Carlynne Hershberger points out some of the details on one of her bird’s nest artworks titled “Tornado” at Gallery B – An Art Collective on East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala, Fla. on Friday, July 16, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.
Prolific local artist enjoys roles as gallerist and grandmother
After decades as a professional artist, Carlynne Hershberger continues to paint nature-inspired works and create lifelike colored pencil portraits. Now she also shares art with the community and a new generation in her roles as gallerist and grandmother.
Hershberger is one of five co-owners of Gallery B, an art collective that opened in 2019 after beginning as a pop-up gallery in the space next to Greiner’s on East Silver Springs Boulevard. Many of her pieces currently on exhibit there come from her “Nests” and “Landscape” series.
Both experienced and beginning painters are invited to participate in Hershberger’s Monday afternoon open studio class at the gallery, which she says allows her to function as an “art coach.”
“Everyone brings in their own pieces and whatever they’re working on, in whatever media they want. They’re working on their own project at their own pace; I’m just there to help them and guide them when they get stuck and if they have questions. We paint together.”
The class also provides vital camaraderie and inspiration, Hershberger said.
“Even though you’re doing different things, you can always be inspired by what someone else is doing, by someone else’s process and how they go about it. Some folks use the class because they don’t have a studio at home, and they want someplace to paint. They want the encouragement, and they want other people around when they paint. It’s like a little social club sometimes, too.”
Hershberger is well known in the community for painting four Horse Fever horses, including “Home Sweet Home,” a sky-blue horse adorned with birds’ nests, which was part of the new Horse Fever 20/20 herd that debuted earlier this year. Her “Nests” series has included nearly 100 acrylic and mixed media pieces. It all started years ago, she said, when a family of wrens built a nest in her mailbox.
“I was tracking them and watching the birds hatch,” she recalled, “and then I kept the nest from the mailbox. I saved it in my studio. Having the actual nest in hand was neat because I got to see how they’re constructed. Birds are very creative when it comes to building their homes.”
Nature has always been her inspiration, said Hershberger, who is part of a very creative family – her mother, grandmother and an uncle were painters, and her husband, Mark Hershberger, is also an artist. The couple, who celebrates their 40th wedding anniversary in August, now enjoys passing their love of art on to their grandchildren, who range in age from 5 to 22.
“We work with the younger ones all the time,” she said with a smile. “They come to us and say, ‘How do I draw this?’ and we help them with their drawing skills. Even if they don’t practice it, I want them to know about art and to experience it and appreciate it. It can do nothing but better your life. Art benefits everybody.”