Last time

Rick Carraway and his father, Jake Carraway, set nets to catch fish in South River as Rick’s dog Tyler watches in this drawing by Bruce Tarkington. This was drawn from a photograph Mr. Tarkington said was taken by “Betty” on the last day the two men would fish together before Jake Carraway died. The orignal, on loan from its owners Roy and Katy McDonald of Durham, is one of many of Mr. Tarkington’s drawings that will be on display at the Core Sound Museum Store’s Morehead City location starting Saturday, May 25. (Contributed photo)

Artist Bruce Tarkington will host his work depicting Down East at the Core Sound Museum’s store in Morehead City, and there will be an opening reception for the works.

The reception for the show, “Down East NC – Beyond the North River” will take place in the store’s upstairs gallery from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, May 25. The store is located at 806 Arendell St.

“This is our first exhibition at 806 and we are very pleased to host Bruce’s first-ever-in-Carteret-County exhibition of Down East images,” said Karen Amspacher, museum executive director. “His excitement is contagious, and we very much needed his enthusiasm and willingness to work in this new venue. It already has added much to our 806 outreach to invite all who visit Downtown Morehead City to learn more about Down East.”

The exhibit will be filled with charcoal, pastel and colored pencil drawings by Mr. Tarkington.

In a message to his followers on Facebook, Mr. Tarkington encouraged everyone to come see his work.

“I know all your Facebook pictures, I’ve texted so many of you, I’ve seen your kids, I’ve heard your stories, I’ve seen things you thought were interesting enough to post, and now I’m going to finally put a voice with those of you I’ve never met face to face before. Aren’t you kinda curious too?” the post reads. “I’ll be hanging at least 32 good size drawings from the REAL Down East and as many as ten Ocracoke drawings as a bonus. That’s 42 pictures hanging you can look at to try recognize where I found them when I went on my search right in your backyards almost two years ago.”

Mr. Tarkington was born in Sea Level in the 1950s and lived in Beaufort.

He grew up in Winston-Salem and graduated from N.C. State University and Auburn University with a veterinary degree.

After he retired in 2010, Mr. Tarkington picked up drawing.

“I mainly learn by looking at art in our NC State Museum of Art, seeing what the great artists have done and what I like,” Mr. Tarkington said in a biography statement. “I try to emulate a realism style of art that is pretty much just what it sounds like...trying for photographic detail but ideally drawing subjects people would usually overlook and not really appreciate on a typical day. It’s the style of artists like Andrew Wyeth.”

Since he started drawing, Mr. Tarkington has had solo exhibits in Cary, “Carolina Seascapes” and “Down East NC – Beyond the North River.”

He has juried through two committees and was asked to draw a collection for the Cape Lookout National Seashore, which won the People’s Choice Award in a Cary art contest.

He was also asked by the N.C. Capitol Foundation to draw a five-picture series of the North Carolina Capitol and presented his collection “First Fallen” to Gov. Roy Cooper in 2018. It is currently hanging in the executive mansion.

Mr. Tarkington said he is thrilled to bring the sequel to his Cary exhibit to Morehead City, which he considers “one of my biggest and happiest achievements to date.”

This exhibition is the culmination of one to two years of work drawing scenes of eastern Carteret County and the surrounding areas known as Down East.

“The people of this area are fiercely proud of their heritage and traditions and are truly the salt of the earth kind of people I’ve had the pleasure to become better acquainted with since deciding to draw this beautiful area,” Mr. Tarkington said in an email statement. “It’s my privilege to have been born in the heart of the Down East in the community of Sea Level where our family had a house close-by in Beaufort as well as in Gloucester…right on the Straits.”

Those who attend the reception will receive a handout explaining a bit about each drawing and why Mr. Tarkington decided to draw the subject.

“To enjoy a special exhibit dedicated to a cultural or regional area like this one, it’s important to read what each drawing is about...that’s how to fully appreciate it,” he said. “It’s not just charcoal, pastel, and colored pencil you’re looking’s a big part of a lot of people’s lives.

“These are the peaceful scenes from my childhood that have helped to put me to sleep at night ever since I can remember...white boats on still water. It’s not your imagination that these drawings seem to be so full of feeling and emotion...they really are,” he said.

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