McKethan Watercolor ‘Crab Art-Attack’ Claims New Home


Swirls of blue, orange, yellow and red make an exciting focal point for the eye. Crabs say “beach” and “childhood memories.” And Pat Smith, formerly of Texas, which state also claims the blue-shelled crab, regaled artist and artist instructor Joanna McKethan of Dunn with tales of how they caught their crabs on lines. Ms. Smith hales from Texas, Virginia, Boston, Connecticut and now Dunn.

Ms. Smith came to Ms. McKethan’s j’Originals’ Art Studio/Art on Broad Atelier as an accomplished student already, although she calls herself “a late-starting amateur artist who paints occasionally.”

“She has turned out some terrific paintings there, so it was particularly flattering to have her fall in love with one of my newest paintings,” Ms. McKethan said.

It was done on a 22- by 30-inch, 300-pound Arches watercolor paper, a painting entered into several juried art shows, most notably, however, selected for the 72nd Juried Exhibition of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina at Greensboro College in Greensboro in October 2017.

The show was juried and judged by nationally-acclaimed watercolorist Mary Whyte where it won the Golden Artist Colors Award. Ms. McKethan is a signature member of WSNC.

The painting hung in the Anne Rudd Galyon and Irene Cullis Galleries in the Cowan Building at Greensboro College from Oct. 15 to Nov. 18, 2017. There was a debut gala weekend Oct. 14 and 15, 2017, and the painting was also honored in the WSNC 72nd art exhibition catalog, as well as being selected for the follow-on WSNC Traveling Show.

With the traveling show, the painting hung first at the Florence Thomas Art School in West Jefferson from Dec. 1, 2017, to Jan. 13, 2018.

It then traveled to Theatre Art Galleries in High Point, where it was on view until Jan. 25 to March 29.

Finally, the show including her painting hung at Edward C. Smith Civic Center in Lexington, from April 4 to May 19.

Ms. McKethan loves the spontaneity of watercolor, the challenge of a puzzle, and the brilliant-colored blue-shelled crabs caught and encased by a simple-yet-complex spiral net.

“I took multiple pictures of the crabs caught on the pier near Carolina Beach, and produced two paintings. I loved the spiraling rope that issued the challenge of leaving white paper by painting bright colors in reverse up to it. The crabs would’ve bitten my toes off, if they could have. They are a wonderfully-crafted map of color. I loved every minute of my 40 to 60 hours of painting them! I must say as well, they are very tasty,” she said.

“Crab Art-Attack” had several admirers before choosing to go to its new home with Pat Smith, mother of Cara Shackelford, both now being from Dunn. Ms. Smith has lived around and about. She and her husband have four children all over the U.S. and landed in Ms. McKethan’s studio in Dunn after their meeting as her daughter Cara’s guest at Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR)’s Cornelius-Harnett Chapter before its shut down.

Joanna McKethan is a native of Dunn, daughter of deceased Joseph H. Allred and Mary Smith Allred and the 37-year-long owner of a downtown art business.


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