Faded family photos inspire artist COUNTYWIDE

November 02, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

The blacks and whites of old family photographs have become the grays, creams, and muted shades of burgundy and olive in Singy Tevis' oil paintings.

Ms. Tevis, born Charlotte Anne but nicknamed Singy before she was old enough to know why, collects her own family photos and those of strangers. She picks up black-and-white photos at flea markets and auctions for inspiration.

"I like the black and white photographs," she said. "It gives me a lot of leeway in terms of color. It's easier to see more clearly with black and white."

An exhibit of Ms. Tevis' paintings opened yesterday at the Carroll County Arts Council gallery in the Westminster Exchange on East Main Street and will be on display all month.

The paintings include many beach and picnic scenes from the turn of the century through the 1940s. "Our Gang #1" and "Our Gang #2" show her mother, Dorothy Tevis, an aunt and their girlfriends hanging out at the beach and in the woods. In their cardigans and skirts, they look like an image from an Andy Hardy movie, except for the metal flask one of them is holding.

If Ms. Tevis painted from color photos, "I would be more influenced with what's already there," she said yesterday at a reception in celebration of the show's opening.

Ms. Tevis, whose family founded and still operates Tevis Oil Co. in Westminster, still lives in her hometown and maintains a studio on Guilford Avenue in Baltimore.

She has shown work before in regional shows, including Artscape '90 in Baltimore.

Although she received a bachelor of arts degree in 1967 from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, she didn't begin painting full time until 1987 when her daughter started school.

The opening yesterday drew Ms. Tevis' family and friends, along with area amateur and professional artists, some of whom admired her technique. Visitors ranged from young men with their long hair neatly pulled back into ponytails, to middle-aged couples in gray suits and coats.

Cousin Wesley Schmidt, who is related to Dorothy Tevis, and his wife came from Alexandria, Va., for the opening. They took a photograph for their own family album of Ms. Tevis in front of one of her paintings of her daughter.

"We recognize some of the people in the paintings," he said.

"I probably have some of you," Ms. Tevis told him.

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