Rascoe named show chairman

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, January 19, 2017

A North Carolina artist is the honorary chairman this year for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s annual Art Show and Sale.

Fen Rascoe, of Windsor, N.C., will be featured at the show that also includes more than 175 artists. The show, in its 31st year, raises funds for arts programs at the school.

Rascoe is an oil painter who got back into art about seven years ago.

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“As a kid, I found myself always drawing,” he said. “That moved all the way into high school, when I was able to start taking some art classes.”

He took art classes in college also, but it never occurred to him to do art professionally.

“I went into the normal working world, whatever that means,” he said.

Rascoe and his brother farm near Windsor, growing sage, soybeans, peanuts and, this year, perhaps industrial hemp, which is newly legal in North Carolina for a research program.

However, for the past seven years, when he’s not in the field, Rascoe has been painting.

It started when he sketched on the back of a piece of paper during a conference call. He showed the sketch to his family, who thought it was great.

A couple of days later, he went to an art auction, and that inspired him.

“I got back down in the basement and pulled out some of the brushes,” he said. “This is my second profession that has blossomed into a great way to put my kids through school and have some extra spending money.”

Rascoe joked that his midlife crisis had to be profitable or at least break even, and his art career has fit the bill.

“Art is a tricky profession,” he said. “It’s like anything else. It takes a long time to get established enough where your name is out there and your work is recognized.”

Rascoe described his style as contemporary impressionism. He paints “alla prima,” or wet on wet — in other words, all in one session — and often paints “en plein air,” meaning outside.

“My goal is to take an ordinary scene and make somebody look at it in a different way,” Rascoe said. “The human eye can only see what’s directly in front of it, so the painting should be that way, not all in focus. I try to get something ordinary and make it beautiful.”

Painting is enjoyable for him, he added.

“Once I get into the studio or outside, all the pressures are gone,” he said.

Rascoe said he is honored to be the honorary chairman of the art show and sale.

“I’m very honored and humbled they would think enough of my work to ask me to do that.”

Prices at the art show typically range from $10 to $7,000, according to a press release from NSA.

The art show and sale is located in the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Lower School building, 3373 Pruden Blvd. The public is welcome at all times, and admission and parking are free.

The show has the following hours:

  • Jan. 28 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 29 — 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 — 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Grandparents’ Reception from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 1)
  • Feb. 4 — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Feb. 5 — 1 to 4 p.m.