Gayle Woody

The walls of Sylva’s Gallery 1 will soon be decked with art reflecting the natural world when the work of local artist Gayle Woody is up.

“Regardless of the medium, my artistic expression celebrates the patterns, colors and forms I witness living in the Great Smoky Mountains,” Woody said.

Her father, Clayton Barker, was a naturalist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and instilled an appreciation of the diversity and uniqueness of local flora and fauna in Woody at an early age.

“I am inspired by the beauty of God’s creation, and I enjoy taking a natural form, such as a salamander, and creating artwork exploring that form in various medium such as a ceramic tile, drawing, painting or print,” she said.

Woody has recently delved into paper-making, using natural fibers and plants to color and strengthen the paper.

“I especially enjoy using paper made from grinding up paper wasp nests,” she said. “This is ‘nature’s paper’ and I especially enjoy printing on this beautifully organic surface.”

She gets paper wasp nests from friends and neighbors for her art, the most recent one coming from a large poplar tree, she said.

She has recently been influenced by the Art Nouveau style.

“I appreciate the asymmetrical, linear patterns and the emphasis on organic shapes and strong sinuous lines,” she said. “These qualities translate well in plant forms, my most frequently chosen subject. This style has influenced my use of color as I have evolved from bright, bold color to more subtle, muted values.”

Woody calls her Facebook page and workspace “BarkWood Studios,” a combination of her maiden and married names, she said.

Gallery 1, 604 W. Main St. in Sylva, will host a reception for Woody at 5 p.m. Friday.

Regular Gallery 1 hours are Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday noon-4 p.m., and open by appointment other days by contacting art@gallery1sylva.com.