August’s featured artist at Thistle Cottage is Lucinda Scharf, commonly known in the area as Rooti Patooti.
Scharf, a local artist, is well known in the region for her artwork. Her show at Thistle Cottage opens Aug. 1 and will remain open throughout the month of August. She will visit Thistle Cottage from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 17 for an open house and reception in honor of her show. Light refreshments will be provided. Everyone is invited to join us to meet the artist and view and discuss her work!
Scharf’s biography and artist statement is posted below.
Artist Lucinda Scharf, a.k.a. Rooti Patooti, is celebrating her 15th year as a fulltime artist. She
lives in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, among the rolling farmlands leading to Lake Malone and
finds endless inspiration there. She creates the majority of her paintings in her home studio and
then transports them to where they are to be displayed and sold. Other artwork is sold directly
from her studio to customers shopping online via facebook.
Lucinda Scharf has been creating her entire life, but it wasn’t until moving to Rosewood,
Kentucky, 15 years ago, that she had an actual art studio and allowed creating art to take over
her life. In short order, Scharf had a multitude of paintings that needed an audience, and with
the aid of her ever-supportive husband, Dr, Craig Scharf, they opened their home to the public
to view her paintings. For seven years, the weekends were dedicated to open studio visits, talks
and tours and the remaining time to painting and tending their homestead. It was always
interesting and a rewarding time. But when the dream opportunity presented itself for Scharf to
become a working store artist for a new business in an old historic downtown, she couldn’t resist
the new challenge. So Scharf closed her home gallery and began welcoming the public to
experience her art in a new setting at the store called On Main.
Many have come to associate the name “Rooti Patooti” with this bustling On Main store in
downtown Greenville, Kentucky, where Scharf has been store artist since 2009. On Main is
owned and run by the highly creative mother and daughter team of Vicki Slinker and Sabrina
Scott. Scharf collaborates with them to design art that complements the store’s seasonal look
and vibe or to fill niches and needs within the community. The store is a hub of ideas and
activity for home and lake decor, fashion, gift giving, and of course Rooti Patooti’s Art. Scharf
also fills special order commissions as time permits. At Christmastime, many people have
created the tradition of gifting Rooti Patooti’s original whimsical snowmen and delight in telling
the artist about who they are giving them to this year. Scharf especially enjoys being in the store
during the Christmas season and will pull up a spot in the store to create small original art as
she visits. Customers are free to watch and ask questions and she is often able to design a
special snowman gift while customers do their downtown shopping.
This August is Scharf’s first exhibit at Thistle Cottage in Greenville, Kentucky, but she is no
stranger to this location. Scharf was artist in residence at this location for seven years when it
was known as the Duncan Cultural Center. She exhibited numerous times over the years,
created yearbook cover art, taught soft pastel art classes and volunteered time and resources.
Scharf is a self-taught artist who has always found ways to express herself with her hands.
Everything she sees is art! As a child, she was imprinted with the love for being outdoors, the
awesomeness of nature, and places less traveled, especially old downtowns. While growing up,
she spent her free time playing outside with siblings in their big yard, farmers’ fields, and in the
river and mountains by her home. Tending to a variety of animals at home and helping in family
gardens also cultivated a respect and fascination for living things and their characteristics.
These early life experiences and sense of wonder, respect and humbleness, are always
evidenced in the paintings she creates and how she lives out her adult life.
As you look at Scharf’s paintings in this month’s exhibit, you’ll notice that they are behind glass,
but look like they could be oil paintings. These paintings were created by using soft pastels (dry,
pure pigments that have been pressed into what looks like chalk). These paintings could
actually smear if displayed without the protection of glass. Since Scharf is a very hands on
person, she finds painting with soft pastels (pastels) to be a satisfying way to get her hands
dirty. When she paints, she picks up the pastel with her bare fingers and rubs it upon a rough
textured surface, layer-after- layer, one color at a time. The building up of layers of different
colors is how the pastel medium mixes, unlike with other forms of painting which require blobs
of wet paint to be mixed on a pallet and then applied to a painting with a brush. Soft pastel
painting is hands on, no brushes are required, and no drying time is needed.
What is also unique about pastel art is that it began as a primitive art form; think caveman
drawings made with plant pigments smeared onto walls. In later centuries pastels were used to
make sketches that were then painted over with oil paint. Pastels were not even considered a
painting medium until the 19th century. Scharf gives thanks to some of her favorite artists like
Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt who made her passion for pastel painting a viable and valuable
art medium today.
Scharf’s body of artwork for this month’s exhibit represent the land and observations in nature
that are close to her home and heart. The essence of Rooti Patooti’s art is joyfulness,
brightness and reverence which spills forth from rambles among quiet lanes, gardens, hillsides,
rivers, fields and streams. Don’t be surprised if after viewing the exhibit that you find the sudden
urge to go out for a walk!
(Photos and artist statement/bio courtesy of Lucinda Scharf)