Linda Drye Wows with Originality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Award-winning works of art, Linda’s unique talent shines

STORY AND PHOTOS BY CARLA EDSTROM

I really enjoy detail-oriented work. Whether I am making tiny vases or carving fine lined drawings into a vase, I can get engrossed with one thing for hours, not realizing how much time has passed. And I have a hard time walking away if it’s not perfect or exactly how I wanted it to be. I have always been envious of artists who can quickly capture the spirit or emotion of their subject. They must have a fabulous muse speaking to them while they work, encouraging every glorious detail. These gifted artists can really draw in between the lines and show us inside the souls of the subjects they create. They see things differently and can quickly focus outside of the box and create amazing masterpieces out of ordinary things.
Such is the case with my good friend and award winning artist, Linda Drye. You can see the personality and soul of everything she paints and sculpts. I first met Drye at Franklin Square Gallery in 2008, and I instantly liked her from her colorful sea life tattoos and bold hair color to her kind and generous personality. I was really shocked that she hadn’t been an artist her entire life since she has that artist style and a quiet spark. But she didn’t touch a paintbrush until after she moved to Oak Island in 2005 after being a lifelong resident of Charlotte. She joined the Oak Is
land Senior Center and then took her first watercolor class. And taking that class was life changing for her in many ways. Making herself happy was why she started painting in the first place. Drye found herself in a dark place emotionally after suffering through a long abusive marriage, serious life threatening health issues, and having to retire early in 2002. According to Drye, making art pulled her out of that depressive state. A self -proclaimed workaholic, she explained that retiring suddenly was very difficult for her. Without working all the time, she didn’t have anything to keep her mind busy and off things. For years, she barely left the house. “If not for art, I probably would have still been in bed all the time. It’s the thing that keeps me up and going. Sometimes still, my depression tries to take over and I really have to push myself. That’s why it helps volunteering at the places I have my art because it makes me get out and makes me do more stuff which then in turn makes me happier.” About a year after taking that first water color class, someone suggested that she should enter one of her paintings in the Spring Show at the Franklin Square Gallery. “I actually won a ribbon,” Drye remembers. “I think it was an honorable mention, but I was so excited it was like 1st place to me! I had never entered a show, never dreamed of anything like that.” Then in 2009, she actually did win 1st place in the Brunswick Art Council’s show for a painting she did of a horse. “I just jumped up off the couch one night and did three horses at 8:30 at night, standing there, watching TV,” Drye said. Not only is Drye a successful 2 dimensional artist, but her vast talent has progressed to making pottery and sculptures also. Many of these have garnered her even more awards, including a recent 1st place award for a fantastic sculptural bust of the late musician, Bob Marley, fragile dreadlocks and all. The happiness that making art gives her really comes out in her work. Her bold use of colors and fearless textures give life to her subjects. “I love color and just going with a roller and brush and creating something,” Drye explains. She has taught herself many techniques and puts a lot of time into practicing things she has learned and changing things up to the next level. Ideas come to her from different places, she explains. “I usually don’t have a subject in mind when I start to paint. I just look at things in books and magazines ‘til I see a subject I like or if I think of an animal. I jump on that and just start painting colors down first and go from there.” This is a process that continues to work well for her. Being a big supporter of the arts, Drye uses the majority of her earnings to purchase pieces from other artists, and to take art classes locally and across the country. Recently, Drye took two animal workshops in AZ with a renowned sculpture artist, Mary Susan Cate. With her strong desire to learn new techniques about armature and large-scale paper clay sculpture, Drye drove clear across the country to attend these classes and brought her sculptures home intact to finish. These spectacular animal sculptures are lifelike and show the details and movement as well as the emotion and personalities of the animals. Drye is successful at the business side of art, selling her work in several venues. Her advice to new artists selling their work is to not give up. “If you are doing it to sell, don’t get discouraged because all people have opinions, good and bad,” she says. “Do what you like, and be prepared because if you started out as a hobby, it’s usually not going to support you as a living. It will still be a hobby hopefully with some good income on the side to keep you going. And join a lot of art groups and go to workshops whenever you can. It gives you a lot of insight into different art worlds. It has for me.” You can find Drye’s work at the Franklin Square Gallery and Duck, Duck Goose in Southport, the Oak Island Senior Center on Oak Island and Sunset River Marketplace in Shallotte. She also takes commission work and special orders. You can reach by email at ldrye@ec.rr.com.

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