The Nature of Things



Those heading to this year’s Bluffton Village Festival — also known as MayFest — might notice something a little familiar about the painting on this year’s poster.

It could be the subject of the painting: a beautiful Bluffton home of white siding and lush gardens down by Heyward House, across the “other” four-way stop from the old post office.

Or maybe they’ll recognize something in the way the acrylics coax a rainbow of colors out of the house’s garden, or the way subtle watercolors lend an inviting layer of light to the garden.

That’s the inimitable style of Lynda Potter, one of Bluffton’s most celebrated artists and one who has played a vital role in building the town’s legendary art scene.

Potter realized at the young age of 7 that her dream was to be an artist. Her formal training started at age 12 with teacher Carlo Nisita.

“I never really wanted to do anything else,” Potter said.

She started her art career a little over 30 years ago, working primarily in watercolors and painting on commission in her native Pennsylvania. While she enjoyed the work, she found greater pleasure in teaching.

“Teaching is such a joy,” she said. “I love seeing people pick it up.”

Just a few years later, she found herself in Bluffton, where a quirky art town was finally getting enough recognition that it was almost time to get organized. Potter was one of four founders of the Society of Bluffton Artists. She eventually became one of the founders of A Guild of Bluffton Artists (aka Pluff Mudd Art), which will celebrate 15 years this month.

“There’s a little more freedom in Bluffton,” she said. “Plus, it’s just a pleasure to paint all the places here.”

The Alljoy resident finds plenty of inspiration just outside her door.

“I’ve done a lot of cottages down by the beach,” she said. “Just walking around, you’ll find all these dirt roads where you’ll come across the back of a house with a boat and who knows what else. That’s what I enjoy discovering.”

While it’s not on a dirt road, it was a similar ramble that took Potter to the home featured on the Mayfest poster. “I think a lot of people have remarked on that house. It’s one of the really solid, put-together houses. It’s a huge old building, and Bluffton doesn’t have that many.”

You can find Potter’s work at Signature Gallery in Savannah’s City Market and Pluff Mudd Art.


What: Bluffton Village Festival, also known as MayFest
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 13
Where: Old Town Bluffton
Cost: Admission is free; there will be more than 200 vendors selling arts, crafts and food