An Evening with Bob Timberlake
Acclaimed realist painter, designer, and author Bob Timberlake filled the house at Walter’s autumn gathering. On the brisk evening of Oct. 25, 110 Timberlake fans convened at 214 Martin Street in downtown’s historic City Market to hear his stories: about life, about painting, about the outdoors, and about North Carolina.
The room at Cobblestone Hall welcomed both outdoors and art lovers. Many of them, Timberlake included, drove some distance to be there. Also among them was award-winning outdoors writer T. Edward Nickens, whose book, Bob Timberlake’s Letter to Home, was published in April. Nickens led the evening’s program, a candid conversation about their shared love of the outdoors, people, and Southern craft. “This is North Carolina’s artist laureate,” Nickens said.
After a meal of Western-style barbecue, a nod to Lexington, North Carolina, where Timberlake calls home, Timberlake shared the inspiration behind many of his iconic paintings. His work is celebrated for its attention to detail, a style he says offers time to meditate on each scene and subject. “My job was to watch shadows move over blackberries,” he said of one particular piece.
Although he’s painted all of his life, Timberlake recieved no formal training and said he was 30 before he saw an original piece of art. Since then, and with guidance from his mentor Andrew Wyeth, the 80-year-old’s work has been exhibited at galleries nationwide.
Timberlake is also a skilled furniture designer. His World of Bob Timberlake furniture collection is considered among the most successful in the history of furniture manufacturing. He donated the prototype cherry wood dresser that helped him launch that collection to the N.C. Museum of History, and it was on display at 214 Martin Street during the event.
Timberlake’s warm candor left many audience members feeling as if they were spending an evening in the artist’s home. Whenever a guest asked about one of his dozens of awards and accolades, Timberlake would weave an answer out of an endearing tale. “It’s not our talents in life that make us successful, sometimes, it’s our choices.”
One thing is certain: Timberlake’s love of the rural South and of the outdoors underlies his art, his designs, his businesses, his volunteerism, and his free time.
The evening was made possible by the presenting sponsorship of Great Outdoor Provision Company. Lonerider Brewing Company, Raleigh Brewing Company, and Trophy Brewing tapped the suds; Westgate Wine poured the vino; TOPO organic spirits created a delightful menu of craft cocktails; and 214 Martin Street prepared the stick-to-your ribs meal (menu at left). Green Front Interiors provided a handsome setting for Nickens and Timberlake’s conversation; and Attended Events brought the audiovisual and lighting to life. Timberlake remained long after the event ended, signing copies of his books and chatting with guests who had already become friends.