Cara Bevan's love for animals shows throughout her work. (DEBORAH MARCUS photo)

Cara Bevan: Painter, writer, wildlife artist, animal lover

GOURD TOAD — BEVAN: It is a larger-than-life sculpture of a red American Toad. Every wart was sculpted and applied by hand and the eyes are hand-painted glass. Here, Rufus gives it a curious sniff. (CARA BEVAN photo)
GOURD TOAD — BEVAN: It is a larger-than-life sculpture of a red American Toad. Every wart was sculpted and applied by hand and the eyes are hand-painted glass. Here, Rufus gives it a curious sniff. (CARA BEVAN photo)

ASHEBORO HUB: Tell us a little bit about the journey you’ve been on as an artist.

CARA BEVAN: I grew up on a farm, and for a long time we had great numbers of rescue animals. We’ve had ducks, horses, cats and a wide array of other animals. I have always associated well with animals. I feel that I understand animals better than people. I attended school, and I did socialize somewhat there, but I do tend to be an introvert.

WRITING SPIDER — BEVAN: This painting is called ‘The Beauty of Writing.’ 18”x 24” acrylic on wood. My first ever spider painting. :) (CARA BEVAN photo)
WRITING SPIDER — BEVAN: This painting is called ‘The Beauty of Writing.’ 18”x 24” acrylic on wood. My first ever spider painting. :) (CARA BEVAN photo)

I am very close with my family, and there is a lot of work to do to run a farm, so taking care of animals and the farm, and doing my art, is how I’ve spent most of my time. Although I love all animals, I associate most closely with cats. I know cats so well! We’ve had many feral cats on the farm. They are wild, shy and some have been abused. I work with them to tame them, and I love to paint them.

I have always done artsy things, even as a young child, and although I did paint when I was younger, I made the decision to devote my time to painting on Jan. 1, 2007. Following high school, I attended the John C. Campbell Folk School in 2006 in the North Carolina mountains, doing week-long

ILLUSTRATED FROG — BEVAN: It’s a painting titled ‘You Can Dance if you Want To,’ 8.5” x11” acrylic. I painted this as my own rendition of the Looney Toons dancing frog, but a poor toad instead. My illustration style is whimsical and realistic. (CARA BEVAN photo)
ILLUSTRATED FROG — BEVAN: It’s a painting titled ‘You Can Dance if you Want To,’
8.5” x11” acrylic. I painted this as my own rendition of the Looney Toons dancing frog, but a poor toad instead. My illustration style is whimsical and realistic. (CARA BEVAN photo)

intensives and learning different art techniques. This was a wonderful experience, and reinforced my motivation to paint.

My goal has always been to show others the beauty of the animals I paint. Every animal has a story, something that makes them unique, and I want to share that with others through my work. I registered my business, Art from the Heart, in February 2008. I have enjoyed many opportunities to share my work at various community and regional art festivals as well as through my website.

In 2013, I had the opportunity to illustrate my first children’s book,

GOURD DRAGON — BEVAN: This is an ordered piece and is my largest gourd sculpted dragon. At 14” tall, she is part of my ‘earth dragon’ series. She is made of 5 gourds and is intricately sculpted with various clays. Her wings are made of wire and fabric and are flexible. In the private collection of Mary Johnson, MD. (CARA BEVAN photo)
GOURD DRAGON — BEVAN: This is an ordered piece and is my largest gourd sculpted dragon. At 14” tall, she is part of my ‘earth dragon’ series. She is made of 5 gourds and is intricately sculpted with various clays. Her wings are made of wire and fabric and are flexible. In the private collection of Mary Johnson, MD. (CARA BEVAN photo)

“Improbable … Never Impossible.” More recently, I have been working with gourds, creating sculptures out of them and painting them to look like both realistic and fantastical creatures.

HUB: Are there artists who have inspired you?

BEVAN: I have a very creative and artistic family. My mother, Kay Bevan, is a potter, and owns Four Paw Pottery in Trinity, NC. My father, Ricky Bevan, is a general contractor and he built our farm house and restored the antique barn on our farm. My younger sister, Amber, is a writer who is working on getting her first novel published!

