Carol Iglesias – Meet the Artist

A Plein Air Impressionist, Carol was awarded a prestigious Artist Residency at “Les Amis de la Grande Vigne” in Dinan, France, the former home and studio of famous French artist Yvonne Jean-Haffen.

Her painting was selected for the Museum’s collection and was on exhibition in France during 2013 and 2019. Carol is a member of American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America, Pastel Society of America and Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. Her paintings are in collections throughout the U.S. as well as five other countries.

The work of plein air impressionist Carol Iglesias, captures the very essence of her experiences throughout her well-traveled life. She invites the viewer to share in her love of the world and entices with her bold use of color and light. One painting may depict an appreciation of architecture and in another, colorful reflections on water.

Carol Iglesias was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her early years brought her to Calgary, Alberta, then onto Bainbridge Island, Washington and eventually to Virginia where she settled for many years. She now lives on Hilton Head Island, SC, and works out of a studio offering an abundance of natural light and spectacular views.

Like many artists, Carol’s love of art began at an early age. “My parents were very supportive of my interest in art and furthering my skills.” Carol’s mother would take her from their home on Bainbridge Island, crossing the Puget Sound by ferry, to art classes at the Seattle Art Museum. Her exposure to art was further enhanced by frequently visiting regional art shows and taking multiple art classes throughout high school. She was awarded an Art Scholarship to Olympic College in Washington, where she received an Associates of Arts Degree.

She continued her studies at the New School of Visual Concepts in Seattle before joining her friend, teacher and mentor, Jane Wallis in her private studio.

Several years after putting her paints away to raise her family, Carol embarked on a three week painting excursion with Wallis, opening her back up to all of the passion she had felt since her time in college. Simply put, “I knew I would paint again after raising my family.”

Carol’s influence comes from the great impressionists: Monet, Cezanne, Cassatt, Sargent, Renoir, Degas, and Van Gogh, as well as the contemporary, well-established teachers who she has taken workshops with including Kevin MacPherson, Albert Handel, Liz Haywood Sullivan, Richard McKinley, Desmond O’Hagan, Maggie Price, Doug Dawson, Susan Ogilvie, Marla Baggetta, Aline Ordman, and Jane Wallis. Iglesias has attended Plein Air Magazines, Plein Air Convention in San Diego, Santa Fe & San Francisco, participated in the Plein Air Painters’ U.S. Open on Whidbey Island, Washington and continues to paint plein air in locations all over the world. These include France, Italy,  the Netherlands, the Caribbean, Greece, Glacier National Park, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, California and other locations around the U.S.  She has exhibited her paintings extensively at galleries, museums and international shows.


Doris Jones Vargas – Meet the Artist

Creator of Wearable Art

Doris is the Creative Mind behind Expressive Flair Earrings. She specializes in crafting unique and expressive earrings. With a degree in Art and years of teaching experience Doris finally found a way to let her creativity shine through her stunning designs. Her inspiration comes from beautiful artwork presented in a distinct and innovative manner.

Doris and Bluffton, SC artist Ginny Cassidy have teamed up to create amazing earrings. Doris incorporates Ginny’s beautiful paintings to make her designs.

How are the earrings made? 

Doris explains her process to transform Ginny Cassidy’s paintings into wearable art.

Big, Bold and Expressive! These boutique collections of earrings bring together jewelry design and art. Her work can be found at the SOBA Gallery.

SOBA’s 30th Anniversary

Join Us for SOBA’s 30th Anniversary Kickoff Event!

To mark the beginning of a year-long celebration honoring three decades of creativity and artistry, the SOBA Gallery is thrilled to invite you to our kickoff event FOR OUR CAMPAIGN CELEBRATING THAT SOBA IS “30 ON THE 30TH ” IN 2024. On January 30th embrace the festive spirit as we embark on this remarkable milestone together.

Event Highlights:

  • Exclusive 20% Off: Delight in a special treat ON JANUARY 30th ONLY as we offer a generous 20% discount on every item showcased within the gallery INCLUDING CLASSES. It’s our way of expressing gratitude for your continued support over the years.

