Van Dyken of Beaufort. Her work can be found at several galleries in Carteret County.
The Aquarium is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Admission is $8 for ages 18-61; $7 for ages 62 and up; $6 for ages 6-17; no charge for ages 5 and under and members of the North Carolina Aquariums. The Aquarium is five miles west of Atlantic Beach at 1 Roosevelt Blvd., Atlantic Beach, NC 28512. See www.ncaquariums.com or call 252-247-4003 for more information.
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