Art at the Gleason:

Visions of spring grace the Gleason Library

09aCS WillardLighthouse 09bCS RoddayGyeser
Photograph of
Hecata Head Lighthouse—Oregon by Bert Willard.
(Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

“Eternity’s Timepiece,” painting by Cynthia Rodday.
(Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Longing for warmth? Impatient to start your garden at home or at Foss Farm? Take heart: the chilly air is starting to lose its grip and snowdrops are popping. To help ease into spring, head over to the Gleason Library for “From Table to Tableau: Landscapes and Floral Art,” a lovely new art exhibit. It’s a wonderful juxtaposition of Bert Willard’s majestic, mountainous photos, Cynthia L. Rodday’s delicate pastel nature paintings and lively and informative displays by the Carlisle Garden Club. Intermingled are library books on annuals, perennials, vegetable gardens, composting, seed starting, and gardening books for children, including “The Vegetables We Eat” by Gail Gibbons and “Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots” by Sharon Lovejoy. 

The show opened on March 23 and will run through June 1. There is a reception on Friday, April 5, 7-9 p.m., including refreshments, which will be a wonderful time to see the displays, celebrate spring, and meet the artists. It’s a $10 admission and an RSVP would be appreciated: 1-978-369-4898 or

About the artists

Willard, a Carlisle resident since 1977, prints his own photos and explains in his biography that his photographic focus is on travel, nature and landscapes. His interest in photography, astronomy and telescope making led him to a career in optical systems design at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. 

Rodday uses pastels to capture national parks, gardens and wildlife refuges. She received her BA from Wheaton College in Studio Art, and focused on charcoals. Her MFA is from George Southern University and while there she developed her mixed media techniques using digital images, watercolors, pastels and pencil. Post-graduate work since 2015 has focused on drawing, charcoals and pastel painting. She has had exhibits in Massachusetts, Georgia and Australia. She currently works at Albright Art Supply and Gifts in Concord. 

Pairings of photo, paintings 

Scattered on the walls throughout the first and second floor are Willard’s photos and Rodday’s paintings, each seeming to play on the other’s image. For example, Willard’s photo, “Monument Valley, Arizona” is hung near Rodday’s “Colorful Grandeur,” both illustrating dry desert mountains. Willard’s photo of the Matterhorn is next to Rodday’s “Patriot Glade,” a painting of vertical and angular trees which give the impression of soaring alps. Look for Rodday’s beautiful and watery “Harmony Along the River’s Edge,” and “Shimmering Louise.” 

Upstairs you will find Willard’s Peyto Lake Icefields Parkway” and Rodday’s “Solitude on the Lake.” And if you stand back, you aren’t sure if Rodday’s geyser, “Eternity’s Timepiece,” isn’t really a photo; it is that striking.

A-plus exhibit: Carlisle Garden Club

10aCS GardenClub
Spring is the theme of the Carlisle Garden Club’s display. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

The various exhibits by the Carlisle Garden Club are top-notch, especially the “60 Years of the Carlisle Garden Club” on the second floor. The large display box holds numerous photos, informative signs, a garden gnome (see if the kids can find it), and are connected with a pebble ‘stream.’ On the first floor is a poster of the club’s calendar of events and right near it is a charming “still life” of flowers, potting soil, seeds, gardening gloves and pinecones. A delicious exhibit shows canned items made from club members’ gardens, including apple sauce, strawberry-rhubarb jam, and grape vinegar. Also shown are resource books, including “Foods that Harm; Foods that Heal” from the editors of Reader’s Digest. At the library checkout counter is a terrarium with ferns (they are challenging to grow from spores), and a lovely scented hyacinth. Look for the air plant display and the carnivorous pitcher plants. There is so much to see, and one feels closer to the warmth of spring afterward.    ∆