  • Delectable Cake: Indulge your taste buds with delectable treats! Join us in savoring scrumptious cake, adding sweetness to this auspicious occasion.
  • Artistic Presents: Prepare to be captivated by the artistic prowess of our talented artists INSIDE THE GALLERY.
  • Hand-Painted Bookmarks: Discover the charm of hand-painted bookmarks created by our 30th Anniversary committee artists. These exquisite bookmarks are tokens of appreciation for our cherished guests


Event Details:

Date: January 30th
Duration: All-day event
Location: SOBA Gallery
Address: 6 Church Street, Bluffton, SC
Time: 10:00 – 5:00

SOBA’s Annual High School Art Show – 2024

The student art show will run Feb. 5-March 3 with an opening reception from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 11

The Society of Bluffton Artists will feature the artwork of local students in their annual high school art show, slated for Feb. 5-March 3. An opening reception will take place from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 11 at the SOBA gallery, located at 6 Church Street in Old Town Bluffton.

“I like being able to display my work so that more than my peers and parents can see what I do,” said Katherine Donahue, a junior AP May River High School student whose work will exhibit at SOBA.

This year, three schools are participating in the student art exhibit: Bluffton High School, May River High School and Cross School. High school students involved in their schools’ arts programs often go on to pursue careers in art, design or photography.

“SOBA’s mission is to provide art education and art appreciation to the local community,” said Lynn Newsom, SOBA event organizer. “With this annual high school art show, we’re able to give students an opportunity for public recognition for their talents and achievements, the same that is given to student athletes, science projects and music concerts.”

John Cullinen, Arts Teacher at Cross Upper School, said Cross School has a growing arts program including photography, digital and traditional art. This year, five students will exhibit their works in digital photography, digital painting and digital mixed media.

“We are excited to participate again this year and appreciate the opportunity to showcase our work in the community,” Cullinen said. 

Five students from Bluffton High School’s art program will exhibit works that include media arts, photography, acrylic and clay. 

May River High School’s visual art department strives to develop a strong foundation in art and design within each student while giving them the opportunity to refine skills as they develop their voices as young artists, said Beth Schlieger, Visual Art Department Chair.

“From utilitarian to aesthetic, students have created works for the SOBA Art Show that both reflect who they are while responding to the intended audience,” she said.

SOBA does not charge a commission from the sales of the student work; it is our gift to nurture young talent. 

Pete Schramm – Meet the Artist

I was born and raised in a small row house on a busy city street in Philadelphia, PA. As a child with a bike, I was able to explore as many parts of the city as my legs would propel me to. To this day memories of those experiences have influenced my art, in that, I am often drawn to gritty urban settings for my images.

As a child, I began snapping photos with a Kodak Brownie camera gifted to me one Christmas. Back then, much to my family’s amusement, I often captured street scenes instead of typical family pictures. By the late 90s, I showcased my photos at an Asbury Park, NJ art gallery near our home, marking the onset of photography becoming a serious art form in my life.

Moving to the Lowcountry in 2001, I discovered creative inspiration along the pristine waters of Beaufort County. The untouched natural landscapes, including wading bird rookeries, small islands, and isolated salt marsh hammocks, serve as a reminder of a bygone era slowly succumbing to the encroaching sea. These islands, barely above water and surrounded by wetlands, embody ancient geological and natural history spanning hundreds of thousands of years.

Consequently, my artistic focus remains tethered to these waterscapes, whether it’s a beach, salt marsh, or moist pine forest. Additionally, I’ve forged a deep connection with the region’s history, reflected in the surviving Lowcountry homes and the heritage of the Gullah people who were once enslaved to toil in their masters’ fields. Living among their descendants, I’ve found a profound link to the past that also influences my work.

Fine art history significantly inspires my photography. As a Master Docent at the Telfair Museums, I’ve delved into various art movements, learning from paintings and drawings. Photography, a relatively new art form, draws immense inspiration from other mediums. You don’t need an art degree to appreciate and learn from it. I supplement my knowledge through museum visits, exhibitions, books, and online archives.

My favorite time to create is during the ‘golden hour’—the hour before sunset or after sunrise. This period offers optimal lighting for captivating photos, and as an early riser, I prefer sunrise.

