If there is one thing Stephanie Westgate believes in, it’s following a whim.
“I followed my whim, whether it was working with clay, beading, painting, felting or playing with plaster,” she said. “I was the mom who would bring glitter, paint and clay into my children’s classrooms and do mini-pop-up art lessons.”
Only a comparatively small number of people have been able to appreciate Westgate’s vision up to now. But all that is about to change next weekend.
The Chamber Gallery, 27 N. Main St. in Carbondale, will present a new exhibit, “The Whimsical Musings of Stephanie Westgate,” with an opening reception on Saturday, Feb. 10, 7-9 p.m.
“The 30-piece collection forms the fascinating, eclectic and imaginative art in Stephanie Westgate’s uniquely original style, said Ruthanne Jones, director of the Chamber Gallery. “Westgate’s work possesses the complete joy and freedom of an artist who truly loves the process of art and gives free reign to experimentation and spontaneity in all mediums with great versatility, rooted in honesty, heart and truth.”
Currently, Stephanie’s whimsical musings have steered her toward oil painting, alcohol ink, acrylic pouring and pottery. She is a member of a local art group called Palette Pals located in Forest City. It’s there that she learned to express herself with oil-based paints.
Her creative expression has also evolved into music. Stephanie is also a member of the community-based ukulele troupe; “The Kennedy Creek Strummers.” The group will performing at the reception.
“My day job is as a speech language pathologist and I’ve been working with kids for more than 30 years,” Westgate said. “Although I was a paper and tape sculptor in my youth, it wasn’t until I first started working with children that I discovered a real need to create. At the age of 22, I started out slowly by following the lines of stenciling on sweatshirts. Then I dared to imagine. I started to paint freehand on sweatshirts, t-shirts and sneakers…it was the ’80s after all.
Since then Westgate has been a jewelry maker, a pottery maker and more.
“For many of my daughter’s teen years, I hosted Camp Whimsy in my studio. The aim of Camp Whimsy was to bring forth the imagination and creativity of young artists by exploring various creative mediums to fully express their artistic style. It also gave me an opportunity to explore new mediums such as alcohol ink, mosaics and batik.”
Refreshments will be served at the reception; admission is free. For more information visit “The Chamber Gallery” on Facebook.