North Carolina artist Stephen Shoemaker and Our State magazine writer Janet Pittard have teamed up to write Stephen Shoemaker: The Paintings and Their Stories. A West Jefferson, NC, native, Shoemaker is known for his dramatic railroad paintings and scenes of life in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant in downtown West Jefferson will be the site of the book launch, where together with publisher McFarland, they will be welcoming the public to meet the authors on Wednesday, February 27, at 5:00 PM.
Criticized for doodling too much in class, Shoemaker took his first art lessons at age 10 with Flossie Farr and Archie Black in the old block building across the street from the West Jefferson Elementary School. Since, he’s gone on to be featured by UNC-TV, Our State magazine, and the Mint Museum in Charlotte, among other outlets.
“The art and stories are about things that most people can identify with,” said Shoemaker recently. “The book is basically about local events and growing up in this area.”
The art book includes Shoemaker favorites such as his Virginia Creeper series, and also includes pieces created especially for the publication.
“There’s a lot of lively storytelling, but the book also sheds light on an artist’s thought processes and how inspiration is drawn from our region’s unique culture and history,” said coauthor Janet Pittard.
According to Shoemaker and Pittard, the joint project has been more than two years in the making. Working with McFarland, who also had released The Art of Florence Thomas, was a natural fit. McFarland is known for its topnotch, serious books aimed at the library market, and was experienced with the ultra-high design and printing standards required for art books.
The book launch is open to the public, begins at 5:00 and will run until approximately 7:30. The authors will be autographing books, and McFarland will have copies on site for sale at a special launch price. Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant will be providing entrée discounts for diners who buy a book and stay for supper. Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant can be contacted at 336-246-5222 or online at www.boondocks-brewing.com. McFarland can be reached at 336-246-4460 or online at www.mcfarlandpub.com.