Photography holds the ability to preserve moments and scenes in timeless images, capturing a record of the past that remains eternally unchanged. It’s a pursuit akin to civilized hunting, but non-destructive, leaving only footprints while allowing the subject to endure.
Crafting a compelling photograph involves an artist’s skill in framing elements within the composition. The success or failure of a photo often hinges on this aspect, requiring conscious decisions on what to include or exclude in the frame and how to arrange the elements present.

Staying motivated as a photographer is linked to passion. Finding purpose in exploration drives my work, allowing me to shift styles and subjects. This purpose shapes my vision and creativity, keeping my motivation and passion alive.

In the realm of photography, mastering technical skills and processes is crucial. I’ve encountered setbacks with different vendors’ offerings in the past. Currently, I rely on a Canon camera connected to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Printing is integral, and I use a Canon printer for smaller images and various commercial vendors for larger prints, often on canvas or metal.

To succeed as a self-artist and enhance your craft, consistent practice is essential. Nobody is born with innate expertise; even renowned artists like Garry Winogrand started with no skills. Winogrand took around 5,850,000 photos in his life—roughly 445 daily in the film era.

Photographers face creative blocks too. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve captured everything or lack the motivation to shoot. To overcome this, I resort to certain methods:

  • Set a photo project: Creating themes like monochromatic shots or using a single lens (e.g., 50mm) pushes me to explore and experiment.
  • Explore diverse perspectives: Similar to how Monet painted the Rouen Cathedral multiple times, shooting a subject in various ways – different times, lighting, angles – offers a therapeutic and rewarding challenge.
  • Exercise patience: Creative blocks aren’t catastrophic. They’re just hurdles on the path to evolving as a photographer. They prompt me to explore new techniques through learning, practice, and continual production, turning obstacles into opportunities on my creative journey.

While I might be the only photographer without a public website, I do maintain a private site to share my photos with invited guests. I also exhibit at various places like the Art League of Hilton Head Island, the Telfair Museums shop, and several national galleries.

The best part about being an artist is the satisfaction of creating something extraordinary. The joy comes from the moment when a piece is finished, capturing a unique vision. Unlike others, I get to immerse myself in beauty constantly, enabling me to share my art with the world. Ultimately, I aim to make a difference by sharing my perspective, sparking change, and offering new ways for people to perceive and feel about a subject. Being an artist isn’t about the camera gear, technical knowledge, or how long one has been shooting. It’s entirely about the mindset during creation and what comes from it. It’s about perceiving the world differently, breaking free from routines, and transcending the usual ‘to-do list’ mentality.

30th Annual Judged Show Call for Entries Deadline Feb. 23

The registration deadline is February 23 with registered art drop-off from 9-11 a.m. March 4th at The SOBA Art School

Lowcountry artists are invited to submit their works of art for The Society of Bluffton Artists’ (SOBA) 30th Annual Judged Show. 

Winners will be awarded first, second and third place cash awards in the following categories: oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography,drawing (includes pastel, pencil, ink), collage and 3-D (includes pottery, wood, stained glass, sculpture).

Murray Sease, who won “Best of Show” for her oil painting “Abandoned,” said the annual Judged Show attracts the best from local artists, making the competition fierce.

“Events like the Judged Show encourage artists to do our best, always learning and hopefully getting more proficient,” Sease said. “It brings new eyes to the gallery and attention to the growing arts community in the area. And, of course, it helps the winners gain new followers and customers!”


The winners of last year’s Judged Show

Registration is required by completing a registration form available at the gallery, located at 6 Church Street in Old Town Bluffton or by registering online at 

The cost to register is $25 for SOBA members and $75 for non SOBA members. The registration deadline is February 23.  The deadline for dropping off your art is from 9-11 a.m. March 4th at The SOBA Art School, 8 Church St., Bluffton, SC. No entries will be accepted after 11 a.m. 

Registration and a full list of rules are available online at

The judge for the event is renowned pastel and oil artist Greg Barnes from Charlotte NC. Barnes is well known for traveling the country participating in fine art festivals and plein art events, as well as teaching workshops. 

The Judged Show exhibit will be on display from March 4-31 at the SOBA gallery. An awards ceremony will take place from 4-6 p.m. March 6. These events are free to attend and open to the public.  Artists can pick up unsold artwork at the end of the show from 9-11 a.m. April 1 at The SOBA Art School.