Virginia Western Community College art professor Sue Steele Thomas, whose automotive paintings have garnered national acclaim, will have a homecoming of sorts with a solo exhibit titled “Automotive Elegance: Works by Sue Steele Thomas” from May 23-Aug. 26 at the O. Winston Link Museum and History Museum of Western Virginia. A free opening reception will be held from 2-5 p.m. on May 21, and a Museum Talk Meet the Artist event with Thomas will be held at 6 p.m. on July 12.

Thomas imbeds images of classic automobiles with colorful flowers and nature to create stunning visuals. She traces her love of cars back to her father repairing vehicles when she was a child.

“I am motivated by competition and passion to become a better painter with every project,” Thomas said. “Each new painting creates a challenge with its complexity and juxtaposition of colorful shapes.”

Thomas, who has taught at Virginia Western since 2001, continues to inspire students and find inspiration from their fresh passion for art. She curates the annual juried student art show at Virginia Western’s Spring Fling event, which will be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 14 in the Pedestrian Bridge.

“I tell my students that they can do or be anything with hard work, dedication and strong discipline,” Thomas said. “I sincerely practice what I preach to my students.”

For more information about seeing Thomas’ exhibit, visit the O. Winston Link Museum website at: http://roanokehistory.org/. The Historical Society of Western Virginia operates the museums in the historic train passenger station near Hotel Roanoke.

WHAT:       Automotive Elegance: Works by Sue Steele Thomas

WHEN:       May 23-Aug. 26; Opening reception from 2-5 p.m. on May 21; Meet the Artist at 6 p.m. on July 12

WHERE:     O. Winston Link Museum and History Museum of Western Virginia, 101 Shenandoah Ave., Roanoke.