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For as far back as she can remember Patti Best of Canton, N.C., has had a passion for art. Best chose to put that dream aside while she devoted her time to being a full-time mother and educator - home-schooling her children for the past 17 years. Best says that due to the time put in for taking care of and teaching her children, the hours for painting just didn’t exist then. Now, however, they do.
Best - who is self-taught - spends about five hours a day painting landscapes of local scenery. Best tries to keep her camera with her when she is out and about, but some of the landscapes she has chosen to paint have been found by accident. “Some of my favorite photos were taken when we just ‘happened’ on a scene.” Other times, Best plans a day out just for photography – “especially for wildflowers or parkway shots.”
Most of her paintings are of landscapes in the Crabtree community where her husband grew up, and where they lived for most of their life together.
"I have painted overlooks from Craggy Gardens, Pigsah National Forest, and the Blue Ridge Parkway at Water Rock Knob," Best says.
Best says her main inspiration is the beauty of the North Carolina mountains "and the Creator who made them." She cites Bob Timberlake as an influence, and her friend Patrice Suggs, who she says helped boost her confidence.
Best doesn't do all the work alone – the process is a team effort between herself and her husband, Hugh. Best says she would not be able to paint the triptychs (paintings that are split apart into sets of three) if her husband were not willing to cut the birch panels and frame them for her. “I am deathly afraid of the table saw!” Although cutting the angles for framing can be tricky, “Hugh is up for the challenge.”
Best says when one lives in the Carolina mountains, “a simple drive to the grocery store can be a breathtaking experience!"
Patti Best's original work can be seen at WICKWIRE in Hendersonville, Twigs & Leaves in Waynesville and Chasen Galleries in Charlotte. She will be the featured artist at Twigs & Leaves later this summer.
To contact Best or to see her work, visit her website mountainbrushworks.com or call her at 828/648-4091.