Explosive color is on display at Gleason Library

by Karina Coombs

Work by glass artist Jenn Goodale. (Photo by Karina Coombs)

Gleason Library’s newest art show opened January 10 and features four local artists working in four different mediums: oil painting, acrylic, watercolor and mixed media with an emphasis on sculpted glass. While each artist brings a unique vision to her work, the collective result is three floors of gallery space featuring vibrant color, texture and imagery. An artists’ reception will take place on February 13. The show runs until February 28.

Jenn Goodale, glass sculptor

Jenn Goodale has been working as a full-time glass sculptor since 2003 when she began an apprenticeship with renowned glass blower, Simon Pearce. “[Pearce] took me under his wing,” she says. Apprenticing with Pearce Glass Company for several years, Goodale learned to make various types of home décor glass pieces and would go on to study glass flameworking, working as a glassblowing and flameworking instructor before ultimately starting her own flamework glass business.

Located in the Bradford Mill’s ArtScape gallery space in West Concord, Goodale’s JG Glass Productions creates a variety of glass items from home décor to miniatures, jewelry and ornaments. She also offers individual and small-group private lessons in the art of flameworking—teaching students to use a torch to melt glass rods before shaping the glass with blowing and tools. 

For the Gleason show, Goodale presents five mixed media pieces, incorporating various materials with glass sculpture. “Mixed media turns my brain on and makes me think,” she says. “It’s a play on life and experiences… mixed with a little humor.” One of these pieces is called Living Together, featuring two “bricks” made of wood and encased in encaustic wax along with a glass flower and wire in the shape of a fire escape. “[The] bricks bound together represent mankind and Mother Nature having to coincide with each other in a crowded environment,” explains Goodale. 


Those interested in learning more about flameworking will want to see her display at the top of the stairs on the second floor, which outlines the process and tools used to create this beautiful glass. To see more work from Goodale, visit her website: or the JG Glass Productions Etsy store:


Denise Kracz, oil on canvas



Painting by artist Denise Kracz. (Photo by Karina Coombs)


After working as a Registered Nurse for a number of years, Carlisle’s Denise Kracz changed her career path and became a graphic designer. With an interest in color, texture and graphics, she then turned her attention to oil painting, beginning with a class offered by the Carlisle Recreation Department and taught by former resident, Phyllis Hughes. (See, “A Carlisle icon says goodbye to the town she has served for many years,” September 11, 2010.) 


Kracz also took painting classes at the DeCordova Museum, spending almost four years in Lincoln. She now shares a studio space at Concord’s ArtScape where she is part of the art community within the Bradford Mill. This past summer, Kracz had paintings hanging at Reasons to Be Cheerful in West Concord. She is also a member of the Concord Art Association.


With a background in biology, it should come as no surprise that Kracz’s attention is drawn to the natural world: animals, flowers and landscapes, and her collection at Gleason highlights this. Most unique is her use of bold color and texture, which bring her subjects to life, built up with layer upon layer of paint. “[It’s] the way my work went,” says Kracz of her style, explaining she begins with a black background before adding the layers, thereby creating the vivid texture found on some pieces. 


One of these pieces is Kracz’s black labrador, Sawyer, on display on the first floor with his soulful eyes looking out from layers of black, blue and green oil. A pensive looking yellow lab is nearby, also incorporating Kracz’s textural approach of bold and colorful strokes. Kracz’s other works within Gleason also highlight her interest in graphics, with each containing the bold and bright colors and textures she enjoys.


Kracz currently has an accepted piece at the Concord Art Association for a juried show. To see more of her work visit her website:!denise/ckra.


Sara Cassidy Smith, acrylics

Familiar scenes from Carlisle by artist Sara Cassidy Smith.
(Photo by Karina Coombs)

As a Studio Art and Classical Studies major at college, Carlisle’s Sara Cassidy Smith did a lot of drawing. But a college painting class was not as successful as she would have hoped. “It was horrible,” says Smith, who would go on to earn a graduate degree in Architecture. While she always knew she would try painting again, Smith thought it would happen later in life. “When I’m 65 or retired, [I thought] I’m going to figure this out.” 


But when the recession hit and she was laid off from her job, Smith’s husband sped up the process, giving her an easel for Christmas. As an architect, Smith was already skilled at making things look realistic and instead wanted to learn about impressionism and color. Painting classes at the DeCordova Museum would soon follow where 20 years after college Smith found an instructor she connected with. Joined by Kracz they would stay for two years until both artists decided to “find their own voice,” sharing the ArtScape studio.


Not particularly interested in landscapes as her focus, Smith turned to what she was interested in: buildings, signage and other architectural pieces in the area. “I like the idea of painting the world that I live in and how I see it,” she says, explaining that she loves the graphic nature of things like street signs and parking meters. Reflection also plays a large part in her work and adds another level of detail. “I’m always looking for interesting reflections. [There’s] not a lot of blank or empty space [in my work],” she explains. “It makes it more interesting to me.”


Smith’s collection at Gleason showcases exactly what she had hoped to accomplish starting out: impressionistic views of architecture and every day life with lots of color. Many of the paintings feature familiar streets and buildings and are rich with detail. In particular, her painting of Kimball Farm at dusk (located behind the circulation desk) took six months of work, just to get the light and shadows where she wanted them. Smith also brought her eye for color, realism and symmetry to the natural world, and includes a number of striking animal portraits in the show.


In addition to the show at Gleason, Smith currently has an accepted piece in a juried art show at the Concord Art Association. To see more of her work visit her website:!sara/c1han. Both Kracz and Smith accept commissions for pet portraits:!animal-portraits/ckfu.


Nancy Stadtlander, watercolors

Painting by artist Nancy Stadtlander. (Photo by Karina Coombs)


Nancy Stadtlander has been painting for 16 years, taking up the practice upon her retirement and beginning with a Carlisle Recreation Department watercolor class. As a student and instructor of Japanese flower arrangements, or Ikebana, Stadtlander was already disciplined in showcasing many of the elements that can be found in her work even before she picked up a paintbrush: nature, form and color, but above all, minimalism. 


Since that first art class, Stadtlander has wasted no time in learning more. She has studied with many painters, both locally as well as in Maine, and has taken classes at the DeCordova Museum. For the past 14 years, Stadtlander has been a member of two Maine plein air painting groups, meeting twice a week to paint in the open air of the Damariscotta region. She has also had her pieces shown in a number of galleries, including a juried show at the Concord Art Association.

“Growing up in North Dakota I really appreciate the New England landscape,” says Nancy Stadtlander of her delicate and serene watercolors, located on and just below the third floor stairwell. Stadtlander’s pieces show a range of color, from subtle shades of sunsets, coastal landscapes, and a solitary figure in a snowy wood to bold bursts, the latter most evident in her black crow image located across from the third floor staircase. “I love color,” she explains. “I’ve only been doing this for 16 years and am still finding the style I like.” 

Gleason Library will hold an artists’ reception on Friday, February 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. featuring music from Chuck Clough and David G. Moore from The Butler Frogs: Wine and dessert will also be available. The event is $10 per person, payable at the door. To reserve your spot, please visit the Gleason Library website:    ∆