Friday, May 11, 2007
Garden Club artists bloom at Gleason Library
The current profusion of flowers blooming in town gardens heralds the opening of a two-month show at the Gleason Library. The exhibit features the work of seven artists from the Carlisle Garden Club. Don't expect pictures of mundane flower pots or azalea bushes, however. The artists' choice of subjects, and style are as diverse as their media, which include colorized photographs, monolithic prints, traditional Chinese landscape painting, oil and watercolor painting, a fine-art quilt, and master basket-weaving.
The exhibit runs through July 5. Come meet the artists at a library reception tomorrow, May 12, 2 to 4 p.m.
Taking a realistic view
Photographer Lois d'Annunzio has an eye for news. A Carlisle resident for 26 years on Laurelwood Lane and a Garden Club member for 20, she works as a photojournalist and is on the staff of the Carlisle Mosquito. She has published in Town and Country, National Show Horse Magazine, and many newspapers in the Boston area. Her work has appeared in group shows at the Copley Society of Boston gallery and at Boston City Hall.
"I find my favorite subjects are landscapes, people, and animals," says the photographer. "I like to sign up to take pictures at Great Brook [State Park]. There are a lot of things going on there and you never know what you are going to find."
D'Annunzio began taking photographs as a child but it wasn't until after college graduation that she enrolled in her first photography class. D'Annunzio found herself hooked on black-and-white film, and has honed her trademark style over the years. Recently she began colorizing her early prints which animate her precise and stark images. D'Annunzio also experiments with still-life photography, and is making a reluctant transition to digital photography.
Different paths to printing
Printmakers Lesia Shaw and Lonnie Harvey both work out of the Highland School art studios. While both have established careers in print, they have taken different paths to their art. Shaw grew up in Europe and the U.S., and her travels exposed her to many cultures. After studying engineering at the University of Colorado, Shaw graduated and founded a commercial printing company. Business success enabled her to pursue an interest in art. Her Nikon camera is always handy. A resident of Stoney Gate for the past ten years, she has belonged to the Garden Club just as long. Her own gardens include "Oriental designs" and feature 13 stone lanterns. Her traditional Chinese landscape paintings exemplify this approach.
Shaw first visited China four years ago where a master instructor led her and two other artists to areas rarely visited by outsiders. Shaw scaled mountains and "felt the clouds" below. "You paint without pictures," she said, "you are supposed to experience it — that's what makes it 'traditional.'"
Harvey earned her B.S. in fine arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A professional artist, her resume lists 22 places that have shown her work in the past decade. A Carlisle resident for 13 years, she joined the Garden Club three years ago, not so much to cultivate plants but to learn about those near her Rodgers Road home.
"Many of my images come from my own backyard, from the trees that surround my house, from my walks through the woods," says Harvey. "In my prints, each tree possesses its own personality. They can emerge intertwined in groups or individual 'portraits.'"
Harvey produces monoprints, one-of-a-kind pictures that combine painting and printmaking. The basic technique employs a plexiglass plate as a canvas which the artist paints, using a variety of inks using rollers and brushes. Prints made from the same plate have the same basic outline structure, but the viewer's impression changes dramatically based on the artist's choice of colors.
Painting in oil and in watercolor
The show features two painters: Marie-Louise Petrie and Joan Allen. Petrie paints landscapes using watercolors or oils. Her expansive subjects include open fields and water surfaces. Educated at Amherst College and the Philadelphia College of Art, Petrie believes that color affects mood. Her bright shades reflect the artist's own cheerful and optimistic approach. Although Petrie has an Emerson Umbrella studio in Concord, she prefers to work outdoors locally.
"I just love the area," says Petrie, who has lived in Carlisle since 1989, first on Partridge Lane and then on Baldwin Road. "I even love the swamps, though they breed mosquitoes." A three-year Garden Club member, Petrie prefers wild nature to cultivated plants. She has a lot of flowers in her garden, and focuses there rather than on her organically-maintained, and admittedly "unruly" lawn. Petrie has 15 framed pieces on display. Recognizable landscapes include Greenough Pond, the Cranberry Bog, and Estabrook Woods.
Allen earned a B.A. in art at Framingham State College. She shows her work locally, and received first-place awards from the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society and the Sudbury Art Association. The artist works on commission, and none of the five works in the show are for sale.
Allen, a Pilgrim Path resident and Garden Club member since 1995, uses a variety of paint media but has elected to show only five, large watercolor works. She avoids exact realism in depicting nature, and she cites her gentle painting "River Trail," of bare trees in wetlands, as "romanticized." Allen enjoys working outdoors, as evidenced by her piece "Ferns," which captures Carlisle's bright yellow store in the pitch-black quiet town center at night — a safe haven in the darkness. The artist enjoys painting social situations, many beyond town borders, including a busy restaurant and a city street.
Mastering their craft
Cindy Shore graduated from Goddard College with a degree in photography. Over the years she worked in a variety of jobs, often combining her love for art and gardens. She has worked with quilts for over 25 years. Recently the six-year Nowell Farme Road resident has brought her passion for photography and horticulture to quilting. A two-year Garden Club member, she creates original fine-art quilts based on her photographs of trees and plant materials. Her quilts are machine-pieced.
"I took this photo on a foggy, drizzly, November morning," Shore explains about the quilt image at the show. "The tree was a Honey Locust, which ironically is a huge problem for most gardeners. They are considered 'weed trees' because they reseed so prolifically and grow so fast. I spend hours and hours every year removing Locust seedlings. But this particular tree on this day was beautiful and I couldn't resist."
Judy Blaikie Lane has lived on Bingham Road for about 13 years where she soon joined the Garden Club. She loved a handbag she saw on Cape Cod made in the intricate Nantucket Basket style, but was thrown off by the $700 price tag. She decided to take a class and make one herself. Needless to say, the task surpassed her skill level at the time, but she had discovered a new hobby. She subsequently found a local teacher, and studied the craft for several years.
"Many basketmakers use oak as the wood for their baskets," she says. "I will use oak too, but I prefer cherry because of its beautiful color." For basket latches, the artist uses rare materials such as ivory purchased from supply stores that recycle material from old piano keys.
The eight items at the show include an open basket, a covered icebox, and even a handbag. All are functional pieces, and suited for everyday life in Carlisle — even to hold flowers — although Lane cautions lining a precious basket with plastic first!
The artists from the Carlisle Garden Club have come together at the Gleason. They are similar in that they are joiners — many are also members of the same local art associations and museum schools — and most take courses and workshops whenever possible. The Garden Club may bring them together as a group, but being in Carlisle itself inspires them as individual artists in very different directions.
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito