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Prolonging the Perfection of a Beautiful Blossom | By Shannon Ward

Ethel Ethington, a licensed marriage and family therapist who is also a talented artist, will have her photographic work featured in the Matthews Arts Alive Festival in Matthews, NC on Labor Day weekend. Ethington draws inspiration from Georgia O’Keeffe, and like the famous painter, her primary subject matter is flowers. Though she has a general love of nature, Ethington says she has an inclination toward flowers because she “can have a longstanding relationship with them. It’s not like a bird that flies off a few seconds after landing.” She particularly likes irises for their vibrant, purple color. For her favorite photograph, she pieced scraps from damaged and discarded orchids into a single bloom against a black background. Many of her works use abstract as well as realistic expression and feature isolated blooms or small groupings with emphasis on color and lighting.

A native of Georgia, Ethington moved to Fayetteville in 1980 and has been practicing photography for the last twenty years. She says she enjoys it because “you just kind of lose yourself when you’re taking a photograph. You lose yourself in the moment. Everything else just falls by the wayside.” Though Ethington has had no formal training, she has studied with other photographers. She finds the photographic medium appealing because “it speaks to both sides. The technical side, the side of science, deals with things like color, composition, form; and the creative side deals with how everything comes together. It speaks to balance.”

In addition to being featured at the Arts Alive Festival, Ethington’s work is displayed at the Art & Soul gallery in downtown Fayetteville and at the Sunset River Art Gallery in Calabash. Ethington is pleased with people’s responses to her work. She says, “My favorite is when they say, ‘This is like Georgia O’Keefe!’” She hopes that “people come away with whatever feeling that inspire.”