Virginia Western Community College art professor Sue Steele Thomas will debut several new pieces including works featuring famous Italian marques at the Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS) exhibit during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 16 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The AFAS exhibit has been sponsored by The Lincoln Motor Company for 20 years and will showcase the latest creations of the finest automotive artists in the world in Carmel, California. Thomas is an associate AFAS member.
“I was mentored to be very different in my painting style,” said Thomas. “I love nature and automobiles so I wanted to make something in nature to reflect the mold of the car. I placed the botanicals on top of the car to show my imagination because you wouldn’t see it in reality. I feel like I’ve been successful if my work stops people because it’s different.”
Thomas, who is known for her magnificent use of color and abstract shapes, will feature “Alfa Romeo Through the Shasta Daisies,” a 17.5 inches x 27.5 inches gouache. Thomas uses bright colors to depict the beautiful 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Speciale “LeMans” Touring with an imaginative and conceptual botanical overlay. She skillfully layers the red and yellow daisies over the red vehicle to make a unique composition.
Thomas teaches drawing, design, watercolor, illustration and art history. She is also the assistant program head for the art department and program head for the humanities department that includes music, religion and philosophy.
“My advanced watercolor college students were creating inspiring pieces with flowers as their subjects,” said Thomas. “Their work inspired me to use similar greenery in this painting. The Alfa Romeo and Shasta daisies were created to be equally important. The boldness of the red colors makes for an intense and rich composition.”
Thomas has won awards at many Concours d’Elegance automotive art shows across the country. Her paintings have been exhibited in numerous juried, invitational and illustration exhibits. Thomas’ art will be displayed later this year at the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance on June 12-14 in Ohio and the Keenland Concours d’Elegance on July 16-19 in Kentucky.