On January's Cover: Talented Artist Shares Love for Outdoors, Horseback Riding and Motorcycles
Jan 04, 2016 11:34AM
● By Tracy McCoy
On Our COver – Paula Van Huss
Meeting our cover artists and seeing their art first hand is quite possibly one of my favorite parts of this job. That is certainly the case this month. Not sure what to expect I drove my car up the steep drive to the home of Terry and Paula Van Huss. Paula is the artist and Terry is her biggest fan and husband and has been for 35 years. Quickly the ice was broken and a very nice visit ensued. We sat at Paula’s dining table to talk after looking at several of her paintings. I really appreciate her style, both on canvas and across the table. Paula is witty, quick and confident. She is also incredibly talented.
Paula was born in Kansas during WWII, the daughter of a flight instructor for the military. At age 5 they had moved to Atlanta where her father flew for Eastern Airlines. Her parents divorced and she and her mother moved to Senoia, Georgia. Paula met Terry in high school and they dated. Fast forward, Terry has been living in North Carolina where he married and had a child. Paula has just purchased a sizable horse farm, has never married and is working at Hartsfield-Jackson. Terry is newly divorced and has “come home”. He asks about Paula and the next thing he knows he is walking down the concourse looking for her. One might say the rest is history but that isn’t quite how it went. It was a bouquet of flowers and an offer to help her move to the horse farm that got Paula’s attention and Terry’s foot in the door. The couple married in 1980.
In the 70s Paula and her mom went to an art show at Greenbriar Mall and Paula enjoyed the art. She left the exhibit thinking that she’d like to try to paint. She bought supplies soon after and began. Like most artists the first painting was horrible (so she says) but fortunately for us she didn’t stop. She paints primarily from imagination only using imagery for accurate dimensions. She jokes that after her first portrait she immediately became a landscape artist. She bought oil paints first, and then tried her hand at watercolors, finally setting on acrylics. She says she loves them and uses them like watercolors.
Paula mentions Clint Carter who was an inspiration when she was painting with watercolors. Mr. Carter is regarded as one of the South’s premier landscape and seascape artists making his home in Atlanta. One of the best decisions she made in her art career was attending a week-long workshop in California where she learned from Morten Solburg. She traveled with her mom and describes it as phenomenal! She studied under Morten and another trip to Sitka, Alaska, was well worth it. Paula also attended a workshop at Kanuga Episcopal Camp and this became an annual event for Paula. Different artists teach for the “art camp” and Paula always made sure to stretch her creativity by taking a class with someone whose work was very different from hers. In doing so she always learned something new that she could use when she was back home in her own studio. Art is an ongoing learning process and Paula continues to learn. She incorporates oriental papers of different textures, some with fibers in them and art tissue papers into her artwork making each unique. She has a heavy Native American influence that she can’t explain, except to say it comes from within.
In 1999 Paula and Terry moved to Habersham County. She had visited the mountains with her family as a child. In 2005 they decided they wanted higher elevation finding their way to Blairsville, Georgia and their spot atop the hill. They built two homes never having the first disagreement. Paula says that their tastes are very similar and they agreed on every decision, making it easy. It is apparent they are very good friends and very much in love. Health issues have slowed Paula down. She is a go-getter, loving the outdoors, boating, riding motorcycles and of course horses, which she loves. Today she paints them instead of riding them and she and Terry are content with the slower pace.
Paula thoroughly enjoyed doing art shows. She loved meeting people and talking with them about her art. She can be found each year at The Painted Fern show and a handful of others close to home. She is a member of the North Georgia Arts Guild and the Blue Ridge Mountain Artist Association. Paula has served as vice president of SAAG (Southern Appalachian Artist Guild) where she remains a membership chair.
Today, Paula is looking for inside shows or long-term exhibits. She has taught workshops in Rabun, Habersham, Towns and Union Counties and hopes to do a bit more teaching. Her art is not shown in a gallery but is displayed on Paula’s blog (paulasart.blogspot.com) where you’ll find valuable information as well as musings from Paula. My hope for you is that one day you might get the opportunity to meet and talk with Paula Van Huss; you’ll leave knowing you made a new friend and met an astonishing artist.
Paula’s art is currently shown by appointment apart from a show or exhibit. The artist can be reached by e-mailing [email protected]