Chance to exhibit works uplifts Manchester artist CARROLL COUNTY DIVERSIONS

February 05, 1993|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Contributing Writer

Mario Berardelli's spirit soars when he enters the room, settles into a chair and begins talking animatedly about his latest project.

The object of his enthusiasm is this weekend's Local Artists' Exhibit '93, which opens tonight in the Manchester Municipal Building.

Under the direction of Mr. Berardelli, the show will feature the works of numerous Carroll County artists in various media, such as ceramic, wood and paint.

"Each artist will bring four or five pieces of his work," the Manchester resident said the other day, while taking a break from laying out the Town Council meeting room for the free show.

Participating artists include Bruce Lippy, Carl Leese, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gettier, Kretchen Zamacki, Ruth Buckingham, Joan Lawson, Kay Therit and Velma Feeser.

Not only is he busy with last-minute details, Mr. Berardelli also is preparing to show several pieces of his work at the exhibition.

He was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1958 and grew up a few blocks from the home of Christopher Columbus. He began art studies at age 6, when his father wanted to keep him busy and "out of trouble."

"An architect and painter, both brothers, lived next door," he recalled. "And to them I was consigned to study. The first thing they made me sketch was the 2,000-year-old St. Mary of the Castle Church. I was all of 6 and, believe me, it was a challenge. They hovered constantly over my shoulder observing my work and seeing if I had any talent."

The family moved to the United States in 1970, first settling in Baltimore's Little Italy on Fawn Street and then moving to the Loch Raven area of Baltimore County.

"When we moved to this country, I had to suspend my art studies while I tried to learn English and how to be an American," he said.

He graduated from Loch Raven Senior High School, where his artwork first appeared in the school's calendar. He went on to study at Essex Community College before taking a job with the Baltimore County Police Department as a clerk.

He continued to paint in his spare time and by his own admission is basically self-taught.

"I paint from sketches, which is the traditional way," he said. "I'm a traditional painter who works in realism."

He makes painstakingly detailed sketches before he puts brush to canvas. That way, he said, he minimizes mistakes.

"Oils are a little more forgiving than watercolors," he said with a laugh. "If you make a mistake you can fix it. With watercolors, once you make a stroke, that's it."

He mixes his own pigments with egg yolks and other primers to hTC obtain the colors he requires for his work. He even sizes his canvases, preferring that to buying them pre-sized.

"Our Madonna of the Grotto," his 24-by-36-inch oil of Our Lady's Grotto, a favorite place of reflection for Mr. Berardelli, is now in the archives of Mount Saint Mary's Church in Emmitsburg. Many of his paintings reflect his deep interest in religious themes, but he also enjoys doing portraits and landscapes.

He has been invited to paint frescoes above the altar of St. Joseph Church, in Naples, Italy, where he and his wife, Lina, were married. He also has been asked to do some work for St. Francis of Paola, a 13th century monastery in southern Italy. But for the moment these projects are on hold.

Mr. Berardelli, who was laid off from his job as a banker, volunteers teaching painting to children and senior citizens and donates three days a week to the Westminster branch of the Carroll County Library while looking for work.

He is a dynamo with deep-brown eyes, dark hair turning slightly gray, and a voice that still has traces of his beloved Italy. The Berardellis have two sons: Tasqualino, 4, and Guglielmo, 3.

He hopes to have another art show organized in time for Manchester's annual town fair, held the first weekend in June.

"I hope to have the show in an enclosed area with the proceeds going to the town," he said.

The hours for the exhibit in the Manchester Municipal Building, 3208 York St., are 7 to 9 tonight; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow; and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The building is handicapped accessible and the show is free. Information: 239-3200.

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