My grandfather, Dean Spinks, was a well-known area architect for many years, and there is a part of his story that is a great inspiration to me, which has motivated me to pursue my own dreams. As I

GOURD TURTLE — BEVAN: It is a very detailed Yellow-blotched Sawback Turtle. All of its texture was hand-sculpted and the gourd is its entire shell and neck. I sculpted the rest. (CARA BEVAN photo)
GOURD TURTLE — BEVAN: It is a very detailed Yellow-blotched Sawback Turtle. All of its texture was hand-sculpted and the gourd is its entire shell and neck. I sculpted the rest. (CARA BEVAN photo)

understand it, he had a dream of being a cartoonist. He was an incredibly talented artist, but he felt that he needed to pursue a career he could count on. He was very good at what he did, but he gave up his dream, and I’ve felt that it’s important to learn from that and go for my own dreams.

My grandmother, Yvonne Spinks, is my inspiration for the gourd art that I am now creating. She was a folk artist for many

GOURD CAT — BEVAN: A life-sized cat sculpture. It's made of 9 large gourds and intricately painted to resemble a real cat named Pooka (it was a custom ordered piece). It's 13" tall. (CARA BEVAN photo)
GOURD CAT — BEVAN: A life-sized cat sculpture. It’s made of 9 large gourds and intricately painted to resemble a real cat named Pooka (it was a custom ordered piece). It’s 13″ tall. (CARA BEVAN photo)

years, and she would collect gourd seeds from the Cherokee Gourd Festival each year. I get a lot of my gourds from her as she has thousands of them!

HUB: Is there anything you’ve learned along the way so far that you would like to share here?

BEVAN: It is important to have respect and appreciation for all animals. They need to be loved for who and what they are, for they all have a purpose, a job to do. We don’t have to like them all to respect them. For many years, I was an arachnophobe. Then, some writing spiders took up residence at the front of our house. We were

ROOSTER PAINTING — BEVAN: This painting is titled 'Fowl Foreign: Garth.' 16x20" acrylic on canvas. Garth was our most colorful pet rooster (mixture of many breeds) and was found thrown from a car into a rose bush across our driveway! We rescued and took care of him; he was a great rooster. (CARA BEVAN photo)
ROOSTER PAINTING — BEVAN: This painting is titled ‘Fowl Foreign: Garth.’ 16×20″ acrylic on canvas. Garth was our most colorful pet rooster (mixture of many breeds) and was found thrown from a car into a rose bush across our driveway! We rescued and took care of him; he was a great rooster. (CARA BEVAN photo)

able to watch them through the seasons, and I developed such a great appreciation for them. They are so motherly, clever, crafty and smart! One of my first formal paintings ended up being a portrait of a writing spider.

The day you stop learning, you die. Don’t let your fears overwhelm you. Try a new technique, a new idea. If it works, keep going with it; if not, go on to other things. Every artistic endeavor I’ve attempted so far — gourd sculpting, fine art painting, book illustration — has challenged me to learn, to see

ACRYLIC BULLDOG — BEVAN: This portrait is named 'Grady White Barnes.' 8x10" acrylic on wood. (CARA BEVAN photo)
ACRYLIC BULLDOG — BEVAN: This portrait is named ‘Grady White Barnes.’ 8×10″ acrylic on wood. (CARA BEVAN photo)

what happens, what sticks and what doesn’t. Always keep learning, looking for new experiences.

Email DEBORAH MARCUS at visionsofsong@gmail.com.

 

WHERE TO SEE                CARA’S WORK

Cara Bevan: Art from the Heart
— www.carabevan.com
— NobleD9C@aol.com

— Brightside Gallery, 170 Worth Street, Asheboro

GOURD BEETLE — BEVAN: The Gourd Beetle is a ‘Goliath Beetle,’ and my first realistically sculpted gourd beetle. Made of 2 gourds, wire and clays. About 8 inches long. (CARA BEVAN photo)
GOURD BEETLE — BEVAN: The Gourd Beetle is a ‘Goliath Beetle,’ and my first realistically sculpted gourd beetle. Made of 2 gourds, wire and clays. About 8 inches long. (CARA BEVAN photo)

Also find her at these upcoming festivals:
— Aug. 13-15 — Mountain Gourd Gathering,
Cedar Mountain (Transylvania County)
— Sept. 19 — Bugfest, Raleigh
http://bugfest.org/
— Oct. 10 — High Point University Fall Festival
— Nov. 20-22 — Roy’s Folks Crafts Fair,
High Point

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