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'Art of Geology' art exhibit will spark up Marion

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MARION, Va. — A Bluff City, Tennessee, artist will exhibit her mixed media art work throughout October at Art on 16 Contemporary Gallery in Marion, Virginia.

Every piece of Susan Connelly McClelland’s artwork communicates her fascination with gems, minerals and all things natural.

An opening reception for the guest artist is 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the gallery at 324 S. Commerce St. Her exhibit, “The Art of Geology,” will feature more than 30 pieces of her artwork.

The artist, who leaned toward studying geology in college, uses encaustic paint and resins to create depth, layers and jewel-like colors of gems and semiprecious stones.

“I was always the tomboy when I was growing up, playing in the creek and searching for rocks. I’ve always been attracted to rocks,” said McClelland, a native of western North Carolina.

After working as a professional interior designer and faux painter, McClellan became a full-time artist in 2013, using her artistic talents to create compositions that represent her love of minerals.

“After spending all those years being creative for other people, I finally got the chance to create art on my own terms,” said the artist.

McClelland built her studio, In Color Studio, and made the switch to fine art full time.

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“I was born with a gift. From the time I was old enough to hold a pencil, I drew, I sculpted, I painted,” McClelland said on her website.

“At this point in my life, I finally have a haven to bring all of these experiences into one space that I call In Color Studio.”

Her love for geology and all things natural has never faltered.

She collects many of gems and minerals at local shows in the Hickory and Spruce Pine, North Carolina, areas.

Observing them under a magnifying glass, the artist studies the landscapes, layers and colors of each stone before using an ancient art technique called encaustic painting. The technique is a process of using heated beeswax to which color pigments are added. The mixture is applied to a surface, using other elements — such as joint compound, epoxy and gold leaf — to create layers.

McClelland received a bachelor of fine arts degree from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

As a faux painter, she has completed countless projects, both commercial and residential. Her work has been shown at many venues in the area, and she has completed numerous commission pieces for designers in High Point, North Carolina; Sea Grove Beach, Florida; Berkeley, California.

Her work was selected by jury for the Jonesborough Open Juried Art Exhibition 2017 and 2018. She was also selected by jury for The Journeys of Women Art Show at the McKinney Center for 2017 and 2018.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Art on 16 Contemporary Gallery at 801-318-8419, visit, or find them on Facebook, or on Instagram: @arton16gallery.

Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at

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