The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 21, 2003


Highland Studio Artists liven up the community

Visual artistic expression takes many forms, but it's unusual to see so many points of view in one place. If you have a half-hour free, take the time to visit the exhibit at the Gleason Library entitled "Paintings, Prints and Photographs by Carlisle's Highland Studio Artists." You may be surprised at how someone else sees the same landmarks around town.

"We all work at the Highland School," says Phyllis Hughes, one of the drivers behind the exhibition. "We're part of the community, and we're interested in the community."

Under a unique arrangement reached in 1996, the Town of Carlisle leases the Highland School building, erected in 1908, to the Emerson Umbrella, which then rents the studio spaces to the artists. Five of the twelve artists taking residence at the site presently live in Carlisle and a couple of others have links to the town. The studio opens its doors once in the spring, but this marks the first time these artists have jointly shown their work at a public town location. The exhibit will run through January 3, 2004.

Artists find their home town inspiring

The Highland building has the high ceilings and large windows typical of turn-of-the-century American schools. Today, this structure suits the lighting and space requirements of the twelve artists that work there. The two-floor building has a usable basement, and there are seven spacious studios, which most artists share to save on rent. (From the photo file of Midge Eliassen)

The five Highland artists currently living in Carlisle include D'Anne Bodman, Francoise Bourdon, Lonnie Harvey, Hughes, and Marie-Louise "Weezie" Bodman Petrie.

Bodman, a writer, lives in a renovated antique house in Carlisle. She has collaborated with two photographers on books, including The Bending Moment with Nancy Roberts and Chasing the Light with Barbara Bosworth. The pages of the books reflect her keen interest in history and place. Both books are on display at the library.

Bourdon, who collects and uses textiles in art-to-wear garments, has recently turned to exploring watercolors. She has two pictures at the show, one of peppers and the other of winter light. She finds that painting in watercolor has enabled her to newly discover and connect with the environment.

Harvey, with first and third graders at the Carlisle Public School, still makes time to work on her art. She chooses scenes from nature, and says, "Many of my images come from my own back yard, from the trees that surround my house, from my walks through the woods." Harvey's work combines painting and printmaking processes, and she has five oil monoprints and five oil monotypes on display. In addition to her yard, the sites include Great Brook Farm and the Estabrook land.

Hughes selected four pictures she has painted in Carlisle for the exhibit. They include the sheep-shorn Towle Field and a shed on School Street. The artist says, "There is much to paint here in Carlisle in all seasons. Though spring and fall are the most colorful, the winds and mists of summer and the sunlight playing in the winter snows are subtle and intriguing."

One of the works of art at "Carlisle Scenes and Other Themes" at Gleason Library, November 11 to January 3.

Petrie, who collaborated with Hughes to secure the artists' use of the Highland building, has four oil paintings and one watercolor in the show. She says, "My paintings on exhibit here at the Gleason are all of local Carlisle scenes. Definitely the scenery was one of the major reasons Carlisle attracted me to move here."

Carlisle connection proves strong

Two of the artists at the Highland formerly lived in Carlisle. They include Imadiel Ariel, now in Wellesley, and Katherine Bell of Groton. Ariel enjoys working with fibers. She has six transparent watercolors on display, two works which combine fiber-reactive dyes and fabric, and a collection of silk scarves. Bell, a painter, has one oil work on paper and three on wood.

The five other artists working at the Highland have found their studio setting in Carlisle inspiring. They include Helen Citron Boodman from Lexington, Terry Durell Colosi from Groton, Wayne Geehan from Acton, Sally Hall from Stow, and Nina Nickles from Arlington.

Boodman says that the location of her studio in beautiful Carlisle "has sharpened my observation of the myriad seasonal changes." She has 13 watercolors on display, several of which also explore other media. Colosi has four paintings inspired by flowers and leaves. Geehen, a children's book illustrator and easel painter, has four oil paintings on display (two of Carlisle scenes) and four illustrations. Hall has three paintings on display, all of Carlisle, including a barn from the center of town, and the farms at Great Brook and the Clark property. Photographer Nickles has six silver gelatin prints and four chromogenic prints in the show.

The impressive backgrounds and resumes of the artists are available at the main desk of the Gleason Library. You can also obtain pricing information on available items, and how to contact the artist should you wish to purchase an item on display. Twenty percent of the proceeds benefit the library.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito