Grovewood Gallery in Asheville will present Life Along the Blue Ridge, featuring landscape oil paintings by Bryan Koontz, on view from Feb. 15 through April 5, 2020.

The gallery will host an opening reception with the artist in attendance on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 2-5 p.m. Koontz will return to the gallery on Feb. 21 and 22 to demonstrate traditional oil painting techniques from 11am-5pm on both days. The reception and live demos are free to attend and open to the public.

Koontz is an Asheville native who can date his ancestry in Western North Carolina back to the late 1700s. His deep appreciation for mountain culture, heritage, and scenery is evident in his work, which he paints in a realistic style similar to that of the mid-to-late 19th century American landscape painters. Most of his work is begun en plein air and finished in the studio, using photos to aid his memory. Employing traditional methods and archival materials, Koontz says “his aim is to produce works of art that will endure and be cherished for many generations.”

In Life Along the Blue Ridge, Koontz puts to canvas some of his favorite places. “Places flavored by memory, where I have explored, traversed, raised my family, and lived my life since a youth,” he says. His hope is that he can preserve a touch of the heritage he loves through his art.

Koontz first picked up a paintbrush when he was about 8, under the guidance of his grandmother who influenced his love of painting. He went on to feed his creative spirit at Appalachian State University, where he earned a degree in commercial design. After years working in the print and graphic design industry, Koontz became a freelance artist in 2008. Notable projects have included pen and ink drawings for the Mast General Store, as well as their annual Christmas card paintings, and book illustration for author Nadia Dean. In 2018, he was chosen to create the artwork for the Biltmore Estate’s Christmas wine labels.

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